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#266455 - 10/24/14 02:39 AM [User Showcase] LUSH LIFE
aleck rand Offline
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Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
This was one of the first tunes I did when I joined the Forum; a foolhardy decision.

Granting my ignorance of how to use BIAB, I tried doing the song in the traditional key (Db) which was too high for my old Bourbon-cured voice.

Later, I found the right key, better re-harmonization, and I learned what mixing was.

Now the decision to re-do this most difficult American classic doesn't seem so foolhardy. Take that with a grain of salt, since I'm obsessed with

...............................Lush Life

Hybrid style: RealTracks electric piano (SmoothJazzBallad)
Midi strings from DRAMORK.sty

Guitar, bass, vocal, arrangement: Aleck Rand
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#266468 - 10/24/14 09:37 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 6149
Loc: Florida
Dean,

Your guitar work on this is nice. The backing tracks are nice. The strings would benefit from a little work - combining some notes that are in common from one chord to the next (more like what strings do). I often add the cello RT under something like this (low, so it is "just perceptible") which provides some realism (with it's bowing and movement). The piano and drums work well. And a very well recorded vocal - smokey...

The mix is very good.

Enjoyable.

floyd
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#266478 - 10/24/14 11:53 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 2986
Loc: Iceland
Always a joy to hear your tunes, such a pro quality to them.
I second the strings observation already mentioned. I'm thinking perhaps a high single note progression in places on top, just to 'elevate' the arrangement.
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#266480 - 10/24/14 12:23 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2363
Loc: Sacramento, California
Wow... you don't really go for simple songs, do you? wink

It's a nice listen, thanks for posting.
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My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#266529 - 10/24/14 10:31 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: floyd jane]
aleck rand Offline
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Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Floyd,

Interesting comments. No one ever finishes this song. This is the one that made Sinatra walk out of the studio. There is a famous pianist/singer named Andy Bey who has recorded it 50 (fifty) times.

Not only did I try to sing it (and you are only the most recent to refer to my 'smokey' voice - everyone uses that word) but I also radically reshaped the chords (reharm).

I've found that a project like this uses up so much energy that there is a threshold beyond which you can make no further improvements, even when, like your own suggestions, they would be valuable and you even want to do it.

Always happy to get your insights, even when I'm past the Drop Dead Point.

Dean

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#266531 - 10/24/14 10:47 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: dcuny]
aleck rand Offline
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Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Hi David,

Ha! I got a chuckle out of that. You have no idea, but it would be worth reading my reply to Floyd's comments.

The definitive rendition of this song is almost universally attributed to Johnny Hartman (in his iconic recording with John Coltrane), which you can find on YouTube. But the chord changes are the traditional ones. So, I climbed out on not one, but two limbs: Just trying to sing it and then having the gall to deconstruct Billy Strayhorn's harmonies.

Dean

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#266543 - 10/25/14 12:28 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2363
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: aleck rand
You have no idea, but it would be worth reading my reply to Floyd's comments.

I read the comments - thanks for the information.

These progression are (currently) beyond my lazy listening skills, and I'm impressed that you've got the ability to redo the harmonies and sing it. sick
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My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#266549 - 10/25/14 03:35 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
gibson Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: wales
Dean,
dcuny said
Quote:
Wow... you don't really go for simple songs, do you?


As 2 have already pointed out it is extremely hard to make strings sound authentic. A combo of floyd's and icelanders ideas seem good to me. But they always take a long time to get right and I haven't succeeded yet. The chord track in BIAB is always a good place to deconstruct and use for strings.

Anyway I enjoyed that

Alyn
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#266578 - 10/25/14 09:56 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
boehm Offline
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Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 2868
Loc: Karlsruhe, Germany
Hi Dean,

it's a pity we have no access to the old version to compare.
This is a great performance. Vocals and guitar make it unique.

Guenter
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#266615 - 10/25/14 05:24 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 6095
Loc: GA USA
Smokey voice, smokey arrangement and
conjures up images of a smokey venue in
the 40's. Strayhorn if I recall? Janice just
mentioned to me that John Coltrane did a
great version.

We enjoyed the spin!

J&B
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#266683 - 10/26/14 10:14 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Al-David Offline
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Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 3243
Loc: Alabama, USA
Hi Dean ..

I (Alan) loved this! i work very hard at chord structure and arrangement. Listening to you is like getting a free lesson from one of the best. This a wonderful tune and arrangement. what a fabulous listen ... my ears are still smiling!

I did a lot Jazz with fairly complicated chords a few years back. I really enjoyed them. But, I've not yet migrated many of them over to BIAB ... they were done on another, far inferior, software program. Perhaps I'll play around with one or two and post them.

Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!

Alan & Di
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#266685 - 10/26/14 10:37 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4523
Loc: South Carolina
Outstanding performance. Loved your guitar work. Everything about this is nice.

Charlie
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#266686 - 10/26/14 10:48 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Sundance Offline
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Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 4220
I'll second B&J - like that "smokey" sound and feel this has. Like listening in a jazz club on Bourbon street.


Josie
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#266702 - 10/27/14 09:06 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
tommyad Offline
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Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2797
Loc: Florida
Dean, This is an encyclopedia of jazz guitar passing chords. Just beautiful reharm on the opening chords. The lead guitar is also beautiful with the combination of single note lines and sliding octaves ala Wes Montgomery. Let's not forget the outstanding vocal that sets the mood for the whole piece. Definitely my favorite vocal of yours. Mix sounds terrific. Great production. Tom

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#266735 - 10/27/14 04:38 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: aleck rand]
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4171
Loc: Davis, CA
Love it Dean!! I know the title but I don't believe I've heard the song before. Really nice job. Bourbon may be hard on the liver, and cigarettes on the lungs but they both do cool things to the voice (think of Nat King Cole). Really dug this!! Take care. Greg

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#266765 - 10/27/14 09:28 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: boehm]
aleck rand Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Hi Guenter,

In my haste, I neglected to direct Forum members to what is universally considered the definitive version of Lush Life. It's the one by the American singer, the late Johnny Hartman, who did it with John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner in their iconic recording of 1964. I'm listening to it now ... uh boy, I can't even begin to touch this guy, to say nothing of his band mates. Here's Coltrane now. Damn, I've had enough.

So, part of this may have been subconscious. I may have worried that after listening to the matchless Johnny Hartman no one would go on to listen to me!

Well, for better or worse, here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d6_LUDa_Zw

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#266766 - 10/27/14 09:33 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: Janice & Bud]
aleck rand Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Originally Posted By: aleck rand


In my haste, I neglected to direct Forum members to what is universally considered the definitive version of Lush Life. It's the one by the American singer, the late Johnny Hartman, who did it with John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner in their iconic recording of 1964. I'm listening to it now ... uh boy, I can't even begin to touch this guy, to say nothing of his band mates. Here's Coltrane now. Damn, I've had enough.

So, part of this may have been subconscious. I may have worried that after listening to the matchless Johnny Hartman no one would go on to listen to me!

Well, for better or worse, here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d6_LUDa_Zw


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#266768 - 10/27/14 09:45 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: tommyad]
aleck rand Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Tommy - you are beyond kind. Just dazzled by your reaction.

You must be a busy guy these days because I was sure I'd hook you with my Call for Mighty Burners, i.e., for 3 soloists to play 6 choruses of the blues behind my B3 backup. That post sunk like a stone off the front page with not a single taker. I was able to get one solo out of MarioD by a PM, but that post was sufficiently discouraging that I just threw in the towel.

Mario, if you happen to be reading this, I appreciate the effort you made but, in this case, it took three to tango.

Dean

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#266867 - 10/29/14 02:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: tommyad]
MarioD Online   content
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11332
Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: tommyad
Dean, This is an encyclopedia of jazz guitar passing chords. Just beautiful reharm on the opening chords. The lead guitar is also beautiful with the combination of single note lines and sliding octaves ala Wes Montgomery. Let's not forget the outstanding vocal that sets the mood for the whole piece. Definitely my favorite vocal of yours. Mix sounds terrific. Great production. Tom


I couldn't say it any better.

I would like to know what guitar, amp or amp simulator and recording techniques you used on this to get that great Johnny Smith sound.
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#267112 - 11/01/14 11:46 AM [User Showcase] Re: LUSH LIFE [Re: MarioD]
aleck rand Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 958
Mario -

Thank you kindly. Now, I've owned a lot of "boutique" guitars: D'Aquisto, Benedetto, Campellone. But the sound I get on this tune uses the best guitar I ever played: My Gretsch Synchromatic played through a Vox Valvetronix directly into my Tascam audio interface. Gretsch used to have a terrible reputation, but since they started building guitars in Japan they've been building great instruments. And unsurpassed by my Gretsch are a few Ibanez jazz boxes. For my money, Ibanez is building the best guitars for the money ever. I just got one of their new fretless basses. Man, what a sound it's got with two Bartollini's plus Piezo tailpiece pickup.

Dean

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