You Are The Music
I can remember writing this song like it was yesterday. I lived on a road just off Government Street in Baton Rouge in a little one-bedroom house (most would call it a shack but to me it was my castle of solitude). In the small living room was my Kawai piano so now I could spend many hours in my private world.
It was a cold and rainy day in Louisiana around Christmas time, and as I was playing the piano, I could feel myself beginning to go into write mode. I felt the unseen audience that surrounded me. I consider this simple and personal song an entry to my Musical Journal.
We could attach many meanings to the images that live in this song but mostly it was a moment of joy for the gratefulness I felt in my solitude, but also of never feeling alone.
I wouldn’t call it a musical composition. It’s more of a musical conversation. I remember playing on and on to the unseen audience in the studio. Call it my imagination but I know it fed me. Or we spoke to each other in a musical language. It’s like my fingers moved but I was part of the the audience. I had some unseen force guiding me and what I heard was for the first time like I was sitting in the first row of the auditorium. It wasn’t perfect but it was honest.
As I studied the piece over time I removed some of the phrases (The art of modern equipment) but of the ten or so minutes probably only 30 seconds were edited out.
To this day I have no idea what notes were played and couldn’t repeat any of it (nor would I want to try). Time seems to tell the truth and as I listened I began to feel I had a personal treasure. I then asked my good friend Jason Gaines to create a pictorial for it (He’s so awesome) and thus “Dreamesque, a Journey to the Stars.”
Next We Take Manhattan
Intro by Geoffrey Gompers
Those were the reasons
That was New York
We were running for the music and the song
And it was wonderful
And we honored Leonard
And his hand reunited one more time
At the Knitting Factory in Soho
And we toured New York, by bus, train, and boat
And we visited the Chelsea Hotel
And Leonard’s old college dorm
And it was great
But the memories once vibrant
Fade like smoke above our shoulders
John Bergeron and Bryn Davies Beautiful pictorial and music accompaniment crystallize again the New York Cohen Event in picture and sound.
How we honored Cohen on the event of his 70th birthday.
This pictorial-video is an artistic and poignant presentation that captures those moments and allows us to once again relive the joy that was.
It was in New York in the fall of 1966 that Cohen’s singing career was launched. It was the summer of 2004 when the beautiful losers returned and once again took Manhattan.
A Tribute to Ray Charles
In 2004, during the weekend I performed at and participated in “Next we take Manhattan” in NY, Ray Charles passed away. Every two years there is an international gathering to celebrate the music and life of Leonard Cohen. I was asked to play at the Knitting Factory during the concert portion of the event and stayed on throughout the weekend to interact with the participants and enjoy the celebration. I must say I had a wonderful time.
But the joy of the weekend had a sorrowful element – the passing of Ray Charles. I had a number of music teachers as I grew up and developed my musicality on the piano. And they guided me, nurtured me, got me to practice and gave timelessly to my effort (for which I am eternally grateful).
But as time passed and I developed my musical style I tend to say that Bill Evans and Ray Charles taught me to play the piano. I listened to them so much as I developed that their styles helped form mine. I was drawn to them. They both spoke to me in a very different way and touched me immensely. Anyway, when I got back to Connecticut and had some time to myself on Monday I had a chance to process Ray’s passing and was so touched I started playing and reflecting on the influence this man that I never met had on me. And the deep emotion he summoned from me.
Out came this “Tribute to Ray Charles.” start to finish with no edits. I then asked Jason Gaines to create a pictorial to celebrate the joy he brought to so many. And to thank Ray for the deep effect he had on me.
Where the Sailors Go
A song for dreamers with a happy ending. Maybe the happy ending only happens in the dream. Maybe reality is blurred by what is real in a dream. Maybe life in the dream has a beauty that reality can only dream of. And maybe what is real needs the dream to ease the truth of reality.