Jazz guitarist and composer Rale Micic has followed a path characteristic of many European jazzmen who settled in the United States. A native of Belgrade, Micic (born 1975), having already acquired a good jazz reputation in his native Serbia, went to Boston in 1995 to study at the famous Berklee College. Among his teachers there were such famous personalities as George Garzone and Bob Brookmeyer. In 2000, Micic moved to New York and over the years has become a prominent figure in the jazz scene of the Big Apple. Rale released his first album, Bridges, three years later, offering listeners a mixture of jazz with Balkan music. And already during the recording of the second album ,Serbia, Micic was helped by such a prominent master as the trumpet player Tom Harell. Micic played in his ensemble, worked with Greg Hutchinson, Don Friedman, Eric Alexander.
Today we present his new work Only Love Will Stay, Micic’s second album for Whaling City Sound. To create it, Rale chose the chamber format of a jazz trio, and without a bassist. His guitar voice is assisted only by the Hammond organ, with the famous Jared Gold and drums (Johnathan Blake and Geoff Klapp) sitting at the keys. The album was made up of recordings of two sessions, in the fall of 2019 and in the summer of 2020, hence the line-up and two drummers, each of whom worked in one of the sessions.
Of the eight compositions that made up the album’s program, five are the author’s music by Rale Micic. Covers here are his interpretations of Even Steven by John Abercrombie (symptomatic: many compare Micic’s playing style with Abercrombie, and, as he himself says, John’s organ groups served as a model for this project), Irwin Berlin’s classic “How Deep Is The Ocean” and “Lipe Cvatu (Linden Trees Are In Bloom)” by fellow countryman, Serbian composer Goran Bregovic. This, however, does not limit the connection with the homeland in this project. Micic’s opening and title track “Only Love Will Stay” also contains echoes of Balkan music. It seems to me that it was no coincidence that this piece gave the name to the entire album. Very beautiful, warm, a little sad melody, soulful sound of a guitar, delicate organ reprise – for me it became a personal favorite of the album. A brief and aphoristic assessment of the entire project was given by Micic’s partner Jared Gold: “In playing the guitar, Rale has a unique voice. He combines a very melodic approach with a keen knowledge of harmonies. His original compositions reflect his life experience and tell the listener about his roots …” It’s hard to disagree.
O’s Notes: Pianist Mike Renzi sets out to make something greater than the standard “Christmas Album”. He addresses the Holidays from different cultures and expressions. Renzi teams up with veteran vocalist Jim Porcella for ten duets, all classics done with class.
Award-winning pianist Mike Renzi with baritone vocal performer Jim Porcella present Christmas Is, a holiday-themed album ideal for setting a mood of celebration, joy, and compassion. Wonderful, warmhearted, and evocative, Christmas Is flows beautifully and is highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are “Cool Yule”, “The Christmas Song”, “The Holiday Song”, “Our First Christmas”, “Blue Christmas”, “Christmas Is”, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”, “A Christmas Love Song”, “Snowfall”, and “Winter Wonderland”.
The history of this album takes us back more than thirty years to 1988. It was then that a three-hour telephone conversation took place in Paris between two German women, two Actresses and singers, Marlene Dietrich and Ute Lemper. Some of our readers do not need to explain who they are, but for the rest, especially the young ones, we will have to tell them…
So, Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992). A sex symbol of her era, a great actress and singer. Her fame rose in the 20s, in the film “Blue angel”, which brought her unprecedented success not only at home, but also far beyond its borders. After moving to Hollywood, she quickly became a star there. The Nazis who came to power in Germany promised Marlene all imaginable benefits for her return. But Marlene Dietrich was sharply negative about Hitler and his brown pack. She defiantly renounced her German citizenship and accepted US citizenship. During the war, she often performed in front of allied soldiers in Europe. Someone pointed out that Dietrich was more often on the front line than Eisenhower. After the collapse of Nazism, she continued her brilliant career. In 1960, she arrived in her native Berlin, where she was obstructed, considered a traitor. After a while, Marlene settled in Paris. After an unfortunate fall from the stage in 1975, she could only walk with a stick – and did not want to be seen like this. Then she lived as a recluse in Paris, not communicating with anyone, her relationship with her daughter was very difficult, in the past there were stormy romances with world celebrities, in the past there was fame.
This is what Marlene called Ute Lemper (b.1963) in 1988. Starting with performances with a jazz-rock band, she turned into a musical and cabaret star by the age of 25-just like Dietrich once did. In 1988, in Paris, she was awarded the prestigious Moliere Prize for playing and singing in the musical “Cabaret”. That’s when she sent the card to Dietrich. A miracle happened: she suddenly agreed to talk to Ute on the phone. For three long hours, Marlene told her young companion many secrets of her personal and creative life. Ute was lucky: the stars came together and the great diva wanted to pour out her soul.
Many years later, in 2019, the already very famous Lemper put this conversation at the heart of her show Rendezvous with Marlene, where she tells the story of the life of Marlene Dietrich from the stage and sings songs from her repertoire. The audio album Rendezvous with Marlene is a kind of soundtrack of a very successful show, met with the most positive responses around the world. Like Dietrich, Lemper sings here in three languages-German, English and French, and sings with a very precise balance between Dietrich’s characteristic singing style and the danger of “playing too much” in imitation of her unique husky contralto. Here you can hear songs from the time of Dietrich’s success in Weimar Germany – the world-famous Lili Marlen, songs by her favorite composer Friedrich Holender, who, like her favorite Director von Sternberg, had to flee from the persecution of the Nazis, – Wenn Ich mir wunschen durfte, Ruins Of Berlin, sound jazz standards Mercer (One For My Baby, When The Workd Was Young) and porter (the Laziest Gal In Town) times of successful collaboration with Bert Bacharach, songs of great American folk singers Pete Seeger (Where Have All the Flowers Gone) and Bob Dylan (Blowing In the Wind), beautiful French songs, for example, Marie Marie Gilbert BECO. In short, this is a stunning excursion into the popular music of the twentieth century, which was loved and sung by the great Marlene Dietrich.