Category Archives: cole porter

Night and Day Cole Porter’s Versatile Standard, Trio Style

Before getting into today’s featured selection, I’d like to invite you to join the Diana Mascari Jazz Trio featuring Rebecca Wellons and Marliese Ballon this Friday November 14th from 8:00 – 10:30 PM at The Java Room in Chelmsford for an evening of upbeat jazz that will keep your feet tapping and put a smile on your face. This charming venue hosts some of the area’s best jazz pianists including Ted Knowlton and Harvey Diamond, and like them, I’ll be playing the beautiful Kawai Grand Piano.

Check out our other upcoming gigs as well as our NEW performance videos

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What Is This Thing Called Love? Revisiting Cole Porter’s Classic Composition

Before getting into today’s featured selection, I’d like to invite you to join the Diana Mascari Jazz Trio featuring Rebecca Wellons and Marliese Ballon for our annual free one hour concert at the Wayland Public Library this Sunday October 26th at 3:00 PM

Check out our other upcoming gigs as well as our performance videos

What Is This Thing Called Love?

Continue reading What Is This Thing Called Love? Revisiting Cole Porter’s Classic Composition

Love for Sale – Cole Porter’s “Scandalous” Song Still Going Strong after 80 Years

Today marks the final chapter of my Cole Porter blog series. As I mentioned a while ago, this composer was far from being an overnight success. Although Love for Sale was featured in the revue called The New Yorkers, its lyrics were considered much too explicit for society in 1930. Nevertheless, this song composed two years after Cole Porter reintroduced himself to Broadway, has become a popular standard. In fact, many jazz instrumentalists and vocalists continue to include Love for Sale in their performance repertoires.

When I reflect on the collection of songs that I played and recorded for this series on Cole Porter, I certainly can appreciate Porter’s contribution to the American Popular Songbook with a different perspective. There’s something very valuable about getting acquainted with a composer’s musical language. By this I mean his or her manner of creating melodies and harmonic progressions as well as choosing certain chords and presenting these with certain overall and specific rhythmic patterns. In the case of Cole Porter, there is the additional element of his lyrics which definitely have an impact on his musical structure.

During the 16 years when I was actively composing concert music (classical music), I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge by getting to know the lives and works of many classical composers. My pattern was to select a specific composer because I had heard a piece that I really liked. I would buy the CD and purchase or borrow the musical score from the library. Usually, I would be curious about the creator of the particular piece that had caught my attention. This motivated me to find and read the biography which in turn introduced me to the even more of the composer’s compositions. Before I knew it, I was listening to many new (at least to me) pieces of music. This process combined in a way that energized and enriched my musical life.

Continue reading Love for Sale – Cole Porter’s “Scandalous” Song Still Going Strong after 80 Years

All of You – Cole Porter’s Last Major Contribution to the Jazz Repertoire

When I was young, going to see a movie was a big deal. Unlike the availability of films on TV as well as on DVDs, the Internet and even hand held devices as we have today, the local cinema was the only place to experience Hollywood’s latest motion picture. The characters looked larger than life on the giant screen; the color picture provided a marked contrast to the dull black and white images we viewed on our television at home, and the sound was staggering since we were use to hearing heard voices and music coming from small poor quality speakers.

Because these trips to the movies were infrequent during my childhood, they stood out in my mind. It’s interesting that two of the films that our family attended came to mind when I began preparing to write this post. One of them, which was and continues to be an important part of the American cultural experience, was The Wizard of Oz.  In fact, I recorded and wrote about Over the Rainbow in my blog post nearly one year ago. There I pointed out the fact that this song’s universal appeal is the reason that I often use it to demonstrate a variety of arranging styles to prospective piano students (adults and/or children with their parents) when I meet with them for their free initial interview/consultation.

The other less well-known movie that our family attended featured Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the 1957 film version of Cole Porter’s show, Silk Stockings. I can still remember watching this couple dancing effortlessly and gracefully across the screen. Since my mother knew, liked and could play many of the standards from the American Popular Songbook, it doesn’t surprise me to think that she not only wanted to see the film herself, but also wanted to introduce me to this wonderful musical repertoire. Needless to say, I certainly had no idea at the time that I’d be playing, recording and writing about All of You, the song which emanated from this Cole Porter score so many years later.

Continue reading All of You – Cole Porter’s Last Major Contribution to the Jazz Repertoire