How many personalities do I have? “All about Eve” has nothing on me. I am here savoring last night’s show at the 92nd Street Y: “Nine Decades of Songs from Warner Brothers.”
Written and conceived by Rex Reed, it was bright and funny, full of inside stories and insider gossip. The show crackled with Rex Reed humor and warmth, sometimes I just love the “hang" and stories. The performers were Christine Andreas, Polly Bergen, Tom Wopat, Jason Graae, and from the West Coast, a favorite, Sue Raney. The band was led by Mike Renzi.
Rex Reed and Polly Bergen
Photos by Stephen Sorokoff
The lyrics to Hooray for Hollywood, nailed the persona of Hollywood then as well as now. These were good songs, performed to perfection. You don't hear much perfection these days, they had film clips picked by Rex. It played to an older crowd, the lyrics still have great meaning and are not dated, the cleverness of the inner rhythms.
I am writing and dreaming all this as I listen to a CD by a group called Cake, and waiting for call backs as I help put together a Jazz Foundation event honoring a new stamp of Miles Davis, by booking jazz greats to come and spend an evening on June 12 in the Bogardus Mansion in Tribeca, as I wear a locket given to me by Miles on my wedding day.
He had engraved "I belong to Miles,” obviously I didn’t as I was marrying another trumpet player, named Burt Collins. But Miles believed that if I had heard him first, I would have married him. He might have been right!
These days it is like running through the halls of my old conservatory and hearing the music being played and practiced from a dozen genres. And for decades, like a time machine whizzing through time and space, it has been the same. I guess this is how I became a studio musician. I never could make up my mind.
One week many years ago, I did a session for an opera company and we did Faust. I was in the soldiers’ chorus. That same week, I sang back-up on a soul session with Cissy Houston, and a guide session for Sarah Vaughn, with a song whose lyrics had been written by the Pope. The check came from the Vatican City.
Last night was a grand night for singing!