Sunday, November 11, 2018

22.) Star Eyes

One of my main objectives in this project has been to be true to the melody and the lyrics of the songs I've chosen.  That means that I learn the words even though I'm not singing, and I try to phrase the melody in a way that makes sense with the lyrics.  However, with Star Eyes by Gene de Paul and Don Raye, I don't think I held up that objective so much.  The reason for this is that I had a preconceived idea of the rhythmic feel and tempo I wanted to use, which I thought would fit well into the whole project, but didn't fit so well with the lyrics.  Namely, I wanted to do this tune in a straight eighth feel, like it has often been done by many instrumentalists over the hears.  We used to call it a Latin feel.  I don't know, do we still call it that?  I hadn't done anything with this rhythm feel yet in the project, so I thought it would be a nice change.  And it would provide a little contrast in the body of the recordings, should you decide to listen to them all as a set.  (I've created a 24 Standards YouTube playlist so you can do just that if you want to.)   In fact, most people go to a swing feel on the bridge and the last four bars of the tune, but I felt like keeping the Latin feel throughout the tune so as to maximize the contrast.   There are vocal recordings of the tune that have nice and natural phrasing, but they are slower.  If I had mimicked them, I would have missed out on what drew me to the song to begin with - the contrasting rhythmic feel and tempo.

As you may have noticed, this project has been very ballad heavy.  While I didn't set out to do a project of mostly ballads, I've found them quite a bit nicer to work with - I've got a lot more time in each measure to put it counter melodies and other arrangement ideas.  A challenge when doing faster tunes is hearing what I'm writing at the faster tempo.  I have to simplify.  I think the faster the tempo, the simpler one must be.  Having attempted to keep that in mind for Star Eyes, I still think it sounds a little busy.  Keeping it much simpler would seem a little pointless.  I might as well just improvise an arrangement instead.  This is a big reason for the project being dominated by slow and medium songs.  That and the fact that I just don't like playing fast tunes, especially solo piano.

I had fun working on this one.  Only two more to go!

Technical note:  There is a weird humming feedback on the recording when certain notes and chords are played.  I think it might have had to do with the mic placement.  It sucks, but I didn't want to throw the take out for that reason.  Besides most of you will probably listen to it through your super high fidelity* smart telephone speakers and not notice it.  I tried EQing it out, but I don't know too much of what I'm doing there.  Apologies for the dumb feedback.