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Saturday, May 13, 2023

I Had A Ball - Michel Legrand & Bobby Scott


Think Beautiful

I Had A Ball
Bobby Scott Quartet
With Guest Star Michel Legrand
Arrangements buy Bobby Scott
All Selections Written by Jack Lawrence and Stan Freeman
Mercury Records STEREO SR 60995

From the back cover: What's better than a good Steinway, three first-rate musicians, the added talent of France's great Michel Legrand, a great score from an exciting musical and an empty studio to record in? So far as I'm concerned... nothing!

"I Had A Ball" is the work of two fine talents, lyricist Jack Lawrence and composer-pianist Stan Freeman. (Unfortunately, Mr. Lawrence's lyrics are not heard on this entirely musical album. However, we tried our darnedest to match his thought with our renditions.) Both have great track records in the business. I'm sure most people are familiar with Stan "he-can-do-anything" Freeman. Mr. Lawrence is no such either. It would take this liner note section to list his great songs. suffice it to say that he wrote the lyrics to "Tenderly," "What Will I Tell My Heart" and "All Of Nothing At All," (I'm sure I've left out the best, too!)

The show itself is a ball! What with a Coney Island midway, Buddy Hackett and his talking crystal ball called, appropriately, "Sam"... Richard Kiley and Karen Morrow taking care of the hero and heroine business.. the charm of Luba Lisa, Steve Roland and veteran performer Rosetta LeNoire, you've got a barrel full of entertainment!

We tried to capture the excitement and warmth of the show. To "Think Beautiful," which Rosetta LeNoire does so charmingly in the show, we gave some jazz-waltz wings. Its melody and harmony gyrate ever so delicately. (this is the song in which Miss LeNoire, playing an older and experience woman, counsels Miss Morrow about thinking beautiful and becoming beautiful.)

"The Fickle Finger Of Fate," Done by Mr. Kiley in the show, is a statement about Fate's trickery. Michel Legrand spelled this writer at the piano on this track. His solo is biting and forceful and full of pianistic gems. (the tack piano introduction and ending are, along with the vibe solo, contributed by this writer.)

"Soliloquy" also features Michel at the piano, but this time his style is more in an accompaniment groove. However, he accompanies in an orchestral fashion. He made it very easy for me to play my vibe solo.

The theme "I Had A Ball" we treated like a bouncing ball. Drummer Mickey Roker and bassist Don Payne deserve most of the credit for its buoyant quality. The show is also rich in ballads. "The Other Half Of Me" is probably the most outstanding of them all. (I'm sure by now you have heard Sarah Vaughan's great rendition.) We tried to play it simply so that its melody would tell its story. With a tune such as this one, the less said, arrangement-wise, the better!

With the "Neighborhood Song," we had a great deal of fun. From its Mozart-like beginning right through guitarist Mundell Lowe's bluesy solo, it rolls right on.

If you haven't seen the show itself, I hope our music gives you an idea of what you've missed. If you have seen it, I hope we can enliven the memory of it.

I hope you all Have A Ball with our album. We had a ball making it! – Bobby Scott

The Neighborhood Song
Everything I Want
I Had A Ball
Think Beautiful
Fickle Finger Of Fate
The Other Half Of Me
Addies' At It Again

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