A Swingin' Sunday Afternoon with the Hal Schaefer Trio
Special Guest Artist Marion Cowings
2005

A Swingin' Sunday Afternoon with the Hal Schaefer Trio and Special Guest Artist Marion Cowings

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Insight for the Blind Benefit Concert

Hal Schaefer, piano; Paul Shewchuk, bass; Larry Marshall, drums
Special Guest: Marion Cowings

1. Thou Swell: Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart 9. All The Things You Are: Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II
2. Georgia On My Mind: Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell 11. Too Marvelous for Words: Johnny Mercer/Richard Whiting
3. Besame Mucho: Sunny Skylar/Consuelo Valazquez 12. Body and Soul: Johnny W. Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour/Frank Eyton
4. You'd Be So Easy To Love: Cole Porter 13. When You Wish Upon a Star: Leigh Harline/Ned Washington
5. Hello Young Lovers: Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II 14. I'm Old Fashioned: Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer
6. Strange As It Seems: Hal Schaefer/Brenda Schaefer 15. My Foolish Heart: Victor Young/Ned Washington
7. On the Street Where You Live: Alan Lerner/Fredrick Loewe 16. I Yield the Grave for Thy Sake: Hal Schaefer/Elizabeth Barrett Browning
8. A Brief Announcement: Hal Schaefer 17. The Best Things in Life Are Free: Buddy DeSylva/Lew Brown/Ray Henderson

liner notes

The Art of Jazz . . .

When it's done right, it's like looking over Van Gogh's shoulder as he paints a canvas. Bright colors, traces of darkness, unbounded joy and touch of sadness.

We're talking about improvisational jazz, and a very special afternoon.

There were no arrangements. The only thing approaching organization was a list of song titles on a yellow lined legal pad and suggested keys in which to play them.

After that, it was simply a blank canvas and some incredible talent.

Hal Schaefer has been doing this for a long time. While still in his teens, he was known around his native New York as Duke Ellington's protege. He toured with big bands in the 40's and ended up in Los Angeles in the middle of the progressive jazz scene. Some of the bands he worked with included Benny Carter, Harry James, Boyd Raeburn and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.

Hal worked at 20th Century Fox composing and arranging film music and developed a speciality of teaching actors to sing. His most noted effort was coaching Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He arranged Marilyn Monroe's show-stopping Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.

Hal returned to New York in the 60's and became the first A&R (Artists and Repertoire) man for the fledgling United Artists Record Company. In addition, he wrote radio and TV jingles, dance arrangements for Broadway shows (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) performed in jazz clubs - home base was Green Street in SoHo - and was a sought-after vocal coach. He was also a faculty member of New York University's School of Music Jazz Studies Department for several years.

He moved to Florida in 1992 with his beloved wife Brenda and continued to teach singing. Widowed in 2000, Hal was introduced to Insight for the Blind by one of his vocal students, Gwen Lai, in 2002 and continues working in our studios as a producer/director/engineer (Monitor). In 2004 Hal played his first benefit concert for Insight for the Blind and it was an unqualified success.

This year's effort proved the same and more with the addition of Marion Cowings, a long time friend of Hal's and one of the great jazz singers of our time.

When you hear Marion's rendering of Hal and Brenda Schaefer's Strange As It Seems, you'll be transported to a smoky jazz club at 2 in the morning . . . My Foolish Heart has never been done better . . . the rousing finish to the concert, The Best Things in Life are Free is filled with the creative joy of great artists having fun and listen carefully to Marion's rendering of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's I Yield the Grave for Thy Sake - timeless words set to a stunning melody by Hal Schaefer.

Besame Mucho showcases the talents of bassist Paul Shewchuk. Originally from Canada and now part of the Florida jazz scene, Paul has worked with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ira Sullivan, Larry Elgar and Melton Mustafa to name a few. He is an "in-demand" bass player and a favorite of Hal's. This is his second concert for Insight for the Slind.

Listen to the drum breaks throughout the recording and you'll hear the artistry of Larry Marshall. Larry is currently touring with Alan Harris, Othello Milineaux and Kevin Mahogany. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Larry has an established reputation and was recipient of "Best New Artist" and "Best of Philadelphia" Awards.

Four incredible talents, a sunny Florida afternoon, a very worthy cause and an audience that understood and appreciated what was happening on stage. It doesn't get any better than that!

Harry C. Sharp
Jazz Host, WLRN FM, Miami

Copyright Hal Schaefer, All rights reserved