Old New & Blue
Duane Michael Tucker - Old, New & Forever Blue may seem like a bit of a departure for the New York based country / folk rocker, but actually it's a homecoming. Duane has always had jazz in his blood, having grown up with it being performed all around him by his mother and father, who were both jazz pros. They can be heard on this collection as well. These songs were recorded over the past 25 years, give or take, but somehow they bind together with a common thread, which is the soulfulness of the performances, whether they are standards or original compositions. Duane relates the back story and inspiration behind each recording: 1. Stolen Moments. When I first heard the rendition by Mark Murphy back in the '70's, with lyrics that he composed for the melody, it opened up a whole realm of music that I hadn't even considered as something that I could do before. This recording was done in an intimate setting before a live audience, with legendary jazz pianist Carol Britto accompanying. 2. Gypsy Lady. I wrote this after going to a reunion party for a group of musicians that I had worked with back in college. The bass player and the keyboard player on the track, Al Levy and George Trapani, were from that group as well, as was background singer Mina Greene. We had a blast doing music for the drama group, and playing in the campus pub. Brian Eddols rounded out the rhythm section on drums. 3. / 4. Waiting Out The Rain / Autumn Color Cares. When I first started working in the recording industry, I ran into an aspiring orchestral arranger named Bill Ivie. He took four of my songs and did utterly fantastic arrangements of them- I still marvel at those today. The afore-mentioned Al Levy played bass on Autumn, along with Denny Salzman on keyboards and Steve Sprouse on drums. The string quartet from "Waiting Out The Rain" we picked up right in front of Carnegie Hall on the way to the recording session. My dad, harmonica great Cappy Barra, performed the harp solo. The other two songs are also on this collection. 5. Sophisticated Lady. This Duke Ellington song was one of my dad's virtuoso harmonica pieces, which I knew of instrumentally way before I found out it had words. The recording was once again a live performance, with Carol Britto providing the brilliant accompaniment. 6. Call Of The Wild. A result of my one-time addiction to Anne Rice novels. Recorded in my old apartment in Hunters Point, direct to DAT. I always planned to do a big production thing on this song, and who knows, one day I still might. 7. Heartbreak. In the late eighties, there were many clubs and hole-in-the-wall places to hang out in lower Manhattan, like Puffy's and the Radio Bar, and also a place called Heartbreak. By day it was a cafeteria style restaurant, but at night they would push the tables aside, and a DJ would come in and play that Old Time Rock And Roll. Every night at midnight they would play "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis, and from that the unofficial name of the place sprang. The song came from a pensive night hanging out there, after a bad breakup. Vocals and instruments are all me, through the magic of Pro Tools. 8. I Don't Care. Bill Ivie arrangement number three. I wrote the lyrics for this song on what was to be my first day of work out of college, for a photographer in New York. It was snowing, and I spent 2 hours on a commuter train and then slogged through the snow to the door of the studio, but it was locked- work had been canceled due to the snow, but nobody called to let me know. I plowed my way back to Penn Station, and wrote the lyric on the long ride back. The Sax parts were layered in by David Long, with the rhythm section players the same as Autumn Color Cares above. My dad, Cappy Barra, did the swingin' harmonica solo. 9. Harlem Nocturne. Originally written by Earle Hagen as a tribute to Duke Ellington's music, the Duke discovered it and wound up performing and recording it himself as well. It's one of my favorite songs, and a true classic. The recording is from a practice session at Carol Britto's apartment in New York, with Carol waxing indigo on piano. 10. Walk Away Darlin' A song about a timeless connection. Accompanying me are my "JZ and the Answers" long-time partners, Judith Zweiman on bass, and Mark McColl on percussion. 11. You And Me. One of my favorites from extraordinary songwriter and singer Peter Allen, with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. Once again, Carol Britto accompanies on the piano. 12. The Last One To Leave Wall Street. My shot at a theme song for the recent economic upheaval. With hard-rocker Gerry "Hatrix" Egatz on lead guitar, and blues man Eric Winnicki on bass. 13. You Are My Match. The last but by no means the least of the Bill Ivie foursome, with over-the-top instrumental glory. Bill himself is on piano, with the Carnegie Quartet on strings and Stu Smalls on oboe and flute. 14. & 15. Frances Bergman sings Embraceable You and They Can't Take That Away. My mom was a big-band singer who performed in the USO in both Europe and the Pacific during World War Two. She sang with Will Osbourne's band, and with Jimmy Dorsey, and she was a local live radio celebrity in her home town of Winston-Salem, NC. My mom and dad met in show business. They both had the same agent. For years they performed together in clubs all over the country, until they had kids and decided to settle down. Recordings of my mom singing are very rare, unfortunately, and this one spur of the moment performance at a party when she was in her late seventies shows what a great and natural singer she was. She and Carol Britto had never played together before- not even one rehearsal- and these two performances show what unbelievable professionals they both are. I'm so glad I got the chance to let both of my parents' talents shine through in this collection. So there you have it- Old, New and Forever Blue. Classics, along with originals. Ultimately, a cross section of the life and music of Duane Michael Tucker.