Sunday, May 17, 2015

No, I ain't dead yet.


I don't even want to think how long it's been since I wrote something here.  Obviously this retirement stuff sapped most of the forward motion and organization out of me to the point where I cannot get my brain organized enough to even write anymore.

Hopefully though I will be doing something soon that might put some structure back into my life.  I'm at the verge of finally getting my own radio show, which would be on Fairfax County's public access station. If it happens that would be a one hour, weekly timeslot where I would be playing any music any I wanted, which means jazz in all those weird little niches and tangents I love so much, stuff like Carla Bley and all the British players and oddball vocalists I love which even the more progressive radio outlets around here don't touch.

If that happens (and I should be getting a final yea or nay in the next week or so) I may start using this blog as an adjunct to the show, doing posts on certain artists I'll be playing, something I was doing haphazardly in this latest spurt of posting. Lord knows if I'll get myself together enough to write anything else, but we'll see. After all my stop and start actions here, I don't want to make any more promises.

Since I am here now though, here is a small tribute to a great bluesman who just left us. Rest in peace, B. (When I went to YouTube to get this video, the recent comments underneath were mostly in foreign languages like French, Russian, German, Spanish and Italian. That says everything about how universally loved he was.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rigmor Gustafsson - "Calling You"

I said I was no longer going to post video or audio clips without any sort of context but now I need to make an exception because I know almost nothing about this artist. I was just looking up things on YouTube when I ran across a Swedish jazz singer named Rigmor Gustafsson who seems to be very acclaimed in her home country.  I watched clips of her performing "The Girl From Ipanema" and "The Windmills Of Your Mind" and was impressed by the natural soulfulness of her voice. Then I clicked on a live performance of her doing the song "Calling You" from the movie Bagdad Café with a string quartet.

Oh. My. God.

I've always liked this song but listening to her voice purr against those slow strings almost brought me to tears. I literally cannot listen to anything else right now.



Needless to say I just ordered the CD.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Top Films of 2014

So here it is 2015 and I'm finally getting around to posting a "Best Of" list for 2014.   I'm not doing one for CDs because I don't feel like I heard enough new music in the past year to do a list in that field, even though I did an all-jazz one for Cadence. (Jason Roebke's Red/High/Center was my Number One.)  Since I was watching my funds due to retiring, I didn't buy as muich music as I might normally have done.

Movies are another matter.  I've noticed more people doing the "New To Me" angle when compiling their Best Films list this year and that's what I'm doing again.  Thanks to all the various ways to watch movies out there, I've seen over 300 films this calendar year, some new, some old classics I've finally caught up with and a couple way from way out in left field. Since I waited until the bitter end, I'm able to consider every film I saw in the calendar year 2014.  This is a list of my 20 favorites. I'm not going to write in depth on all of them, especially the actual 2014 releases that have gotten a lot of attention everywhere else.

1.  Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)

This one lived up to every bit of its lofty reputation.  Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi play an elderly couple forced to live with grown children who don't want them around.  Directed by Leo McCarey, best known at the time for doing Laurel and Hardy and Marx Brothers movies, this is a heartbreaking, poetic film,  about the tragedy of growing old and at the mercy of a family that no longer wants you around.


2.  Frances Ha (2012)

This surprised me.  Modern comedies about quirky, young single women usually drive me up the wall (See In A World...) but I really liked this one. Greta Gerwig made a really cool, intelligent and likable protagonist and you could see her maturing as the film went along.

3.  Stories We Tell (2012)

Sarah Polley has made several intriguing films about families but this one was a documentary investigation into her own family, examining the lives of her parents and finding out some things she never suspected. It's a moving story and one that makes you think about how tangled family histories can be.

4.  The Big Combo (1955)

A lean and sharp film noir that pit hard-nosed cop Cornel Wlide against slick gangster Richard Conte. It was filled with familiar tough-guy actors like Earl Holliman, Lee Van Cleef, and Brian Donlevy and was a master class in how to create atmosphere with light and shadow on a low budget.


Timothy Spall as J.M.W. Turner
5.   Mr. Turner (2014)

This is a recent film that is liable to get lost in the end-of-year "prestige picture" shuffle but shouldn't.  British director Mike Leigh constructed a gorgeous biography of 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner played by Timothy Spall as a prickly, jovial rascal out of a Dickens novel. It shows a lot of respect for the artistic process and the colorful, contrary personalities of Turner's day.

6.  I Want To Go Home (1989)

I've gained a lot of respect for the work of Alain Resnais in the last few years and this film which starred Adolph Green as a sourpuss comic strip artist being feted in France was enormous fun. It celebrated comic culture with a far lighter touch than the grim flood of superhero movies we put up with these days.


7.   Birdman (2014)

8.   Foxcatcher (2014)

9.   Under The Skin  (2014)

10.  Scarlet Street (1945) 

Another old one I finally caught up with, a story of a meek little man's decline and fall told eloquently by the great Fritz Lang with Joan Bennett at her sexiest. Dan Duryea at his slimiest and Edward G. Robinson making a memorable tragic hero.

11.  The Babadook (2014)

Wesley Morris and Glenn Kenny, two of the few movie critics I read regularly these days, both loved this horror film and they had a point. It's an Australian film about a mother and son terrorized by an evil spirit out of  a children's book.  It relied far more on mood than explicit violence and was a far cut above the current crop of horror movies.


#12
 12.  The Whisperers (1967)

I remember hearing about this film when I was a kid. It starred Dame Edith Evans as an old woman who lives alone with "voices" her only company and is preyed on by her son and con artists before being delivered into the custody of an estranged husband who is not too happy to be reunited with her. Evans' dotty but deep performance and the twisting plot are completely engrossing.

13. A Most Wanted Man (2014)

One of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last movies where he plays a German spy chief involved in a John Le Carre intrigue concerning a mysterious suspected terrorist. It's a beautifully complex story and Hoffman's rumpled, shrewd presence dominates.

14.  Out Of Sight (1998)

This is another long-overdue catch-up,  Steven Soderbergh's Elmore Leonard adaptation about a sexy U.S. marshal who gets involved with a bank robber. It's one of the movies that made George Clooney's career and it showed classy possibilities for Jennifer Lopez's career that she has yet to follow up.

15.  Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)

I'm a big fan of Jack Webb's 50's Dragnet and this crime film where he starred as a 20's jazz trumpeter has the same, tight punchy rhythm but enhanced with imaginative camera shots, acting support from the likes of Edmond O'Brien, Janet Leigh and Lee Marvin and singing by Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald.


#16
16. Sexual Chronicles Of A French Family (2012)

This takes a little explanation. It's essentially a French softcore sex film that I caught on Netflix.  It starts with a teenage boy who is caught masturbating in school and it expands to explore the sexual desires of his entire family, his parents, sister, older brother, and grandfather. It does so in a natural, open-minded way completely different from the snickering embarrassment you'd probably see in an American treatment of this theme. There are a lot of near-hardcore sex scenes and by the end almost everyone is happily paired off with someone, including the older brother with his boyfriend. The grandfather has passed on but a young prostitute he built a relationship with gets accepted into the family.

17.  The Boss (1956)

This was an odd but interesting combination of plots. It starred John Payne as a World War I veteran who rises through the ranks of his hometown's political machine to become a statewide power broker who isn't above a shady deal or two. The odd part is that it switches emphasis in the second half from dirty dealings to the boss' crumbling relationship with his wife and feels more like a soap opera by the end. Nevertheless, Payne makes an excellent tough guy.

18.  Compulsion (2013)
A very strange black comedy that stars Heather Graham as a woman obsessed with getting her own TV cooking show who develops a creepy fixation on a despondent former child actress who lives across the hall played by Carrie-Anne Moss. I've always thought Graham was underrated and her combination of manic cheerfulness and derangement here is really impressive.

19.  Wish Me Away (2011)

A lovely documentary on country music star Chelly Wright and her decision to come out as a lesbian.

20.  Ernest And Celestine (2014)

The one animated feature I managed to see was this French film about the friendship that forms between a mouse and a bear in a world where the two species regard each other as monsters. It was funny and beautifully drawn.  I know there's a dubbed version around with American voice actors but I saw the original French version and the voice work was delightful.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pentangle

Left to Right: Jansch, Thompson, McShee, Cox, Renbourn

In the late 1960s' there were a number of British folk musicians with wandering ears who began to incorporate other musical styles into their versions of traditional tunes.  Most, like the people who came to make up the bands Fairport Convention and Steeleeye Span,  brought in the electric thump of rock and roll.  One group, however, opted for the fluidity of jazz, Pentangle.

Pentangle formed around 1966 or 1967 with five members who came together from different directions. Bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox were part of the British blues-jazz scene, guitarists John Renbourn and Bert Jansch were acclaimed folk players, Renbourn more traditionally oriented and Jansch leaning more towards the blues, and vocalist Jacqui McShee sang in folk clubs. Together they had a uniquely supple sound with Thompson and Cox providing a frisky bottom, Jansch's and Renbourn's guitars bobbing and weaving in the middle and McShee's angelically high voice, with its occasional blue inflections, soaring above all.

The group's repertoire included traditional folk songs, American blues, original numbers and even, on their album Sweet Child, a couple of Charles Mingus jazz compositions that gave Danny Thompson the chance to show his stuff.  This is another of their jazzier tunes, "I Got A Feeling".  As Jansch hints, the tune is swiped from one of the best, Miles Davis' "All Blues".




Pentangle had a good run as a popular group in England, even scoring a hit single in 1969, "Light Flight".  They broke up more or less amicably in 1973, with everyone going off to solo careers.  They reformed a few times since then in various formations with other musicians.  In 1995 McShee actually had a band that went out as Jacqui McShee's Pentangle but from what I've heard of them, they had a bland New Age-y sound with none of the snap or fun of the original.

The original five did get together again in 2008 to play live and record again and they sounded just fine.  They continued on intermittently until Bert Jansch died of cancer in October 2011, and as far as I can tell, that brought a permanent end to Pentangle.  The music is still around though in the form a number of releases of live and broadcast recordings as well as their original records.  They had a fleet, relaxed groove unique even within the experimental crucible of the 60's British folk movement with a blending of voice, guitar and rhythm nobody else matched.

Here are more samples of their work. First, a TV performance of "Travelling Song" and "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" from 1968 that highlights McShee's and Jansch's vocal blend and also shows how much Thompson and Cox brought to the band.



This version of the traditional "House Carpenter", featuring Renbourn on sitar and Jansch on banjo, shows the Indian influence that also crept into their music.



The only thing I can say about this is that it's bloody amazing.



Finally, two versions of their hit "Night Flight", the first from a 1970 BBC appearance and the second from 2008 after their reformation.  38 years dimmed very little of their talent.



Monday, November 3, 2014

Return To Saturn

Mr. Ra

In the realm of jazz, there has never been anyone else quite like Sun Ra.  He was born Herman Blount in 1917 and his first substantial musical gig was working as an arranger and pianist for the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in the late 40s.  Somewhere in his early life Blount began to draw ideas together from science fiction, history, archeology, philosophy and other disciplines, and combining that with advanced musical concepts he worked on, he emerged as Sun Ra, visitor from the planet Saturn and leader of a big band he called the Arkestra whose music was a dazzling collage of Harlem nightclub swing, show tunes, blues, free jazz screaming and avant-garde concepts, including one of the first uses of synthesizers and electronic keyboards..  The band dressed in homemade costumes with capes and headdresses, danced on stage and played hair-raising, energy-filled music that sounded as futuristic as a spaceship soaring among the planets. His song titles alone sounded they had come from old science fiction pulp magazine: "The Satellites Are Spinning", "The Second Stop Is Jupiter", "We Travel The Spaceways", "Where Is Tomorrow?" "Strange Celestial Road", and "Angels And Demons At Play" being some of the more colorful ones.  Ra left this world in 1993 but the Arkestra has carried on without him. At first it was led by the group's legendary tenor player, John Gilmore, but when he passed, the reigns were handed to alto player Marshall Allen who still leads the band to this day.

This year marks Ra's centennial and for the occasion, a group of DC jazz promoters and enthusiasts got together and turned Halloween weekend into a Sun Ra festival with concerts and lectures by various folks keynoted by the Arkestra itself performing at the Lincoln Theater on Halloween night. This was not your average concert. I came out of the subway across the street from the theater an hour before things started and was lucky enough to catch the Arkestra parading down the street to the Lincoln chanting and playing and giving the usual U Street partygoers something different from the usual Halloween revels.

Inside the auditorium, on the movie screen in back of the stage (The Lincoln was once a movie theatre.) Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, a 1980 documentary on Ra, was playing as the audience filed in.  The show itself began with a large group of black women in colorful Afro-futurist regalia slowly marching down the theater aisles holding up a big picture of the great man while one of them slowly intoned "Raaaa!".  The music started with an improvised duet by local saxophonist Brian Settles and drummer Jeremy Carlstedt. Then Dr. Tom Porter read Amiri Baraka's introduction to a book of Ra's poetry accompanied by keyboard legend Bernie Worrell on synthesizer.  Then, since it was Halloween and a number of folks dressed for the occasion, a brief costume contest was held.

Finally the Arkestra came out resplendent in their usual brightly colored garb and tore into a fiery set of romping big band music full of the dancing fire that had always sparked the band's most thrilling moments.  They were enhanced by the presence of three female dancers who came out occasionally, shimmying, shuffling, break dancing, and gliding to the ferocious grooves. The dancers, like everyone else on stage, were dressed in spectacular party gear with veils and capes but there was one curvy lady with gold-braided hair and a gold top and pants whose moves seemed to defy both the laws of gravity and the human anatomy.

This version of the Arkestra is a combination of older and younger faces but it is no mere ghost band.  They still play this music, including some of Ra's most familiar tunes, like "Rocket Number Nine", "Saturn" and "Space Is The Place" with amazing energy and heat.  I don't know the names of most of the current members but as always, there is Marshall Allen.  Allen joined Ra back in 1957 and is now 90 years old. It would be a gross understatement to say he plays well for a man his age. He is playing extraordinarily for a man half his age, bellowing cascades of freakish notes out of his horn like fireworks.  His solo on "Cocktails For Two", alternating the screaming with smooth, old-school melody, was amazing.  He also played an EWI wind synthesizer, an electronic instrument that can sound horribly cheesy but which Marshall turned into a portable theremin,  using it to create booming and swooping effects which fit right into the band's cosmic cacophony.

Bernie Worrell added his funkified keyboard squelching to a couple of numbers and "Space Is The Place" served as the backdrop for a fashion show displaying the works of a local clothing designer who had actually made capes for Ra in the past.  The show ended with the band playing the grand, swooping waltz, "Love In Outer Space" as they left the stage and marched through the aisles before going backstage.

Sun Ra's universe is a bit eccentric for some tastes but he has come to be generally recognized now as a visionary musician and philosopher who created a towering body of work that merged the past and future of jazz.  His influence has been passed down to many and the musicians who are currently in the Arkestra carry on his cosmic message impressively.

For those of you not familiar with any of this music, here are some video samples:

First, part of an interview with Ra that shows bits of his philosophy. This was done in Helsinki, Finland in 1971 and is interspersed with clips of the band in performance:



Then the Arkestra makes a very rare appearance on American television in 1989 on the show "Night Music".  Marshall Allen takes the first sax solo and the second is by John Gilmore, an influence on John Coltrane:



Finally a bit of the current-day Arkestra led by Allen.  They are doing "Angels At Demons At Play" at a 2012 festival in Poschiavo, Switzerland.










Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce (1943 - 2014)



When I woke up this morning, I never dreamed I'd be writing the above words today. I just heard that Jack Bruce, one of my favorite musicians, has passed away.  I discovered him through the band Cream in 1970,  about the time I really discovered rock music in general.  I loved his playing and singing on all the Cream albums but then I bought his first solo LP, Songs For A Tailor, and that became my entry point to an entire new world of British jazz-rock through investigating the musicians who backed him there, like Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith of Colosseum and Chris Spedding of Nucleus.

With his lyricist partner, poet Pete Brown, Bruce wrote a number of excellent songs over the years.  The best known, of course, were the Cream hits, "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love" but others like "Rope Ladder To The Moon" and "Theme For An Imaginary Western" have been kept alive by various other musicians.  What I loved most about Bruce is that he was always willing to experiment. He would turn up in all sorts of situations,  usually with musicians who were as eager to explode boundaries as he was.  He was one of the lead vocalists on Carla Bley's epic concept album, Escalator Over The Hill, participated in many of the jazz-Latin-rock-funk stews cooked up by composer Kip Hanrahan, played with Frank Zappa in that brief period when FZ was making Top 10 records, and was one of the members of the pioneering jazz-rock band, The Tony Williams Lifetime.  His own records could explore blues, big band jazz and fusion or just be an excellent collection of rock songs. For all his experiments though, every few years he seemed to go back to the exhilarating format of a guitar, bass and drums trio jamming out alongside guitarists like Leslie West, Vernon Reid, Gary Moore and Robin Trower, which seemed to inevitably lead to getting back together with his Cream mates, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, to play reunion concerts in 2005. Just last year he was joining heavy hitters like Reid, John Medeski and Cindy Blackman-Santana in a Lifetime tribute band, Spectrum Road.

Bruce had an expressive voice that could croon romantically or bark with fury. His music was deep, fiery and magical.  I started looking around for clips of him to post and I was very surprised to see how many different contexts and bands he appeared in.  Then again, I shouldn't have been surprised at all. I apologize in advance for the quality of some of these clips, but a few are so rare I had to include them, no matter what.

First, "There's A Forest" from 1980. Jack's band is Clem Clempson on guitar, David L. Sancious on keyboards and Billy Cobham on drums.



This is Jack with one of Kip Hanrahan's overstuffed, rhythm-heavy ensembles live in 1985 at Washington, DC's 930 club.  I know this show well because, believe it or not, I was there. The other musicians include Andy Gonzalez on acoustic bass, Milton Cardona on percussion, Arto Lindsay and Steve Swallow on guitar and John Stubbefield on tenor sax. This video is in two parts.






Here's Jack on piano doing "Theme From An Imaginary Western".



And for something completely different, this is Jack singing the dark music of trumpeter-composer Michael Mantler, specifically a setting of the Edward Gorey story, "The Hapless Child":



At the 930 concert mentioned above, the band encored with a certain song Jack played many times back in his Cream days. In fact he probably played it thousands of times in his career with almost every group he played with.  Here it is in its most familiar form, performed by Bruce, Clapton and Baker at the 2005 Cream reunion concerts:



Jack Bruce, R.I.P.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ran Blake

It's probably safe to say that there is no other pianist in the jazz world who sounds quite like Ran Blake.  His music is all about atmosphere, a combination of melancholy, uncertainty and shadows that bears only passing resemblance to conventional jazz piano.

Blake was born in Springfield, MA in 1935 and began his musical career in the late 1950's in New York City.  In 1959 he met educator and composer Gunther Schuller who became his mentor and introduced him to the concept of Third Stream Music, a hybrid genre that draws equally from the worlds of jazz and classical music. Schuller helped get Blake a position teaching at the New England Conservatory and he eventually became the Chair of the Third Stream Department, a position he still holds though the school's name has changed to the Contemporary Improvisation Department. Blake has taught and influenced many musicians, like Don Byron and Matthew Shipp, in that capacity.

In addition to all this he has enjoyed a long performing and recording career playing music that draws from inspirations like European folk music, gospel, classical and film noir as well as classic jazz sources.  His playing is measured and deliberate, single, icy notes alternating with dissonant chords and rich bursts of melody.  This creates a musical universe of woozy darkness that creeps along with the dread of an Edgar Allan Poe short story.  Here is he working his magic on "Over The Rainbow".



Blake has always worked in small configurations, mostly solo or duo with saxophonists or vocalists though of late he has been working with a guitarist, David "Knife" Fabris.  In the sax world, he has worked with melodic, big-toned players who contrasted well with his sparse frameworks such as Clifford Jordan, Houston Person, Ricky Ford, Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton. The vocalists though have been his most memorable foils.  The sound of a haunting female voice singing against Blake's dissonant chords is mesmerizing.  Over the years he has worked with singers like Christine Correa, Dominique Eade, Sara Serpa and Chris Connor but his landmark statement came in 1962 when he recorded the album The Newest Sound Around with socialist Jeanne Lee.  Lee's husky, powerful voice was the perfect compliment to Blake and their work together still sounds like nothing else even after all these years.

This is a rare 1963 clip from French television of Lee and Blake performing "Something's Coming" from West Side Story.



And this is a more recent piano-voice pairing with the Portuguese-born Sara Serpa. The song is Blake's composition, "Vanguard".



Blake's repertoire over the years has come from everywhere, film themes, traditional gospel, folk songs and the Great American Songboook.  He has recorded full-length ttributes to George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Horace Silver and select compositions of jazz legends like George Russell, Stan Kenton and Ornette Coleman. He's also recorded many of his own pieces over the years, none more haunting than "The Short Life Of Barbara Monk".  During his early days in New York Blake hung around Thelonious Monk quite a bit to the point where he actually baby sat for his two children, Barbara and T.S.  Barbara died of breast cancer in 1983 aand afterwards, Blake wrote a composition based on a dream he had of her ice skating  as a child.  That piece sounds like a theme from a lost film noir, sweet and childlike but filled with an uncertain dread.  This version is from an album on the Soul Note label named after the piece. It's the only record I've ever seen where Blake recorded with a full quartet. Ricky Ford is the hard-nosed tenor saxophonist.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Julie (Driscoll) Tippetts


Julie Tippetts, jazz vocalist

A lot of musicians shift their approaches over their careers but Julie Tippetts changed her music far more than most.  In the 60's she was one of Britain's leading pop singers. In the decades since she's been one of the pillars of the British avant-jazz community.

 

Julie Driscoll, pop singer
Tippetts, one of my all-time favorite singers, started her musical career in 1963 under her maiden name, Julie Driscoll, and by 1965 she had joined Steampacket, an r'n'b band that included Long John Baldry and some guy named Rod Stewart as her co-vocalists and Brian Auger on organ.  When that group broke up she joined Auger's new trio, Brian Auger and the Trinity.  From the period 1967-1969 this group was very popular with Driscoll also working as a model and actress.  Driscoll was blessed with a voice unlike any other female pop singer of the period, a forceful siren wail indebted to Nina Simone and Bessie Smith.  Matched to Auger's wild, expressive organ the group had several big hits covering songs by major rock musicians of the time like Donovan ("Season of The Witch"), Bob Dylan, ("This Wheel's On Fire") and Richie Havens ("Indian Rope Man").  Here is a live TV performance from the band of David Ackles' "Road To Cairo" including a German host doing his best Dick Clark imitation.





In 1969 she left Auger to pursue a solo career but on her own she went in a different direction, leaving the pop songs behind for self-written material that merged folk with progressive jazz as shown on her solo records, 1971's 1969 and 1974's Sunset Glow. This is "Those That We Love" from 1969.




Travelling in these circles she met up with jazz pianist Keith Tippett and began to contribute both vocals and lyrics to his groups like the improvising quartet, Ovary Lodge, and the 50-piece jazz-rock orchestra, Centipede.

Eventually Driscoll and Tippett were married and as Julie Tippetts, the singer has continued to work in the jazz/improv field for the last 40 years, performing with her husband in various small and large groups as well as working with others like pianist-composer Carla Bley, saxophonist Martin Archer, fellow free vocalists Maggie Nicols and Phil Minton and the free improvisation group, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble.  She's also made occasional returns to the rock world, a reunion album with Brian Auger in 1978 and a collaboration with Working Week, a politically progressive rock-soul-jazz band in 1984.  In 1992, she even re-recorded her old hit, "This Wheel's On Fire" as the theme song for the TV show Absolutely Fabulous.
Today she is recognized as a major figure in the European jazz world, her slinky, elastic voice immediately distinctive whether chirping over her husband's tinkling piano or blasting over a roaring big band.

This is a clip of the Tippetts performing in 2007 with saxophonist Paul Dunmall.  I apologize for the fuzzy visuals but this was the best clip I found to display the range and expressiveness of Julie's voice.



And this presents the Tippetts along with South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo and an Italian big band, Canto General, performing an excerpt from the Centipede magnum opus, "Septober Energy".  Keith wrote the music and Julie wrote the lyrics. The soprano sax player duetting with Julie is Roberto Ottaviano.