If you were there, you'll know exactly
what the title of this recording is all about. If you
weren't, you're about to find out that "Hearing"
is indeed "Believing." It's all about a musical
journey that started 75 years ago in New York a young
child first sat down at a piano and amazed all those
around him. The journey had begun.
As his playing matured it began to
define itself. There were many directions it could take.
Hal Schaefer chose the world of jazz. Or did it choose
The lure of the New York jazz scene
was beckoning and Hal responded to the call. First with
jazz great Benny Carter. Then came his relationship
with the great Duke Ellington; he was known around town
as Duke's protege. The road was next with Big Bands
such as the highly progressive Boyd Raeburn, Harry James,
Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Hollywood was Hal's next stop where
he composed and arranged music for films. The work became
legendary; Marilyn Monroe's show-stopping Diamonds
are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer
Blondes, Judy Garland's incredible vocal performances
in A Star is Born.
A return to New York brought with it
a stint as a guiding hand for the new United Artists
record label, doing arrangements for Boradway (Sondheim's
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)
and a faculty position at New York University's School
of Music Jazz Studies Department. All during this period,
Hal continued to perform in jazz clubs throughout the
city settling in to "homebase" at Greene Street
in SoHo. In the building that housed the famous club,
Hal had his own studio where he became a much sought-after
vocal coach. Among his students was the eager Barbra
Streisand who told Hal she just knew she would be a super
Hal and his wife Brenda moved to Florida
in 1993 where Hal continues to teach singing. He was
widowed in 2000 and in 2002 came to Insight for the
Blind as a volunteer producer/director in our recording
studios. This is Hal's fourth benefit concert for Insight
and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.
From the opening notes of the lilting
Almost Like Being in Love through the haunting
"Yesterdays and the technically dazzling
Fascinating Rhythm, "Hearing" will
definitely be "Believing" that Hal's musical
journal spanning 75 yers has been a journey that has
benefited all those who have taken joy in his creativity
and talent. Thank you, Hal!
The journey continues...
Harry C. Sharp
Insight for the Blind