Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black Coffee: Weekly Wish VIDEO!

Drumroll, please!

Presenting... my first Weekly Wish video!

The Wish:
I wish I were a better jazz accompanist.
I wish I could play for a jazz singer the way Paul Smith played for Ella Fitzgerald.

The Means:
Study what Paul Smith played for Ella Fitzgerald on "Black Coffee" from The Intimate Ella, which is a whole album of just the two of them.

The Video:
I was thrilled to have singer and actress Brooke Ishibashi join the on my trial-and-error process of recording my first video. It's always nice to have another good sense of humor in the room when I'm working with electronic devices.

Behind the Scenes:
I learned what Paul Smith played, but I didn't ask Brooke to sing exactly what Ella sang. I started out planning to record the notes I had transcribed from the recording, but that didn't always make sense with what she was singing. So there are deliberate changes from what Paul played, and then there are parts where I meant to play what he played and didn't (I think that's called "still-need-to-practice"), and then there are parts where I did play what Paul had done and probably could have listened more closely to what Brooke was doing.

So, onward! My friend says that every CD is a record of what he wishes he'd done better. Put that way, it kinda just makes me want to hide out and eat chocolate. But then again, it's a fun way to figure out my future Wishes, so it's perfect for me!

Comments & Feedback
I'm only one set of ears - comments and feedback here and on youtube are greatly appreciated.


  1. Congrats! I don't think I am well-versed enough in jazz piano playing to give you any feedback on that, but you sound great! The comfort and facility in your playing are so much more apparent now -- it's really great!

  2. Very nice. Sounded 'just like a bought one' to my jazz-n00b ears. I was thinking Ms Ishibashi might need to have been miked up, but then she really fired up and my inner self quickly retracted that moment of ignorance. :o)

    Good to finally have a not-performing-for-grade-schoolers voice and some fingers-pressing-down-piano-keys movement to put to the text, too.

    (I can't help but think that some sort of vocabulary might cut down on my hyphen-usage... but that's okay.)

    Sorry, this is about you. :o) Great stuff. More! Encore! etc

  3. love this! i could listen to you two all day (night) long!

  4. Love it! Love the idea, love the outcome! You're fantastic!

  5. One of my favorite lines in music is "I'm moanin' all the morning, and mourning all the night." What an awesome video, congrats, Kat and Brooke!

  6. Lovely! I especially like what you do around 2:03. I was trying to pick out what I could by ear, since I'm hoping to accompany a friend in the same vein. I would be thrilled if you were willing to share your transcription!

  7. Thanks, Bruce!
    I actually didn't write it down - I just worked with the recording from The Intimate Ella. But I'd be happy to share and I might have time to write it down in the next few weeks. What's your timeline for accompanying your friend?

  8. That's an incredibly generous offer, thank you! I'm in no hurry--we are amateurs and just doing this for the pleasure, and for ourselves at this point :)

  9. cool - I will get to it as soon as I can - which I can't promise will be soon, unfortunately! But I should write it down, and it will motivate me a little bit to know someone else would like to have it :)

  10. Great...really looking forward to it, whenever it comes!