Something to Live For

11 03 2011

Something to Live For—Billy Strayhorn, 1939 (Recorded March 11, 2011) Wikipedia sez that Strayhorn began working on this piece in 1933 when he was 18 years of age, before he ever met Duke Ellington. The young Strayhorn found his way into the Duke Ellington band and became an essential ingredient for Ellington and his musical efforts, working at the master’s side as an arranger, pianist, and co-composer. Sir Duke said this of his protégé, known affectionately by the band as “Sweet Pea”: “Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine.”

I recorded this tune in pieces and knitted the chunks together via the magic of digital audio mixing software. It’s a funny thing: this is the kind of song (and there are a number like this on my list) that I could sit in my easy chair and rip through without hesitation, but once I get in front of the microphone for recording, I make one stupid mistake after another. There’s something about setting up in front of a microphone getting ready to record that is akin to a writer staring at a blank sheet of paper, I think. You get nervous and goof things up and draw a blank and think hard about giving up the whole enterprise. At any rate, this cut came out OK after all, so here it is.



2 responses

11 03 2011
Curt Sheller

Great version. Really nice accompaniment.

I know about that little red recording light. Seems to change things.

12 03 2011
Patsy Monteleone

Thanks for stopping by, Curt. Yeah, sometimes that “little red light” is like having someone standing over your shoulder while you’re taking a test!

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