Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gene Lees

What the video post below doesn't say it that the lyrics for "Waltz for Debby" were written by Canadian Jazz Great, Gene Lees, who has passed away at the age of 82.

"In her own small world,
Captivated by dolls and clowns and a Prince and big purple bear,
Lives my favorite girl,
Unaware of the worried frowns that her weary parents all wear..."

I have a particular fondness for this song.

Whenever I am walking or driving to a speaking engagement or performance gig of any kind, part of my warm-up routine includes singing this piece. When I do, always think of my beautiful daughter, Catherine.

Tony Bennett recorded the tune with Bill Evans and it is way beyond great.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Gene on the radio a few thousand years ago and he was, in addition to being a fount of jazz lore & info, a lovely and charming guy.

When he wasn't being the editor of "Down Beat," or writing books about jazz greats, or a thousand and one other tasks, Lees wrote the English lyrics for a few little pieces, like Jobim's "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars."

We've lost a good one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like yourself, hearing Waltz for Debby makes me think of my daughter and brings a tear to my eye.