“FIRST REAL LOVE” liner notes by Randy Klein
The Singer and the Song
The musical journey that Ashley and I took to record this CD started with the day she auditioned for a musical that I was presenting. I loved her voice then and even more now. We began working together with the idea of recording one or two songs from my extensive catalog, but once we started, we were having so much fun that it resulted in this eleven song package of highly romantic songs. We rehearsed at my piano and then slowly began to develop the tracks. We then recorded a complete set of lead vocals and, because we are both perfectionists, recorded them again. By this second set of lead vocals, Ashley’s interpretations had grown and the songs became part of her, a personal statement.
When a vocalist chooses a song to sing, they are emotionally connected to it for some reason. The reason could either be the melody touches them in a certain way or there is a lyrical sentiment that they want to express. Although a vocalist may feel a connection to the song, it may just not fit for some reason. So they have to choose another. As you will hear, all of these songs fit Ashley to a tee.
The songs that are in this collection have been written during my long career in music in collaboration with many great lyricists. They are about romance, falling in and out of love and remembering the loves of our life. Good songs all have a common trait – one never tires of them. You will find that you don’t tire of listening to Ashley singing this collection of songs.
-Randy Klein President of Jazzheads and King Kozmo Records.
MUSICIANS ON THE ALBUM:
RANDY KLEIN on piano
Randy Klein is an accomplished pianist, composer, record producer and the president of Jazzheads; an independent record label featuring improvised jazz. Randy has been awarded the Simons Public Humanities Fellowship at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas for the 2011-2012 academic year. He is the recipient of the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre. His song cycle, Lineage won the 2009 CAP Grant sponsored by the American Music Center. He is the winner of four Southern Regional Emmy Awards: 1996 – for the original score to the 90 minute film-documentary titled Richard Wright (Black Boy) PPS/BBC. He won the 1998, 1999 and 2002 Southern Regional Emmy Awards in the category of “Outstanding Collaborative Achievement for Composer” for his work on Ticktock Minutes (PBS). Ticktock Minutes is the winner of the 1999 National Emmy Award for Best Public Service Announcement. He has been nominated for a 1998 and 2010 Jerry Boch Award for his theater composition. He is the winner of the USA Songwriting Competition 2005 in the Jazz category and top two in the overall category for his composition “Data”. He is the winner of gold records for songs recorded by Polydor recording artist Millie Jackson, and composed and produced the dance hit “Watch The Closing Doors” for the RCA group IRT. He has had songs recorded by Candy Staton, Sarah Dash (formerly of LaBelle), the rap group Black Sheep, Memphis Bleak, and Sesame Street.
As a pianist, he performs in various ensembles including: Two Duos, Solo Improvised Piano, and a quintet. He has performed at venues such as Birdland, Klavierhaus, Trumpets, and the historic Union of Composers Club (Moscow). Randy’s music has also been featured at many Jazz and Music conventions in Chicago, New York and at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston.
Randy Klein’s improvisation project, Two Duos has received rave reviews for the release of the CD Sunday Morning, May 2010, featuring trombonist Chris Washburne and Russian saxophonist Oleg Kireyev performing with Randy Klein on piano. The duos are sensitive duets designed to feature each of these esteemed soloists. Composed specifically for each performer, the project continues to expand to include other great improvising soloists. A new Two Duos release will be spring 2011 featuring bassist, Boris Kozlov and guitarist, Alex Skolnick.
His solo improvised piano recordings include: Randy Klein’s Jazzheads (Jazzheads), Underground Romantic (Jazzheads), Just My Imagination (Slider Music) and Love Notes From The Bass (Jazzheads), Broadway Remembers (Main Street Productions), How Sweet It Is, Rock-A-Bye Baby (Rock Candy Music), Invitation In (Jazzheads), Piano Christmas (Jazzheads) and The Flowing (Jazzheads).
He is the composer of For My People, a song cycle featuring the poetry of American author, Margaret Walker. For My People was featured at the Furious Flower Poetry Festival at James Madison University and the University of Kansas. The music premiere of the renowned poem by Margaret Walker ‘For My People’ is scheduled for April 2, 2011 at James Madison University, Va, with a 52 voice chorale.
His documentary film scores include: National Emmy winner Free To Dance (PBS Great Performances) and National Emmy winner Beyond Tara – The Extraordinary Life Of Hattie McDaniel (American Movie Classics) and Richard Wright – Black Boy (PBS/BBC production). His music can be heard at the Burial Ground Museum in lower Manhattan and at the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC.
His musical theater works include Move!, a dance musical commissioned by the Royal Theatre Carre’, Amsterdam (premiered April, 1992); I Don’t Do Club Dates, staged reading at the Victory Theater September, 1991 by the National Musical Theater Network and at the John Harms Center for the Arts, Englewood, NJ, January 1994; and Capture The Moon, based on the Eastern European folklore stories of the Wise Men of Chelm. In 1989, I Don’t Do Club Dates earned Randy a BMI Foundation grant for artistic promise in theater composition; Falling Apart, a chamber musical utilizing elements of both musical theater and the jazz concert; Bucky And His Friends, a full-length contemporary vaudeville show for stage, video and CD; Flambe’ Dreams (formerly) The Thing About Joe, an original musical about a man who dreams of becoming a great maitre’d. Flambe Dreams has been performed in readings and workshops from 2006-2011 at: The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, BMI Showcase , Musical Mondays at the Jerry Orbach Theatre, TRU readings , Groundup Productions, and The York Theatre.
Upon reaching his 11th birthday, he requested a guitar.
Years of “Garage Bands” (literally) followed. Larry and his band mates honed their craft at school dances, church functions, and “battles of the bands”.
Larry soon discovered that playing with songwriters was infinitely more satisfying.
NYC was a perfect place to be. Clubs were packed. Labels and publishing companies were signing new artists. Larry’s name and reputation grew. He was fortunate to work with such up and coming songwriters as Desmond Child (he of the Bon Jovi and Arrowsmith hits) and Marc Shaiman (he of the 50 major film scores), among many others.
At that time, the NYC guitar scene featured the likes of David Spinozza, Huge McCracken, Jeff Mirinov and John Tropea. Larry learned the art of “studio guitar playing” from these mentors, and today counts them among his friends.
Eventually, Larry claimed his own place in the NYC recording scene, playing thousands of sessions for records, films, TV and commercials.
Along with the way Larry performed and/or recorded with (among others) Bette Midler, Carole King, The Brecker Brothers, Chris Bottie, Shawn Colvin, Jewel, David Johansen, Michael Stipe, Julia Fordham, Peter Allen, The Golden Palominos, Gordon Edwards and Stuff, Darlene Love, Saturday Night Live (on air, as a member of the “House Band”), Dr. John, Dion, Celine Dion and many others.
In 2003, Larry was chosen to play guitar on tour with Simon and Garfunkel. This was a special honor, and Larry joined forces with his fellow Queens natives Paul and Art. The band included Jim Keltner, Pino Palladino, Warren Berhardt, Jamie Haddad, Mark Stewart and Rob Schwimmer. The tour was captured on a Live CD and Concert DVD. Further tours with S&G followed in 2004, 2009 and 2010.
Larry’s current freelance guitar career is a mix of touring, session work and club gigs, with both established and new artists.
Tony started his musical career as a bass guitarist and continues to develop on the instrument, playing live and recording regularly. He uses vintage Fender 4 string basses, customized by Roger Sadowsky and a Music Man 5 string.
As a bassist he has played and/ or recorded with, among others, The Golden Palominos, Shawn Colvin, Marc Shaiman, Alix Olson, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, Peter Allen, Lori Carson, Victoria Williams, Phyllis Hyman, Steve Forbert, Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Steven Bernstein, Peter Gordon and The Love Of Life Orchestra, David Van Tieghem, Pierce Turner, Patty Scialfa-Springsteen, Bob Telson (Gospel At Colonus), Steve Goodman, Longhouse, The Main Ingredient, David Amram, Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Sam Harris, Lamont Dozier, Lenny Pickett, Viva DiConcini, Patty Griffin (10 Million Miles), John Kelly, Cornell Dupree, and Sneaky Cookin’ (w. Howie Wyeth and Michael Brecker).
He recently served as Musical Director and bassist for John Kelly in his triumphant performance of the entirety of Joni Mitchell’s Court And Spark album at New York’s River To River Festival, as well as for the Neil Diamond Hot August Night tribute at the R2R Festival.
He was in the house band for the Live TV broadcast of Night Of Too Many Stars, with Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler. He played on the original soundtrack albums of the Broadway hits, “Once On This Island” and “Romance, Romance”. As well as performing in the Broadway runs of those shows, he has played on Broadway in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, Shrek, Rent, Hairspray, Cats, Big River and many others, and Off-Broadway in Patty Griffin’s musical hit Ten Million Miles at the Atlantic Theater Co.
He played on recent CDs by Tamara Hey (Miserably Happy), TamLin Music (Floating World), Charlie Demos, and Cassis.
Along with performing in the film, he is featured playing on the soundtrack of the hit movie, “Camp” (now available on DVD and CD). He has also played on the soundtracks of Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty”, Disney’s “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame”, and “The Tao Of Steve”, as well as many TV shows and too many jingles to mention.
He has also served as Musical Director for numerous local artists and bands, including Elaine Caswell, Ann Marie Milazzo (East Village Opera Co., Spring Awakening) and the Off-Broadway show, “The Long Road Home”, by Kathy Sommer and Barry Harmon.