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Featured Album

Boogie Bistro

Terrence Farrell   *   Guitarist


Watch and listen to Gershwin Medley:

Listen to MP3 samples:
  Cavatina  Stanley Myers     Classical Gas  Mason Williams
  Rhapsody in Blue  (from Gershwin Medley) George Gershwin
  Introduction et Serenade pour Django Pierre Lerich

   1.  Take Five  Paul Desmond
  2. Satin Doll  Johnny Mercer, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington
  3. Take The A Train  Billy Strayhorn
  4. Caravan  Irving Mills, Juan Tizol, Duke Ellington
  5. As Time Goes By  Herman Hupfeld
  6. Introduction et Serenade pour Django  Pierre Lerich
  7. Guitar Boogie   (arr.) Guy Van Duser
8.  Misty  Erroll Garner  
9.  The Entertainer  Scott Joplin   
10.  West Side Story Suite (I Feel Pretty, Maria, Everything's Free in America)  Leonard Bernstein  
11.  Cavatina  Stanley Myers  
12.  Classical Gas  Mason Williams  
13. Gershwin Medley (Rhapsody in Blue, Summertime, It Ain't Necessarily So, Bess You Is My Woman, Reprise)  George Gershwin  

I started the guitar at the age of eight after hearing a classmate of mine play a Hawaiian guitar at a school "Show and Tell". That in itself is a story, but let it suffice to say that my enthusiasm was such that by the time I was nine I also wanted to play in the school orchestra. My parents said I'd have to play a school instrument since they weren't going to buy me another one. There began my second love ... the string bass. The following year we moved to a different part of the country where there was no school orchestra ... but a marching band! Well, it is difficult to march with a string bass, so I marched with a tuba. The carrot being ... that if I played tuba for the marching band, the school would let me play string bass in the swing dance band!

Many years later, the guitar and swing music finally came together for me during tours for the United States State Department. Up to that point my performing career was as a classical guitarist (albeit with an eclectic repertoire). When invited to perform for the State Department it was "suggested" that a strong American accent be added to my program. After all, the idea of the State Department's "Arts America" program is to promote the American experience. Then came the opportunity for me to put together a program of some of my favorites with jazz standards.

When reviewing the music included here, several incidental memories come to mind. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it took years before I knew that Take Five was not written by Dave Brubeck, but by Paul Desmond. Caravan, which is not played as often today as other famous swing pieces, was the biggest hit of the Duke Ellington band. Take the "A" Train is the only song dedicated to a subway. The plaintive Misty was written by the fabulous Errol Garner who couldn't read music. Scott Joplin was very proud of the fact he was one of the few African American musicians of his generation who could read music.

On a tour of Japan for the State Department, performing the Entertainer on live television for five million people was quite an experience. I didn't botch the job and looked like I was having fun ... in fact, I was petrified! In retrospect, I am grateful not to have been forewarned any sooner than the day before!

I love the music of the Hot Club de France and am grateful to a Chinese guitarist friend who introduced me to Introduction et Serenade pour Django, a work dedicated to that great French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

I believe urban America music of the "jazz" era is epitomized by the music of George Gershwin, in particular his work Rhapsody in Blue. If any piece can give you a sense of New York at its frantic best, that's it. In the same way Summertime, Bess You Is My Woman, and It Ain't Necessarily So from Gershwin's last major work Porgy and Bess (although a glossy portrayal of the African American experience) was the first major work to explore the "roots" of jazz and to give it a big venue, Broadway.

When I was a kid learning the classical guitar in the 60's, one Sunday night while watching the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour with my parents, we were treated to a guitarist playing what became one of the most popular instrumental works of the decade, Classical Gas. Ten years later another "new" classical guitar work was used in the movie The Deer Hunter. A great piece of music, Cavatina is one of those rare works that can speak of regret and at the same time of that very elusive quality, hope.

A favorite for me to perform for foreign audiences is Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. It speaks of the American experience with the difficulties emigrants have in a new country, combined with the story of Romeo and Juliet; it is truly an American classic. I performed this on tour in Japan when the yen was going through the ceiling and the dollar was going through the floor. The audience was delighted that Everything's Free in America.


P.S. Of course it is well known that Humphrey Bogart did not say, "play it again Sam" in my favorite movie Casablanca. It's a good thing we don't forget everything... As Time Goes By...

Terrence Farrell  

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