In fact, the jazz musicians of today still play many of the tunes of this period because of their structure and feeling.
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Ann Arbor, Michigan (PRWEB) October 15, 2009
Recalling a time of patriotism, heroism, and happy homecomings, 'Someone Talked! Memories of World War II' transports listeners back to the era of USO Shows, war bonds, and Victory Gardens. Featuring Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist William Bolcom, internationally acclaimed soloists Joan Morris and Robert White, and jazz historian Hazen Schumacher, this 'radio show in miniature' includes 19 songs from America's wartime songbook interlaced with 20 narrations that tell the story of life on the battlefront and the homefront, circa 1940s. Produced by Equilibrium Records at Brookwood Studio; official release date: October 13th. Available now through http://www.equilibri.com.
"Today, many feel the need to express their thanks to our veterans, and that impulse was where the idea for 'Someone Talked!' originated," said pianist William Bolcom. "This recording is also for those who are too young to be in any way connected to war. For them, World War II will certainly be unknown territory, and we wanted this to be a step toward understanding what the war felt like here at home."
A young boy during the post-war years, tenor Robert White sang for veterans' organizations and in veterans' hospitals, and was overwhelmed with those memories during the recording. "Those of us who remember that period have lived long enough to understand ― with gratitude ― the sacrifices that went into winning the conflict. But I think any and all, young and old, can find a way to relate these songs, which possess a straightforward drive and delivery that never gets mawkish or crude."
Both Bolcom and White were young boys during the Second World War, entertaining troops on the radio and in USO shows. Narrator Hazen Schumacher was a teenager when he served 13 months in the Coast Guard toward the end of the war.
"1939 to 1942 was a special period for jazz and popular music. Like Sammy Cahn's and Jules Styne's 'I'll Walk Alone' and Johnny Mercer's 'G.I. Jive,' the songs were either lovely ballads or up-tempo numbers," said Schumacher. "In fact, the jazz musicians of today still play many of the tunes of this period because of their structure and feeling."
Other songs on the album include Irving Berlin's 'Any Bonds Today?' and 'This Is The Army, Mr. Jones,' Ruth Lowe's 'I'll Never Smile Again,' Frank Loesser's 'Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition,' and Sammy Fain's 'I'll Be Seeing You.'
"We had about 30 songs that we thought we couldn't live without, so whatever didn't get all four enthusiastic votes was dropped. As much as we loved them, we didn't do things like 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' because so many people still do them today," explained Morris. "Still, there was plenty left to choose from because a lot of the most prominent songwriters of the time contributed to the list - certain ones often. That also explains why so much of the music survived. Today, people still appreciate the tunes that they first heard from their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents - and, of course, from the old Hollywood war movies of the period that are still popular."
About Equilibrium Records
Founded in 1983, Equilibrium Records provides audiences with unique quality recordings performed by distinguished artists and rising stars. Specializing in modern 'classical' music (often referred to as contemporary music) across all genres, as well as presenting outstanding jazz and world music, Equilibrium recordings have been critically acclaimed in American Record Guide, Fanfare, Strad, and other notable publications. Since its inception, Equilibrium has expanded to include handcrafted percussion instruments designed by its founder, Michael Udow, and used by professional symphonic orchestras, military service bands, and soloists throughout the world. For more information on Equilibrium records, visit the website at Equilibrium Records or contact Michael Udow at (734) 426-5814.
About William Bolcom, piano
Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake's 'Songs of Innocence and of Experience,' William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. Bolcom was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his '12 New Etudes' for piano, and received the National Medal of Arts in 2006. He is retired from the University of Michigan, where he taught composition from 1973 through 2008. For more on William Bolcom, visit William Bolcom
About Joan Morris, mezzo-soprano
Joan Morris has performed in theaters and concerts throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. She and her husband William Bolcom have recorded two-dozen albums as Bolcom & Morris; their first album, 'After the Ball,' garnered a Grammy nomination for Morris. In April 2004 she was a soloist in the performance of Bolcom's 'Songs of Innocence and of Experience;' the Naxos recording went on to win four Grammy Awards, including recognition for Morris as Soloist on the album. An actress, producer, director, and author, Morris' 'Barnum's Nightingale' tells the story of Jenny Lind's American concert tour in 1850. She has taught at the University of Michigan since 1981 and is adjunct curator at the Clements Library. For more on Joan Morris and Bolcom & Morris,
visit Bolcom & Morris
About Robert White, tenor
Robert White began his career in 1943 on New York radio with Milton Cross. He sang and acted with other luminaries of his childhood, such as Bing Crosby, Fred Allen, Humphrey Bogart, and Arthur Godfrey. (At this same time, Robert's eight-years-older brother, Joseph, who had joined the Navy at 16, was fighting in the Pacific.) Later, as a young tenor, he was soloist with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. He has sung for many heads of state, including six U.S. presidents. The recipient of the September 2007 Award for Artistic Excellence from the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, White is a member of the Director's Council of the New York City Opera and is on the voice faculties of both The Juilliard School and the CUNY Graduate Center.
About Hazen Schumacher, narrator
Hazen Schumacher was producer-host of the radio program 'Jazz Revisited' which was carried by National Public Radio (NPR) on 150 stations around the U.S. He has written and lectured on jazz and taught credit and adult education courses at The University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. Schumacher is retired from The University of Michigan where he was Director of Broadcasting and Media Resources, Director of the Masters Program in Telecommunications, and a Senior Research Scientist at The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. He is co-author of the book, 'A Golden Age of Jazz Revisited,' published in 2008.
About the Cover Art: 'Someone Talked!' by Frederick Siebel
The cover is from an iconic 1938 poster by artist Frederick "Fritz" Siebel, then recently emigrated from Austria. Part of a National War Poster Competition, it was selected by Eleanor Roosevelt to travel across the nation.
Physical distribution of 'Someone Talked! Memories of World War II' by Albany Music Distribution to Borders Books and Music, Amazon.com, Tower Online, and independent CD stores. Digital distribution through IODA to I-Tunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and other international download sales sites.
All images are courtesy of the artists unless otherwise noted.
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