Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Music for The Big Picture: Avalon and Immigration

The moment in my project The Big Picture that touches on immigration is one of the cornerstones of the show and is personally incredibly important to me. As a second (and a half) generation/totally ensconced American, I try to never take for granted the incredible hardships that my grand parents and my great grandparents went through to immigrate to the US. For me it's incredibly sobering to think about their struggles in light of what millions of refugees around the globe are going through right at this moment.

The Family (from Avalon)

I hadn't seen Avalon before I began working on The Big Picture, so I was delighted when I was introduced to this poignant and humorous unsung masterpiece. As I began to work on Randy Newman's gorgeous and evocative theme, I grew to love it more and more. It really evokes the bittersweet pathos of the story of an immigrant family that's told in the film. It makes me think of all peoples uprooted from their homelands seeking a new life (as my great grandparents did at the end of the 19th century). And it couldn't be more timely as refugees are fleeing from all corners of this troubled world of ours today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Join me to play a concert together in Paris!

Dans le cadre de sa tournée The Big Picture, Je vous invite sur scène pour un concert privé. 
Vous êtes musicien passionné (clarinettiste, saxo, guitariste, batteur…) et souhaitez me rejoindre le 30 octobre pour une formation exceptionnelle et un concert unique? Envoyez-nous votre meilleur enregistrement (5mn max.). Vous avez jusqu’au 4 octobre 2015 à minuit!

In conjunction with my European tour of my multi-media show The Big Picture, I invite you to join me on stage for a private concert.
If you are a passionate musician (clarinetist, saxophonist, guitarist, drummer, bassist...) and want to join me on 30th of October for an exceptional day of discovery and a unique concert... Send us your best recording (5 min max.) You have until 4 October 2015 at midnight!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Woody Allen and "The Big Picture"

In all of his films, Woody Allen’s sensibility for me is somehow quintessentially Jewish regardless of the subject matter. I chose three pieces of music for TheBig Picture from three of Woody’s most beloved films.

1) Si Tu Vois Ma Mère (from Midnight in Paris)

When I saw Midnight In Paris I flipped out when I heard Bechet's gorgeous Si Tu Vois Ma Mère open and close the film. What a love song to Paris....both from Bechet and Woody Allen!  The musical challenge for me was to find a way to do something totally different from Bechet...and I think that worked out well. I'm very proud of the arrangement I came up with, and so happy to call this version my personal love letter to Paris....and to all of France. 

2) Body and Soul (from Radio Days)

Radio Days is a great film, and the moment where Body and Soul is used is fantastic..evoking the great ritual from days of yore : sitting around the radio absorbed in the world of pure imagination.
PLUS : Body and Soul is one of my favorite tunes ever. To have a chance to put my own personal stamp on this tune is a thrill.

3) March from the Love of Three Oranges (from Love and Death)

Prokofiev's masterpiece was one of my favorite pieces of music growing up as a kid, and I'm delighted to include it in this program. I've always been drawn to Woody Allen's wide range of musical choices for his films, and he used this March perfectly in Love and Death. Plus to have something from the classical repertoire as part of The Big Picture is a fantastic addition to the program.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Seeing as I’ll be bringing The Big Picture back to New York on October 14th & 18th and to Europe in November, I thought I would share a few thoughts on why I chose each of these particular films for this project that is very special to me.  In short, each of the films chosen relates to Judaism (and therefore to my story) either directly in terms of content or more philosophically in terms of sensibility. Both the CD and the show start off with these two pieces of music:

1) Willkommen (from Cabaret)

I saw Cabaret when it first came out, and was so moved both by Liza Minelli's performance and the powerful message of the film that talks about the rise of Fascism in the early 30s. And of course, what better way to start a show (in this case The Big Picture) than by saying "Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!"

2) La Vita e Bella (from Life is Beautiful)

The theme for this gorgeous movie really captures the innocence of childhood‎. For me it was interesting to musically combine that sense of innocence in the theme with the dark elements of the plot  (ie. The Holocaust) that are not brought out explicitly in the version of that music that's used in the film.