Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My appreciation for the beauty of original songwriters sometimes arrives through the stylistic interpretation of other artists.
A singer and songwriter that I treasure is Laura Nyro. I have written about her artistic impact several times on this music blog. This morning I happened upon a soulful music blog post, “Remembering Laura Nyro” by Richard Williams. It put me in touch with jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs.
Billy Childs received a Grammy award for Best Arrangement Instrumental and Vocals for the choice, “New York Tendaberry”. The track features cellist Yo-Yo Ma, classical soprano Renee Fleming and Billy on piano.
Map To The Treasure, Reimagining Laura Nyro is a polished work. I like that Billy Childs and Larry Klein were painstaking in their choices of Laura Nyro’s songs. The album delves into classic hits and deeper tracks. Its a smart contrast that enhances the listener’s knowledge of Laura Nyro’s genius.
I discovered The Christine Spero Group by hyperlink very close after reading Richard William’s blog post. I was reviewing Steve Katz’s tour dates when I noticed that Steve Katz would be joining Christine Spero at My Father’s Place (Page One Restaurant) on Glen Cove, Long Island to perform the music of Laura Nyro on Friday April 10, 2015.
I thought about the Blood, Sweat and Tears album and their interpretation of Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die”. I had my synchronicity.
“Christine Spero and I shared a bill at the new Towne Crier in Beacon NY. I knew that Christine was doing a tribute to my old friend Laura Nyro, but I wasn’t prepared for just how amazing Christine’s performance turned out to be. She was able to channel Laura with all the feeling and intelligence that the music warranted, but, at the same time, made Laura’s music her own. A delightful evening all around – one that I hope will be repeated often.” – Steve Katz
We watched the HBO Special last night, the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The show was taped at the Cleveland Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on April 14th. It was a very entertaining and well-coordinated event. I like that it was held in a huge arena in Cleveland because it allowed many more fans to attend than the annual event at the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom permits.
I wanted to watch this event primarily out of respect for Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys who had passed away on Friday. It was a sharp contrast to just see the two Beastie Boys approach the podium and accept their induction award. They read a message from Adam, MCA who was too ill to attend. It really reached my heart what he wrote for them both. So sad to lose MCA as we did.
Highlights of the event:
John Mellencamp inducting Donovan. I loved the enthusiasm John Mellencamp expressed for Donovan. Mellencamp brought with him to the podium his personal copy of Donovan’s vinyl album, Fairytale which I dug seeing him do.Donovan’s induction has been way over due.
Bette Midler inducting Laura Nyro. Her love and genuine emotion for Laura Nyro’s music affect epitomized how Laura Nyro won my heart as a music fan. So glad to see Laura Nyro finally recognized for her talent.
The Guns and Roses music segment hit it perfectly. “Sweet Child of Mine” with Slash playing those chords and notes on his Gibson Goldtop guitar really did it for me. Axl Rose’s decision not to attend and accept his award was truly his blunder.
I was moved to see the members of various groups like The Miracles, The Flames, Bill Haley and the Comets, Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps on the same stage, acknowledging their awards and admiration of their fans. You could so feel the love and mutual respect for these pioneers of music.
Flea’s acceptance speech was my favorite acknowledgement of the night.The Red Hot Chili Peppers live music segment was the performance highlight of the evening. They played my favorite song, “By The Way”. Their energy levels are amazing.
Yesterday’s blog post rekindled my love and interest in Laura Nyro’s music. I decided to start at the beginning of her discography with the album entitled, More Than A New Discovery. This recording was released in January of 1967 on the Verve Folkways label.
The album was later reissued, with a revised track order and with the song “Hands Off the Man” retitled to “Flim Flam Man”, in 1973 by Columbia Records as The First Songs.
In the summer of 1967 Laura Nyro performed at the infamous Monterey Pop Festival; while Nyro felt her performance had been a failure, the D.A. Pennebaker documentary footage of the concert showed to the contrary that the crowd responded enthusiastically to her set.
After her performance at Monterey, record producer David Geffen signed her to a $4 million contract with Columbia Records.
I was truly pleased to see Laura Nyro‘s name among the 2012 inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That honor has been long overdue. I wrote a blog post earlier this year about Laura Nyro. I mentioned in that post that Earthworks Films, Inc. is working on a film about Laura Nyro entitled, December’s Boudoir. It would be terrific and well-timed if that movie was ready to be released in harmony with Laura Nyro’s induction. I’d love to see some of the footage shown as part of her induction. Keeping my fingers crossed about that possibility 🙂
The induction ceremony moves to Cleveland, Ohio and will be held on April 14, 2012. It will be the culmination of a 10 day celebration starting April 5th. There will be more details of that celebration posted on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web site going forward. I see lots of advantages moving the induction ceremony from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to Cleveland. One can only hope that for the 10 day celebration the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plans to use the Web more actively with live Webcasts, video of recorded events and Web page information about each day of Induction 2012. It would be wonderful to include a wider, interested audience in this celebration.
Thank God for Spotify’s extensive music cloud which offers a comprehensive choice of Laura Nyro’s catalog. Christmas and the beads of sweat is an ideal listen as we enter the twelve remaining days of Christmas 2011.
The artistic magic of singer/songwriter Laura Nyro has called me lately.
I listened with reverence to Laura’s music today on Spotify. I found myself drifting back to the innocent time of 1968-1970 a midst the rich collection of Top-40 radio hits from such artists as the 5th Dimension (“Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness”), Three Dog Night (“Eli’s Coming”), and Blood, Sweat and Tears (“And When I Die”).
These classic hits were my first exposure to the songwriting genius of Laura Nyro.
I became a greater fan of Laura Nyro’s music through WNEW-FM radio airplay as the disk jockey’s on that station took her to their heart and shared her soulful sound and lyrics with us. I recall that WNEW-FM carried her Christmas concert live from the stage of the Fillmore East and I listened intently to her performance. That was the closest I ever got to attending a Laura Nyro concert.
Those albums represent an interesting and special time in my life.
As I put myself back in touch with Laura Nyro I discover that she lived in Connecticut in Danbury, not too far from where we were living in Norwalk, Ct. I am glad the country setting of Connecticut proved to be a salvation for Laura during her last years.
I read with keen interest and a sense of personal excitement that a documentary about the life of Laura Nyro is being filmed by Earthwork Films. The co-producers are Mario Florio and Patty DiLauria. To learn more about the status of this wonderful film read here: http://www.lauranyro.com/film.htm