Artist: David Leshare Watson
Title: Loves Swinging Soft & Ballads
David Leshare Watson – Vocals
John Mackay – Piano/Keyboards
Art Hirahara – Piano
James Jeffley – Bass
Naim Satya – Bass
Daryl Green – Drums
Michael Aragon – Drums
Babatunde Lea – Drums
Robert Stewart – Saxophone
Ray Scott – Guitar
On this CD you will be hearing songs that are close to my heart. Four of these songs are from two live performances. There are three songs that I performed with the Billy Browning Memorial Orchestra in a live concert in Napa Ca. They are, “Watch What Happens”, “Misty” and “Skylark”. The Napa Junior College put on yearly concerts by the orchestra that was started by a late staff member Billy Browning. I have performed a number of seasons with the orchestra during Billy Browning’s stay there and then after his passing. The concert was in the middle of the week and we had a full house, which is always good. The orchestra’s first three songs from Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton set the tone of the night. Then it was time for me to come on. The three songs above I choose for this release because they are close to studio quality.
Also recorded live is “Here’s To Life” written by Artie Butler who stated in a letter written to me, that my version of his song has the feeling of how he felt when he wrote it. That’s really great for his song was recorded by some of the greatest artists in the world, Shirley Horn, Joe Williams to name two of the best. “Here’s To Life” was recorded at Lo Spuntino, a club once located in downtown Sonoma Ca live with no rehearsals.
A few of the songs on this CD were recorded at JP studio in Fairfax Ca. they are done well but the piano was not in tune. From that session you will hear a new swinging version of the Beetles song “Come Together” and two old favorite standard “Scotch and Soda” and Stars Fell On Alabama. I have had the Beetles songbook around for years and then one night while lying in bed, I heard it and also what and how it could be done to some of the other songs. I took the book out and sang them the way that I heard them in my head. When I got to my next gig the guys through that I was nuts, until they heard what I did with them. In this song and the other two Art Hiragana does the most amazing things on the piano and I think he deserves being heard by all. Art’s ideas are brilliant and they seem to keep coming and just as you think it is coming to a climax, a new idea is built. If John Lennon and Paul McCartney could here this, I am sure they would approve. It swings. Man does it swing. It makes you want to tap your feet or dance or just plain let your body move. We had a great time on this song and hope you dig it also.
There are four songs that are on my first CD. Two are re-arranged to give them a new feel with the use of these three wonderful musicians Art Hirahara, Naim Satya and Darrel Green, we got more than I could imagine. I Miss Her So was done so well that it was hard to contain myself to sing. Art’s piano playing shines as Darrell and Naim push him to higher and higher places, I was so wrapped up in what I was hearing, that I almost didn’t hear my points of return. The song opens with a jazzy Latin feel for the vocals and then guys get into this jazz swing that is open, free and full of adventure.
“Imprisoned Splendor” the title song of my first CD is done in a Latin ballad feel. I had this feel in mine for the song Bewitched In Reverie and thought that Imprisoned Splendor should only be done as a ballad. Again I got proven wrong. It works in this feel and as a ballad. To hear the mastery work of the guys on this is song and their experience in doing it is heart warming. I am proud to have them give my songs so much care and love, what a gift.
The other two songs “My Foolish Heart” and “Bewitched In Reverie” we remixed to bring forward the vocals, the instrumentation we left in it’s original form. Then there are two new original songs. “Our Night In Heaven,” I wrote the music and lyric for this song and for almost five or six years after I had wrote the music I wrote the lyric.
The music to “Waking Up” was written by guitarist Ray Scott and the lyric written by myself. Written in the 70’s and the lyric was also written in that period, I used this song on quite a number of gig’s. It is done in three quarter time and is about the joys and sweetness of being in love. In the recording of “Waking Up” we used my friend Michael Aragon on drums and of course the composer Ray Scott playing guitar, Art Hirahara piano and Naim Satya on bass. There are moments in this song that so fascinating that it brings goose bumps up on my arm.
I hope you enjoy the easy swinging feel of this CD. It has some great musicians holding the sound together on it and on their solos they excel to the highest. Every minute of it was a joy to be a part of and I am grateful that I could be in the company of these great talented musicians. Listed below are the names of the musicians and songs they perform on.
David Leshare Watson