“The way I like to connect to my audience is through humor and lightness,” says saxophonist, vocalist, and feel-good entertainer Danny Bacher. “l like to convey a positive message.”
Delivered without irony, these sentiments serve as the baseline philosophy behind Still Happy, the follow-up to Danny’s debut recording of 2016, Swing That Music. Whether conveyed through words or deeds, they reflect Danny’s North Star mandate: He aims to please.
He is a pure soul, a humanist at heart, whose creativity aligns perfectly with a desire to spread joy. This record is the latest installment in Danny’s vision of a sing-along, bouncing-ball world. It is a simple reminder: In the hands of a master storyteller, music is magic.
Still Happy features an artful marriage of tunes and performance – Danny leads us through a musical amusement park for grown-ups, replete with razzle, dazzle and hold-your-breath meditations. There’s great humanity here – a coupling of warmth and Wow! – elevating our mood like a fireworks show at the Jersey shore.
And much to speak about: Allen Farnham’s nifty arrangements, crafted to energize Danny’s indefatigable spirit; a rhythm section plus horns plus percussion galvanized tight by purpose and desire (beautifully acknowledged in the artist’s special thank-you’s); Danny’s own “In Spite of All This, I’m Still Happy,” and “Joie de Vivre,” each complementing perfectly the project’s theme and variations; signature moments of song, style and wit, proving that Danny is a triple threat capable of killing (or, at least, injuring) a dedicated audience; and a wry yet reverential send-up of
“Hooray For Holiday,” a peek behind the dream factory curtain, replete with Danny’s original, happy-making lyrics (You’ll be splurgin’ to see a surgeon/He’ll make your tuchas look good…).
“Hollywood” proves to be a touchstone, a contrast to the album’s final track, “Cloudy/Nuages.” Together they reveal the yin and yang of Danny’s personality. The former is exuberant, bracing, filled with vivacity; the latter, ruminative, introspective, private.
One imagines that Danny reached back to the methods of ancient Greek actors, deploying the masks of comedy and tragedy to communicate emotion. These performances, however, are less binary than they appear. Nuance prevails. Danny aims for the heart (and feet) by endowing these tracks – and all others – with sophisticated subtlety.
One hears traces of calypso (“Get Happy”), and doo-wop (“Shaking The Blues Away”), and pure Billie Holiday (“Getting Some Fun Out of Life”).
Together, they – and all other tunes – constitute a clear affirmation of both concept and execution.
So, while Danny makes clear that he is still happy, repeated spins of this record reveal there’s a band and a producer who feel exactly the same way. Fans to follow. Guaranteed.
Produced by Jeff Levenson
Executive Producers: Joel M. Bacher, Danny Bacher
Recorded at Teaneck Sound Studio,
October 17th – 18th, 2018
Recording Engineer Dave Kowalski
Mixing Engineer: Jon D’uva
Mastered by Greg Calbi, Sterling Sound
Danny Bacher – Vocals, Soprano Saxophone
Allen Farnham – Piano
Dean Johnson – Bass
Alvester Garnett – Drums
Harry Allen – Tenor Saxophone
Charles Caranicas -Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Rolando Morales-Matos – Percussion:
All arrangements by Allen Farnham
Co-arranged by Danny Bacher
Danny Bacher uses Silverstein Ligatures
Alvester Garnett plays D’Amico Drums
Harry Allen plays D’Addario Select Jazz Reeds
Rolando Morales-Matos plays Pearl Percussion
To the following, I want to express my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks for making this all possible.
First, to my beautiful and supportive wife Erin, for all of her love, understanding and inspiration; my parents, Jane and Joel, for helping me realize my dreams, for all their love and support, and for putting me on this planet; my brother Josh, sister-in-law Nadia, and little niece Millie, for their help and love, in life and on this project; my grandmother “MaMa” Jean, who helped shape who I am today, and whose valuable lessons in life I cherish always; and my grandmother Ann and grandfathers Harvey and Herb, whom I miss everyday and hold dear in my mind, spirit and heart.
To all of my loving family, loyal fans and, of course, “Bacher’s Backers,” who helped get me to a financial place much appreciated for this recording project. Special thanks to Dr. Daniel Suffin (“DS”); Yanni, Arlene, and li’l Eddie Kaloudis; John McLellan; Carol Scibelli; David Rousso; and Uncle Jon and Aunt Kathy Van Orden. And of course, much love and thanks to the machatunim, Toni, Chuck, and Mikey!
To all of my artistic friends that have given me such guidance and advice through this process, including: Steve Tyrell, Marilyn Maye, Roseanna Vitro, Nancy Marano, Barbara Maier, KT Sullivan, Bob Mover, Ed Joffe, Jason Teborek, Alexis Cole, Chris Byars, Dominic Chianese, Debbi Bush-Whiting, Marilyn Lester, Angelo Badalamenti, the late Lois Laurel Hawes, Richard Cramer, Bill Boggs, Steve Frumkin, Will Friedwald, and all my fellow Friars.
To my band: what an honor to have the support of such tremendous talents! Harry Allen, a true titan on the tenor; Charlie Caranicas, a marvel on trumpet and flugelhorn; Dean Johnson, a solid-rock time-keeper with a heart of gold; Alvester Garnett, the jovial spirit and heartbeat of the ensemble; Rolando Morales-Matos, for his mastery of percussion; and of course to my co-arranger and pianist, Allen Farnham, whose genius in arranging, abilities on the 88’s, and great attention to detail have been crucial to the success of this project.
I must also express gratitude to my producer, Jeff Levenson, whose artful mastery at the helm, both in and out of the studio, was exactly the right balance needed to take this album to heights that I couldn’t have foreseen.
Also, I must thank my family at Whaling City Sound, Neal Weiss and Ginny Shea, for believing in this project. And a special note of thanks to Ashley Perez; Andrea Valentini and Dave Kowalski at Teaneck Sound; Jon D’Uva, a master mixer; and Greg Calbi, the masterer in the mix!
In closing, making this record was a joy from start to finish, and I hope that after you have a listen, like myself, you’ll be “Still Happy!”
Enjoy! -Danny Bacher
02. Laughing At Life (Briand/Saban, Cezame Metro Park, BMI)
03. In Spite of All This, I’m Still Happy (Bacher, Danny Bacher Music, ASCAP)
04. Shakin’ The Blues Away (Chuck, Chappell Edzioni, WB Music, ASCAP)
05. Hooray For Hollywood (Whiting/Mercer, Warner Bros Inc, ASCAP) Additional lyrics by Danny Bacher
06. Lucky To Be Me (Bernstein/Comdon/Green, Leonard Bernstein Music, Warner Bros, ASCAP)
07. Joie De Vivre (Bacher, Danny Bacher Music, ASCAP)
08. This Happy Madness Jobim/De Moraes/Lees, Corcavado Music, VA, BMI)
09. Joy Spring (Brown/Hendricks, Cherio, Melody Lane, Second Floor, BMI) Additional lyrics by Danny Bacher
10. Lazy Afternoon (Moross/La Touche, Chappell, Sony ATV Tunes, ASCAP)
11. Get Happy (Arlen/Koehler, SA Music, Warner Bros, ASCAP)
12. Cloudy/Nuages (Biederbecke/Reinhardt, ASCAP