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Posts tagged ‘1970s’

Bill Evans And Tony Bennett Diverging Fates

This is from the 1975 album “Tony Bennett and Bill Evans Album.”  The 70’s were not terribly kind to Tony Bennett. He divorced one wife and separated from another, he went bankrupt and developed a near fatal drug habit. Bill Evans, on the other hand, was relatively stable for at least part of the decade. He’d just kicked his decades long heroin habit and he entered a time of peak creativity. Of course by the end of the decade Tony Bennett was on the road recovery while Bill Evans turned to cocaine which killed him in 1980.

The 70’s was a decade of training for me; training of the potty variety, training of the wheel variety, and finally training of the bra variety. I’m still not sure what those bras were trying to train exactly but I exited puberty with the right equipment so I guess I passed.

Phil Woods and Billy Joel

Phil Woods is a bebop saxaphonist whose career has spanned several decades. His nick name is New Bird after Charlie “Bird” Parker. I’m not sure if that’s because his playing style is similar or because he married Charlie’s widow and raised his daughter.

Since Phil Woods is very prolific and since he’s worked with nearly every musician on the face of the earth, it’s pretty to figure out exactly what to post. I decided to go with Phil Woods’ most famous solo, his great work on Billy Joel’s 1977 song “Just The Way You Are.” It’s the best selling song off Billy’s album “The Stranger” which many have called his finest work. So in that sense it is Phil Woods’ magnum opus within Billy Joel’s single tour de force within his album piece de resistance. Er… yeah, I made a flow chart, that totally makes sense.

I have said it a million times before but I love a great lyricist.  I think Billy Joel is a genius. He wrote “Just The Way You Are” as a birthday gift for his first wife. The song basically says “Your insecurities are really harshing my mellow.” It’s not a message designed to inspire romance, but he says it so beautifully that I bet he got birthday lovin’ that night anyway!

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