I wrote elsewhere on this blog recently that so many of the songs in what we call the Great American Songbook are about the desolation of lost love, love unsuccessfully yearned for, love that has been broken past repair.
As a corrective, I offer two chamber-music improvisations on happier themes, created by James Dapogny and Strings at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on January 10, 2015. This quartet — formal in aspect but lively in spirit — is Dapogny at the piano; Mike Karoub, cello; Rod McDonald, guitar; Kurt Krahnke, string bass. No amplification requested or applied, and the lovely videos are the work of Laura Beth Wyman.
I am sure it is only a narrative I have created out of my essential romanticism and optimism, but the two songs below describe a brief play of risk-taking that is sure to bring deep rewards, and the delight of fulfillment. May it be so for those listening as well!
Vernon Duke’s cheerful TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE (impossible for me to hear this song without hearing Ethel Waters singing it as well):
And the full quartet returns for the Jimmy McHugh – Dorothy Fields EXACTLY LIKE YOU, a song that so epitomizes the most elated feelings of lovers at their most rapturous: “YOU are the only person I have ever wanted to be with, and our connection has been pre-ordained by both the cosmos and my Mother!”:
I have listened to these performances many times, and find them delightfully contradictory: on one hand, there is a priceless translucency, all of the component parts shining and apparently weightless — yet these performances are musically dense, and each time I listen I have the epiphanies, “Did you hear what he did there, how he responded?” Playful brilliance at every turn, never showy or self-referential. Thank you so much, James, Rod, Mike, Kurt, and Laura.
I have posted other performances from this gig, and here is an uplifting place to begin.
May your happiness increase!