Harry Pickens - Passionate Ballads
Harry Pickens -
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
2. The Man I Love
The Nearness Of You
5. Someone To Watch Over Me
6. How Deep
Is The Ocean
7. You Don’t Know What Love Is
8. Teach Me
9. The Very Thought Of You
10. Blame It On My Youth
11. My One And Only Love
Total Time 63:34
“ I love ballads. For me, great ballads are not about
music or lyric, but rather, display a unique synthesis of tone and text
that often matches the depth, beauty, and coherence of the greatest art
songs of the Romantic era. For me, ballad interpretation revolves around
the text. The tones, textures, harmonies, all chosen in the moment - at
best serve to reveal, to illumine, to embrace the song's lyrical
on this recording hold a special place in my heart. I'm grateful to be
able to share the miracle of music with you. Enjoy.
I Love - This Gershwin classic is one of my mother's favorites. This one
is for you, mom.
Misty - This classic Erroll Garner tune was
a special request from my Aunt Constance "Cee". She introduced me to
Erroll over 20 years ago and is also responsible for perhaps 50% of my
song repertoire. She would constantly ask me, 'do you know this tune?' And
when I (more often than not) responded with a blank state and sheepish
'no, Cee, I've never heard it', she would proceed to pull out yet another
LP or 8-track featuring Nat, Sarah, or Ella and instruct me in the magical
mysteries of yet another classic. Recently, I asked her if she had any
songs she'd like me to play on my next solo CD. She promptly pulled out a
list of 24 tunes she had prepared for just such an occasion. Thanks, Cee.
This CD is dedicated to you.
The Nearness Of You - My dear
friend Jeanne Evans' favorite ballad. Jeanne is a true patron of the arts
and has not only brought great music to thousands throughout Southern
California, but has also created scholarship programs giving many talented
young artists career support when they need it most. Thank you, Jeanne,
for all you've done for the cause of Music.
You Don't Know
What Love Is - until you know the meaning of the blues. I can't play or
hear this song without thinking of Billie Holiday, with her near-constant
vacillation between radiant hope and horrific despair. Funny how life
seems to work - the deeper our capacity for experiencing sorrow - the more
love we are able to contain and express. Billie somehow knew this. The
song writers - Don Raye and Gene de Paul clearly knew this. I hope my
interpretation captures a bit of the song's essential paradox.
Teach Me Tonight - I first heard this tune as sung by Sarah
Vaughan. A Verve release from the 70's, with Oscar Peterson on piano, I
believe. Then I heard it on, what is for me, perhaps the ultimate jazz
piano record - Erroll Garner's Concert By The Sea. Erroll exuded so much
joy; Sassy radiated such exuberance and power, and the lyric is
The Very Thought Of You - My favorite love song.
Blame It On My Youth - One of my all-time
favorite ballads. I first heard the song played by Keith Jarrett in 1991.
I listened to his masterful interpretation at least 50 times the first
week I bought the CD, every time with tears of joy cascading down my
cheeks. Later I discovered Nat Cole's version and learned the words. About
5 years later, I understood them. This song delights me not only because
of it's musical impeccability and poignant theme, but also because of the
profound innocence portrayed in the text.
My One And Only
Love - I love this song's winding melody and luscious lyric. Whenever I
hear it, I think of the classic John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album.
Thank you to Jamey D.
Aebersold, Steve Good, Mike Tracy, Jerry Tolsen, Jamey Aebersold, Kathleen
Woeber, Loonis McGlohon, The University of Louisville Music Department and
the 200 plus friends, students, and jazz fans who attended the concert
from which this recording was made. Plus, a special thanks to Mom and Cee
for your ever present love, support and encouragement.
for purchasing this CD and giving me an opportunity to share the gift of
music with you. I feel utterly blessed to have the privilege of being a
musician - especially because I can bear witness to the miracle of
improvisation - spontaneous invention - as the music emerges like a baby
from the womb - full-born, with an identity all its own, and a life
forever part of mine, but also forever independent.
May the Love
that is you be evoked by these tones.
About Harry Pickens
Harry Pickens has performed internationally with many jazz
legends, including James Moody, Milt Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny
Griffin, Joe Henderson, and Slide Hampton, as well as with many of the top
players of his own generation, including Wallace Roney, Kenny Garrett,
Ralph Peterson, Carl Allen, and Robert Hurst. He has recorded with
the Johnny Griffin Quartet and with Out of The Blue on the Blue Note
label. This is his first solo CD.
Harry is also a consummate
teacher, professional speaker, and skilled facilitator, who uses the magic
and mystery of jazz to help people live more fulfilling, rewarding,
joyful, and productive lives. From corporate boardrooms, where he
teaches leaders the art of ‘strategic improvisation’, to schools, where he
inspires teachers to connect with the master performer within, to colleges
and universities, where he presents what is perhaps the most unique and
comprehensive artist-residency program in existence — Harry combines
masterful music-making with powerful insights into the ‘skills of
jazz’ to empower, inform, and inspire audiences wherever he goes.
If you'd like to contact me, or
to be placed on my mailing list for ongoing updates about concerts,
workshops, new releases, please write Harry C. Pickens, P. O. Box 3161,
Idyllwild, CA 92549; telephone - (909)659-3897; email -