Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column -William Price King – Summer Jazz – Roberta Flack The Finale


Welcome to the Summer Jazz Season where we revisit some of the amazing artists featured at the beginning of the music column back in 2015. William Price King will be taking a break from July 5th until September, but we don’t want you to miss out on the music.

This week is the last post in the Roberta Flack story with William Price King but it is definitely not the end of the story as this wonderful artist continues to perform occasionally.

I will hand over to William who has selected some of Roberta Flack’s quotes about life and music and we feature some of her live performances through the years of well loved songs.

‘Remember: Always walk in the light. And if you feel like you’re not walking in it, go find it. Love the light’

The first of the live performances is a track that was originally released on Roberta Flack’s ninth album Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway performed here with another favourite collaborator Peabo Bryson You Are My Heaven written by Stevie Wonder and Eric Mercury.

Having become established in the business and achieved recognition from fellow artists and also her legion of fans, Roberta Flack was able to take advantage of her increasing global fame. She moved into a new home in the famous Dakota apartment building in New York City which was also home to some of the biggest names in entertainment including Judy Garland and Leonard Bernstein.

This next live performance is Bridge Over Troubled Water written by Simon & Garfunkel for their 1970 studio album of the same name. The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971 and has been covered many times by the top names in the music business.

‘As musicians, and as people who sell material for people to hear and absorb, it’s important that we use that voice wisely’

Roberta found herself living next door to John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. She said that on one occasion she heard him playing Imagine through the wall of the apartment. Although not in the building on the day of his murder in 1980 she later said this of their relationship.

I was very upset — and still am — by his untimely murder.”. “John and I were buddies. It was hard not to recognize him because he was so profound.”

She continues to live in the building to this day.

‘My hope is that out of all the anger and seeming hostility that we hear in some of today’s music will come some sort of coalition that will become politically involved’.

The song Oasis written by Marcus Miller and Mark Stephens was from Roberta’s 1982 solo album of newly recorded songs I’m The One.

The album releases in the 90s included Stop The World 1992, Roberta 1994 and The Christmas Album in 1997

Further acclaim for her music came in the form of recognition on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999. The same year Roberta toured South Africa, performing for President Nelson Mandela.

1999 also saw the release of her album Friends: Roberta Flack sings Mariko Takahashi a Japanese singer/songwriter and musician.

In 2003 there was a second Christmas album titled Holiday

After a recording gap of 8 years Roberta paid tribute to John Lennon and the Beatles with her album Let It Be Roberta

Here is Roberta with an acoustic version of Let it Be written by Paul McCartney. It was released in 1970 and was the final single by The Beatles before Paul left the group.

‘So see every opportunity as golden, and keep your eyes on the prize – yours, not anybody else’s’.

And finally Why don’t You Move In With Me written by Gene McDaniels was from Roberta’s sixth album Blue Lights In The Basement released in late 1977. The album would reach No 8 in the Billboard 200 and No 5 in the R&B Albums chart.

‘One of the primary qualities of a good performance is honesty’.

Buy Roberta Flack’s music: http://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Flack/e/B000APXOJE

Additional sources
http://www.robertaflack.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Flack_discography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Flack

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

Thank you for tuning in today and I hope you will join us again next Tuesday for the next series when we follow the career of Diana Krall –  Thanks Sally and William.

 

 

 

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Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Part Three – The 1960s


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Last week we left Tony Bennett at the end of the 1950s enjoying a great career and working with some of the best in the business. However, the music industry in the 1960s was evolving and Pop, Rock and Country were making their presence felt in the charts. Jazz would never go out of fashion but the new generation of fans were being entertained with the magic of television and a wider choice of music radio stations. Tough competition for all the major and established artists, and in particularly those who were approaching their 40s.

I will hand you over to William Price King to take you through the next ten years.

Tony Bennett believed in quality; not only for his recorded material that was released but in his live performances. In 1962, with a great deal of publicity and promotion, Tony took to the stage at Carnegie Hall. Previously he had often performed seven shows a day beginning at 10.30 in the morning until late into the night. But this concert was a mammoth undertaking, featuring 44 songs including his many hits and fan favourites such as I’ve Got The World On A String. Apart from the energy and stamina needed to perform that many songs to Tony’s exacting standards, he must have been grateful for the Bel Canto technique that he had mastered as a young singer. I covered this technique in the first post in the series and you can read more about it here. Tony Bennett Part One.

I’ve Got The World On A String was written in 1932 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and had previously been recorded by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Uploaded by swan2612

The concert at Carnegie Hall was a huge success and reinforced his place in the hearts of his fans both at home and internationally. Tony had already been on television in the 50s which had enabled him to reach a much wider audience, and in 1962 he was asked to sing on the initial broadcast of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

For most of us who are Tony Bennett fans, the song I Left My Heart In San Francisco is probably the one that will always be associated with his particular vocal style and performance. He released it in 1962 and it would spend a year in different charts and reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 providing Tony with plenty of exposure. The album of the same title however, did even better reaching the top 5 in the charts and going gold. The title track won a Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance and became Tony Bennett’s signature song. Eventually it would rank 23rd in the world as the most historically significant songs of the 20th century.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco was written by George Cory and Douglass Cross in 1953 and eventually acquired by Ralph Sharon who was Tony’s accompanist and happened to be friends with the composers. Ironically the song was released at the B-side of Once Upon A Time but the radio DJs began flipping the record over to play!

In 1963 Tony released the album I Wanna Be Around which also reached the top five of the charts and both the title track and The Good Life reached the top 20 of the pop singles chart. However 1964 brought what is known as the British Invasion which included The Beatles, reinforcing the movement towards more rock in the charts.

Tony Bennett was faced with the challenge of maintaining a pop and jazz presence in the changing music scene. He released a number of albums in the next following two years including The Many Moods Of Tony, When The Lights Are Low, Who Can I Turn To in 1964, If I Ruled The World: Songs For The Jet Set in 1965 and The Movie Song Album and A Time For Love in 1966. The Movie Song Album did reasonably well at number 18 in the charts in the US, but the other albums did not perform as well.

His did have a top-40 single in 1965 with If I Ruled The World which reached number 34. Tony decided to expand his popularity into acting and featured in The Oscar in 1966 which was an experience that he neither enjoyed nor repeated. In 1965 along with many artists, Tony participated in the ‘Selma to Montgomery Marches and as a firm believer in the American Civil Rights Movement, he refused to perform in South Africa.

The 60s were to be professionally and personally difficult time for Tony Bennett. His successful collaboration with Ralph Sharon ended in 1965 as did his first marriage to Patricia. I don’t tend to focus on the personal lives of the musical artists that we feature, but I think it is important to acknowledge that the frequent and extended road trips that a performer makes to stay in the public eye, and the distractions that accompany that; put a strain on the strongest of relationships.

Musically there was a rush by the recording companies with artists such as Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and others who were more pop and jazz performers to integrate themselves with the new rock culture. This resulted in some ill-conceived projects that rarely did the performers any favours, including the album Tony Sings The Great Hits of Today in 1970. The experience was not a happy one for Tony and eventually resulted in a parting of the ways from Columbia Records in 1972 and a new chapter in Tony Bennett’s career and personal life.

Despite the disappointment of the later 1960s, I thought it would be a good idea to remind us all of what Tony Bennett fans think about his music. After all, at the end of the day, they are the ones who buy the records.

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A Timeless Classic!! By Beverly Praiswater on December 18, 2006

Tony Bennett’s music transcends all generations. This album is full of his finest classics from the 60’s.

The opening cut is the title song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. Nobody could match this version of this song. “Once Upon A Time” is heartfelt and full of pathos. “Tender Is The Night” is a glorious ballad with a haunting finale. Tony pulls out all of the stops as he builds the jazzy “Love For Sale”. “Taking A Chance On Love” is upbeat with a rousing classic “Tony” vocal. The finale “The Best Is Yet To Come” is a tour de force celebration!

This album became a Gold Record (there was no platinum in those days) and was on the best seller charts for 2-1/2 years! Need I say more?

Sometimes your parents did know best By Patricia Beninato VINE VOICE on April 8, 2000

As I’m only 33, a lot of people laugh when they see this CD in my collection (particularly among the Def Leppard and Live CD’s!). My mother adored Tony Bennett, and his greatest hits collection was a perennial feature in the car and home 8-track players. I’ve always loved this record–Tony had (and still does have) an incredible voice, and the songs featured here are the crème de la crème of pop songwriting in the 40’s and 50’s, including the immortal “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and my two personal favorites, “Rags To Riches” and “Just In Time”. Of course, having to be “cool” as a teenager I denied Tony for many years. So laugh away if you want, kids–this album rocks in the truest sense of the word! Long live Tony Bennett!

Buy Tony Bennett Music: http://www.amazon.com/Tony-Bennett/e/B000APGV7G

For a last performance from the 1960s here is The Good Life. Originally La Belle Vie and written and released by French singer Sacha Distel in 1962, it would become better known following the recording by Tony Bennett in 1963; reaching No 18 in the US Pop singles charts and No 27 in the UK charts. Uploaded by justinpow

About William Price King.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album.http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We would love to have your feedback and also your help in spreading the post around social media for us. We hope you will join us next week for part three of Tony Bennett’s story.  Thanks for stopping by.. Sally