Rebecca Kilgore has been one of my favorite singers for more than two decades now. But life is full of surprises, delights that catch us happily unaware. At the Allegheny Jazz Party last month, our Becky stepped to the microphone and announced that she — with the help of two dear friends — had written a song.
And then she sang it. And it was delicious.
The song is THE DAY I LEARNED FRENCH, and she really did dream that she had mastered the language. When she awoke, she wrote down the melody and sketched out some lyrics. Mike Horsfall added the harmonization, and Ellen Vanderslice contributed more clever lyrics to give this Kilgore-fantasy its charming shape.
I am thrilled to be able to share this song, and Rebecca’s sprightly performance, with you. And let us not forget those two international jazz masters, Rossano Sportiello and Nicki Parrott, who add their own je ne sais quoi to it all:
For those who — as I do — delight in the spiffy, stylish lyrics, here they are.
THE DAY I LEARNED FRENCH
One night I lay me down to sleep
I said a pray’r and counted some sheep
But something strange occurred that night
Was I insane? Let me explain…
Oh, the day I learned French, I recall with delight
How I woke with a start, feeling ever so smart:
I’d learned French overnight!
And not just “parlez vous” I knew French through and through
When so sweetly, j’ai dit “oui” completely, the day I learned French
In a tiny boutique, lingerie from Paris
Seemed to fit parfaitement in the life of une femme
Who could parler so free
And it’s simply magnifique, to discover I could speak
Like a native, creatively phrasing, the day I learned French
It was easy, comme ça, comme ci, voilà, voici, j’ai appris
Merci beaucoup, s’il vous plait, alors, le fait accompli! [to CODA last time]
I looked up at the sky, et j’ai vu le soleil
It was shining so brightly I knew this would be a spectacular day
And the birdies sang “cui, cui!” They were speaking French like me
We were swingin’ and singin’ the Spring in, the day I learned French
You can try this at home, if your slumber is deep
You don’t need an excursion or total immersion, just drop off to sleep
And as quick as un, deux, trois, you can dream in French, voilà!
It’s amazingly, dazingly crazy, the way I learned French
It’s easy voici: Merci beaucoup, à bientôt, adieu
Le fait accompli!
Music by Rebecca Kilgore and Mike Horsfall
Words by Rebecca Kilgore and Ellen Vanderslice
Copyright 2014 Cherry Pie Music, PO Box 29103, Portland OR 96296
This isn’t the trio’s sole creation. Non.
In late July, some of Portland’s finest jazz musicians gathered at Dead Aunt Thelma’s Recording Studio in Sellwood to record fresh original material. Project partners Rebecca Kilgore, Ellen Vanderslice, and Mike Horsfall teamed up to produce 18 original songs, with each partner contributing melodies, harmonies and lyrics to the collaboration. For the recording session, they brought together a dream team of musicians: Randy Porter, piano; Tom Wakeling, string bass; Todd Strait, drums, with guests David Evans, tenor sax; Dan Balmer, guitar; Jon Moak, trombone; Tim Jensen, flute and alto flute; Israel Annoh, percussion; Steve Christofferson, melodica; Mike Horsfall, vibes and arranging. Special guest Susannah Mars performed a duet with Rebecca on “You Make It Look So Easy,” and contributed vocal harmonies on “A Christmas Lullabye.”
A CD release (details to be announced) is just one of the ways the team hopes to make this sparkling new music available.
And something festive nearer at hand: Becky and friends will be releasing a Christmas EP with 3 original songs. The title cut is “It’s Getting To Be That Time Of Year” with words and music by Ms. K.
May your happiness increase!