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King Mark

Does Williams write the Lyrics for his songs?

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Yes, great resource, Lost Folio. You could also consider listing the songs that have not been published (from my list at the other thread), under "not published" or something. Just to have a complete list of John Williams songs that you can update if and when something does get published?

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On 12/20/2018 at 5:14 PM, The Lost Folio said:

Let's just say that Bespin and I have different perspectives. (A while ago, I actually asked him if he wanted to combine our websites. I let you guess his answer...) I wish there could be a single, extensive website about the different aspects of JW's career.

 

I did my website because I believed it was time for a John Williams bibliography. There are so many lists of works, but I could not find a list of publications. That's what I tried to do with The John Williams Piano Collection. I know not many people here seem to play piano, but I hope the information I provide can be useful to fans as well as archivists, musicologists, and scholars.

 

Bes' website is informative, but it could have been more intuitively organised. 

 

Have you asked @TownerFan if he could include a link to your site from his own site?

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1 hour ago, TownerFan said:

 

I very much agree with this, thank you for writing it so eloquently. This is one of the most interesting (and less studied) aspects of Williams' music. The piano suite "Conversations" is basically an ode to the great black musicians of jazz he admired as a youngster.

 

Of course! I totally forgot about "Conversations". 

 

Let's say due to my background and heritage it's a subject I'm very sensitive to, and it does make me a little sad to see this aspect of his work often get overlooked, as you say. Frankly, I think it is one of _the_ key factors that heaps upon heaps of "imitators" completely fail to grasp, and fall flat as a result. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

Black?

 

Part, though I would never write it on a census or form or anything 'cause I don't look black at all,  and with the whole Rachel Dolezal and all that stuff going on I would rather not stir the pot (but black people have a way of sniffing me out  : P). But also as a jazz musician who's been steeped in and met some of those same people Williams has been enamored with for around half a century. I know there are people here who would school me if I'm wrong about this, but Williams was based in Los Angeles as a professional musician, yeah? The scene was predominantly in New York at the time, but I would love to know if Williams ever got a chance, like Lalo Schifrin, to play with a lot of the legends.

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Williams did play in clubs during his time at Julliard. Maybe he had some gigs with bigger names he admired, though I'm not really sure, and it's a shady area since the recently deceased John Thomas Williams was based around New York during the 50's, being the to-go pianist for Stan Getz.

I do know that our John Towner Williams was a regular at the Copacabana when Vic Damone sung there.

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15 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

I know there are people here who would school me if I'm wrong about this, but Williams was based in Los Angeles as a professional musician, yeah? The scene was predominantly in New York at the time, but I would love to know if Williams ever got a chance, like Lalo Schifrin, to play with a lot of the legends.

 

I think JW got to know several of the great jazzmen of both East and West Coast also through his father, who was a great jazzman himself. I don't think he ever performed together with Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Mingus, or Bill Evans, but probably he saw them in action performing live or in studio.

 

15 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

Let's say due to my background and heritage it's a subject I'm very sensitive to, and it does make me a little sad to see this aspect of his work often get overlooked, as you say. Frankly, I think it is one of _the_ key factors that heaps upon heaps of "imitators" completely fail to grasp, and fall flat as a result.

 

I think some scholars dug into Williams' characteristic jazz-like use of chords and voicings, but there is still a lot more to get into. Yo-Yo Ma also touched upon that briefly during an interview with Tim Greiving:
 

Quote

I think that John has had such a rich musical life, and that he has an unbelievably rich inner life. We don’t get to see it. We don’t get to hear him, necessarily, talking about his rich inner life—but we can hear it. So, I’ve never specifically talked to him about this, but I’ve talked to him about the books he’s read, about the people he’s fascinated by, about the different fields of knowledge that he knows about and that he’s interested in. See, I think just by looking at his actions I would say: the poetry of Langston Hughes, what we owe to the black community for the music that they’ve given all of us, that we profit from—he’s very conscious of that.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

I think JW got to know several of the great jazzmen of both East and West Coast also through his father, who was a great jazzman himself. I don't think he ever performed together with Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Mingus, or Bill Evans, but probably he saw them in action performing live or in studio.

 

He certainly did. He hung out at rehearsals with his dad, with people like Raymond Scott, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. According to his brothers, concerts were also one of the few things that got him out of the house and away from the piano (that, and girls). In Jerry's words:

 

Quote

“As far as going to the beach or bowling or something... no,” said Jerry Williams. “His recreation, his fun and everything else, was always music. If he was going to go out — and we did — we would go to hear a group. He would take me along to hear Oscar Peterson at Sardi’s or something. That was his night out.”

 

As for performing with legends, it depends on your definitions, and within what genres. JW has roughly three 'session musician' periods -- 1) mid 1954 through 1955 (last bit of air force stint+Juilliard days), 2) as 'primary session musician' between 1956-1958 (in LA), and then 3) as 'secondary session musician' (alongside composition gigs for film and tv) between 1958-1965. As you all know, he worked on numerous albums and live gigs in this period, both as pianist and arranger. Some 'medium' names like Marjorie Lee, Yvonne de Carlo, Dave Bell, Frankie Lane, Johnny Desmond, Pete Candoli, and a few "bigger" names like Vic Damone, Mahalia Jackson, Shelley Manne, Ella Fitzgerald (at least she did "Make Me Rainbows").... And then obviously also 'legendary' names in the film world eventually, like Waxman, Bernstein, Goldsmith, Herrmann, Tiomkin, Mancini, Previn, Newman and so on.

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Just now, TownerFan said:

Sure, he performed with a lot of legends. I was referring specifically to the NY jazz scene of the mid-1950s of people like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

 

He did play piano on a Harry Belafonte album in 1955, but that was on a brief 'vacation trip' to LA to continue his affair with Barbara Ruick. And Belafone, although a big name, was not really part of the NY jazz scene in the mid 50s. I don't think he actually worked with many NY-based big jazz names during the Juilliard year. Not that we know of, anyway. I think he mostly went to concerts; perhaps he got to say hello and hang out with them a little bit.

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11 minutes ago, Thor said:

He did play piano on a Harry Belafonte album in 1955, but that was on a brief 'vacation trip' to LA to continue his affair with Barbara Ruick. And Belafone, although a big name, was not really part of the NY jazz scene in the mid 50s. I don't think he actually worked with many NY-based big jazz names during the Juilliard year. Not that we know of, anyway. I think he mostly went to concerts; perhaps he got to say hello and hang out with them a little bit.

 

Yes. However, back to the original point, I think there's bound to be discovered about his fascination with jazz music by black musicians, and how this influenced his own overall approach to music.

 

7 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

On which projects did JW work with G-man?

 

He performed piano on City of Fear and Studs Lonigan. Also, on some of Goldsmith's Twilight Zone episodes, I think.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

(...) Ella Fitzgerald (at least she did "Make Me Rainbows").... 

 

 

The recording of Ella Fitzgerald singing Make me Rainbows was from the a live concert with Count Basie and his orchestra

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Perfect_Match_(Ella_Fitzgerald_album)

 

 

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Yeah, I know, I have it. Not certain they ever worked physically together, even if she recorded his song. But I'd like to think that they knew each other.

 

We should also include Sinatra in this, perhaps, who both worked with JW and knew him personally.

 

I wonder if he ever worked with, or knew personally, the jazz legends he honours in "Conversations".

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Yeah, we were all forgetting about Sinatra. I believe there was a Sinatra concert in the 70's for which Williams served as conductor. Not sure about the venue or anything though.

 

As for the "Conversations" honored artists, I think a couple of them weren't around anymore by the time Williams was born.

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59 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Yeah, we were all forgetting about Sinatra. I believe there was a Sinatra concert in the 70's for which Williams served as conductor. Not sure about the venue or anything though.

 

I would have loved to sit in on the recording sessions of NONE BUT THE BRAVE!

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....or at the very least see or hear a quote from Sinatra talking about JW, whether in relation to this film, the song "The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye" that he never got to perform or any other instance of collaboration or tentative collaboration between the two. Heck, even a photo of the two of them together.

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I was watching Toto new blu ray the other day and in an interview Joseph was talking about his dad being an arranger and bandleader for one gig JW did with Sinatra. An hour before the show Sinatra asked JW to lower the key for one song (doesn't mention which one) - that's probably the reason why there was never a second gig ;-)

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