20th Century Good-bye

“20th Century Good-bye”
written and orchestrated by Reynold D. Philipsek copyright 1997 Zino-Rephi Music (BMI)

In 1997 I prepared for the end of the century with what, for me, was an ambitious project.
I wanted to create an “orchestral” album and this was the title track.

The album did receive some nice reviews at the time but maybe was a little too much for some casual listeners. C’est la vie.

The Players

Piano and vocals-Reynold
Cello-Dianne Tremaine
Flute-Kristi Kuhns
Clarinet-Kevin Stuevens
Percussion-Gomez de Riquet
Violin-Carolyn Boulay
Oboe-Merilee Klemp
Harp-Sunita Staneslow
Trombone, cornet and euphonium-Zane Schaefer

“20th Century Good-bye” (Philipsek)

Some war, some peace,
All the happenstance between our two eternities in the meantime.

Is this an age of wonder or just Babylon?
A spectacular sunset mistaken for a dawn at the same time?

Just where did the time fly?
20th Century Good-bye.

The rise and decline
Of another chapter of mankind in the meantime.

Is it random or design
That a million fates
All intertwine at the same time?

Just where did the time fly?
20th Century Good-bye.

We all want to go to heaven
But we don’t want to die,
Like to take the plunge
And still keep dry in the meantime.

Just where did the time fly?
20th Century Good-bye.

Check out this video on YouTube:

St. Germain Street

“St. Germain Street”
(Written by Reynold Philipsek, 2012 copyright)
all instruments by Reynold, except drums by Michael Bissonnette

June 15, 2018 marked 50 years since the untimely death of Jazz guitar great Wes Montgomery.

Summer always puts me in a Wes Montgomery mood. I associate his sunny disposition with this season, and definitely with a certain period of my life. I was 14 years old in 1967 and had just joined the Musician Union. I was playing somewhere between 70-80 gigs a year by the time 1968 rolled around.

At that time, my parents bought a new stereo. One of the stereo demonstration records that came with the stereo was “Down Here On The Ground” by Wes Montgomery. I immediately loved that album and it still has an almost “Proustian” hold on me in that it can, upon even a cursory listen, bring me back to my early teen years. Certain Bacharach songs can do this to me as well.

I didn’t know it at the time, but these later Wes records, that were produced by Creed Taylor, were considered “a bit less of” in terms of pure jazz, although they were very commercially popular. Still, I love these records. It would be a few years later until I discovered the early records by Wes on the Riverside label that were produced by the legendary Orrin Keepnews. (Ironically, I would eventually become good friends with Orrin’s son Peter Keepnews and his wife Irene Trudel.)

“Down Here On The Ground” has a certain magic to it which is created by how incredibly poignant Wes could be in a very minimalistic way. The arrangements by Don Sebesky had a magic to them as well. The fact Grady Tate, Ron Carter, and Herbie Hancock were the rhythm section helps as well.

A couple of years ago I read an interview with Pat Metheny where he mentions “Down Here On The Ground” was a favorite album by Wes for him, too. I felt somewhat vindicated by this opinion. Pat Metheny and I are of roughly the same vintage and there is no contemporary of mine I respect more as a musician.

In 2012, I put together an album called “Last Summer” which was intended to be my venture into recasting some of these memories of that time, place, and magical ambiance.

With the song “St. Germain Street,” I probably came the closest to this feeling.

St. Germain Street is the Main Street of my old hometown and is associated very deeply with my early teen summers. When this album came out, I sent a copy to Don Sebesky and told him how much his lush and magical soundscapes on the Montgomery records still haunt me. He was very appreciative. I was glad to make this connection.

So in the summer of 2018, I am revisiting my Wes collection and of course it will include repeated listens to not only the early and classic Riverside tracks, but the later records like “Down Here On The Ground” as well.