Normally the artist doesn’t write his own liner notes, but as I’m really the only person who knows how this CD came about, I’m writing them anyway!
I did not just decide I was going to make a CD of Jazz Standards; in fact the thought had never occurred to me. As a fan of the greats, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Louis, Ella, Ray Ellington, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn …. The list goes on, I thought it best to leave it alone. However Henri Heymans, who was working on recording various compilations in this genre for Readers Digest, and who I had worked with on some more rocky tracks, asked me if I would like to try singing 4 songs from the 30s/40s. Always up for a challenge, I asked him to send me copies of the origi- nals to see if I thought it possible. As I began to sing along with the originals and work with the backing tracks they sent me, I realized that in a strange way my voice suited these songs, and I was intrigued to sing them, especially “Solitude”, which I found chal- lenging but very enjoyable and “When I Take My Sugar To Tea”, which I felt able to interpret in my own way. I was amazed at the power of their recordings, so authentic yet somehow still vital today.
The first session went well and I was really thrilled with the results. Henri asked me to sing a few more, which I did. We reached a point where I had 8 songs with my voice recorded in this style and it was at this point that Henri suggested 6 other songs in the same vain that
I could record a vocal on if I wanted to. The tracks were simply amazing the arrangements with big band and orchestra were so powerful, (singing to the arrangement on Boulevard of Broken Dreams was incredible), and at this point I felt I would be crazy to turn down this offer. There are not too many times in your life that you get offered a collection of music that sounds as good as these recordings. So there I was, thirteen songs, a CDs worth of Jazz/Swing standards, including the amazingly beautiful “Sophisticated Lady”.
At this point I decided to resurrect a song I wrote in the 80s with my friend Harry Bogdanovs called “ True Love Wins Again”, and get Ghislain to arrange it with the same feel as the other tracks, which he did beautifully with Big Band and Strings. I felt it was important for me if possible to have a self- penned song on the CD.
Joe Cassella (my manager) contacted Detlef Engelhard, (his company and Joe had worked together with the Buena Vista Social Club), who immediately agreed to release the CD. It was Detlef’s idea to re-record “Davy’s on The Road Again” in a swing style, I resisted at first, but asked Ghislain, if he thought he could do an arrangement that would fit with the other songs on the CD. He laughed and said “it’s swing anyway eh”! As with “True Love Wins Again” when I went in to the recording sessions at Musiclab studio in Brussels, I couldn’t stop smiling at the way both songs just slotted right in to the CD and the arrangements were brilliant! So there you have it 15 songs and an incredibly happy singer. Pietro and I remixed all the songs, and as with everything during the making of this CD it went very smoothly and bought new meaning to the word relaxed! Thanks to all.
I can’t wait to perform these songs live and I feel very proud to have worked with such pro- fessionals during this process. I think even my Mother and Father would be proud of the result! And when you get it home, I hope it has a per- manent place in your ‘chill out with a glass of wine” pile, “ play this to my friends”, or even “put it on when I do the housework” collection! It’s one of the only CDs I’ve ever made that I can put on myself and really enjoy listening to or singing along with and I’m really happy about that.