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Ezra Weiss Quintet Premieres "The Shirley Horn Suite" at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
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Ezra Weiss Quintet Premieres "The Shirley Horn Suite" at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

- Jazz and Cabaret

Ezra Weiss Quintet
(Ezra Weiss Website)
Premieres The Shirley Horn Suite
(Shirley Horn Bio)
With
Ezra Weiss on Piano
Heidi Krenn on Vocals
(Heidi Krenn Web Page)

Kelly Roberge on Tenor Sax
Corcoran Holt on bass
Chris Brown on drums
At
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
NY, NY
212.258.9595
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Artistic Administrator
Scott Thompson, Press


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 19, 2007


In a lovely interlude at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola tonight, Ezra Weiss unveiled The Shirley Horn Suite with his talented quintet. His piano played like raindrops in moody whispering refrains, as Kelly Roberge enticed the sound with his smooth sax. Chris Brown used the cymbals for exotic percussion, and they soon sped into I Can’t Get Started. Heidi Krenn, an artist to watch, sang in the vocal style of Shirley Horn, but with a decidedly different persona. Ms. Krenn is petite, blond, and wistful. But, her singing is rapturous and resonant. Roberge took Ms. Krenn’s theme and embellished it with depth. The interaction of musicians and vocals was bluesy and blended, especially well backed up by Corcoran Holt on bass.

In The Sound of Love, introspective themes were introduced, and, in Blues for Shirley, a guest trombonist appeared and took the theme to inspired improvisation. Trombone and sax artfully wove the theme, before Weiss expanded it with mellow, and in the moment, tonalities. Bass and brushes took a lengthy riff, mostly subtle and sensual. May the Most You Wish For brought Ms. Krenn back onstage with its poignant, impassioned lyrics, merging into the melting piano and cymbal theme. Don’t Need No Ticket was soulful and sultry, with the guest trombonist back for the finale. Reminiscent themes breezed through this late night set to seal Weiss’ sharp statement of respect and adoration of the great Shirley Horne.

Check the Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website for future dates and artists.

Lyrics to The Shirley Horn Suite, Courtesy of Ezra Weiss:

I WISH I'D MET YOU

You sang so softly but still I heard
You held me in your arms with every word
It seems absurd to me that our time is through
I wish I'd met you

You sang so slowly but still in time
You made me cry without reason but so much rhyme
It was divine to cry to songs so blue
I wish I'd met you

It's so funny when you miss someone you never met
And yet I miss you so
You gave me so many tunes I'll never forget
But you I'll never know

You gave me so much joy with your many songs
And so although you're not here you will never be gone
And for a long time I'll have one regret:
I wish we'd met

When the piano tremeloed and the cymbals swelled
And your voice rang out above it
I really loved it
And I love you
I wish I'd met you
You let me know you so well
But still I wish I'd met you

NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT

I've always been a cynic with barely my half of an empty glass
When skies are gray, though try as I may, I never can say the obligatory "This too shall pass"
I've never understood old love songs with all of their candy and flowers
They seem incomplete, filled only with sweet, and so I retreat to the sour
Then you come along and sing me a song, and I could listen to you go on for hours

Now that you mention it, it could be true
There could be violets dripping with dew
I never knew that kind of romance
Carriage rides through Central Park
Two lovers softly holding hands
And their touch ignites a spark

Now that you've brought it up, maybe they're real
Maybe there's buttercups, sweet and genteel
It's so ideal, this simple serenade
I could hear it played all night
Now that you mention it
You might be right

Now that you mention it, does it exist?
Have you seen pink tulips drizzled in mist?
How can I resist staying up late
Singing songs all through the night
Or even dancing slow on a date
Then a kiss in the pale moon light?

And while we're on the subject, love could be true
But if this is correct, then why am I blue?
I guess a few sad goodbyes
And rainy skies will have to do
But on the other hand
There could be roses and
Some chocolates too.
Now that you mention it
If these things do exist
It's all because of you.

SHIRLEY HORN'S SOUND OF LOVE

The scent of her hair stayed on his pillow
For three mornings after she'd gone
The first morning the smell was strawberry jam
And melted butter
She called him from the airport
To say goodbye again

The scent of her hair stayed on his pillow
For three mornings after she'd gone
The second morning the smell was rain pouring down
Filling the puddles
She called him on her lunch break
She said she missed him so

The scent of her hair stayed on his pillow
For three mornings after she'd gone
The third morning the smell had faded away
But he smelled candles burning
He'd take a trip this summer
To see her once again

BLUES FOR SHIRLEY
(Instrumental)

MAY THE MOST YOU WISH FOR

May the most you wish for be the least that you receive
As you travel the seasons through all the changing leaves
May your struggles and sadness only make you stronger
Just you wait
All it takes is time, my friend

In a park in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from the train,
Crowds of children are laughing loud, playing silly games
Running round and round just like your father played
Hide and seek
Losing track of time with his friends

What we often call wisdom is only pain subsided
Along with joys remembered
Tattered secrets confided in you

On a beach somewhere, maybe twenty years from now,
You will find yourself laughing loud at how it all worked out
Maybe not how you planned, but even better
So, my friend,
May the most you wish for be the least you receive


Ezra Weiss’ personal comments on this premiere work:

Shirley Horn is truly one of my heroes, and she's been a major influence on how I think about music. When she passed away, I wanted to do something to honor her, so I wrote this suite.

Most of the music I've written before the suite has been instrumental, so the lyrics were a real challenge for me. Also, because so much of Shirley's repertoire comes from old Broadway tunes, I needed to write at least some of the material in that style. This was really challenging, because a "simple" tune does not equal "easy to write." And then once I would write the tune in the very traditional style, I would try to think about how Shirley might have arranged it.

Incidentally, when I was writing the suite, I listened to a lot of Shirley Horn's music. Do you know if they've ever released "Embers and Ashes" on CD? That was her first album, and I always hear people talk about it, but can't find it anywhere on CD. Anyway, I hope it gets re-released some day soon.

That reminds me that I discussed the suite and Shirley with Billy Hart a lot while I was writing it. He was super helpful in the creation of it.

Besides being a phenomenal, original, and creative singer, Heidi Krenn is also a great lover of Shirley Horn. When we first met, we found that we had similar musical tastes and bonded over our love of Shirley. I discussed the suite with her a lot when I was writing it to got her input which was extremely helpful.

In terms of the songs, "I Wish I'd Met You" is about how I wish I'd gotten to meet Shirley Horn.

"Now That You Mention It" is about how much meaning Shirley brought to songs that might seem corny in the hands of another singer.

"Shirley Horn's Sound of Love" is more influenced by Shirley than specifically about her. She had a way with slow bossas like no one else, and this is inspired by that.

"Blues for Shirley" is a slow swinging blues. While Shirley harmonically could do whatever she wanted, she also could play some serious down-home blues, so this is about that.

"May the Most You Wish For" is about the comfort and wisdom that Shirley brings to us, with songs like "Where Are You Going?" and "Here's to Life."




Ezra Weiss Quartet and Guest Artists
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net