The very sad news of 20th Century songwriter Burt Bacharach’s death at 94 has resonated strongly in the past few days. Born in Kansas City in 1928, the youthful Bacharach who resided in Kew Gardens, Queens in the 1940s regularly ventured into Manhattan to check out the innovative beboppers of the day.
This would have a lasting influence on his music: the melodies and harmonies of many of his songs were attractive not just to singers such as Diana Krall, Keely Smith, Jack Jones and Frank Sinatra but also to jazz instrumentalists: Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman and McCoy Tyner come to mind. Songs like A House Is Not A Home, Alfie, Wives And Lovers, What The World Needs Now and One Less Bell To Answer among many others, have been covered by a legion of jazz musicians.
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Two recordings which I treasure in particular are the 1968 LP “What The World Needs Now- Stan Getz Plays Bacharach and David” (arranged by Claus Ogerman) and McCoy Tyner’s 1997 CD “The Music of Burt Bacharach”. Along with Tyner’s piano were bassist, Christian McBride and Lewis Nash on drums with a full symphony orchestra. arranged by John Clayton. A youthful looking (70 years young) Bacharach attended the session.
A great and innovative musical icon has written his last stanza and I’m sure that jazz artists and arrangers will carry his music on into the future.
Frank Griffith is a saxophonist and arranger based in Liverpool.. His weekly jazz radio show, The Jazz Cavern, can be heard on Thursdays at 9PM (UK time) on www.mykindamusic24.com.