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Love is the Answer

2009-10-01 09:50
Love is the Answer
"This album came about because Diana [Krall] came to see my last concert in NY in 2007 and she's sitting next to Alan Bergman, who said 'I always wanted Barbra to do a Jazz Album.' And Diana just said, 'I'll produce it' and then he told me about it and I thought that might be interesting because I usually produce many of my own albums. I thought it would be interesting to work together; I've always admired her musicianship and loved the way she sings. Even though I like to sing live with a big orchestra and she works with a trio and puts the strings on later, I figured it’s a throwback to my roots and I'd love to try and do that with her."

Watch Babs perform Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning", "Make Someone Happy" and Jacques Brel's "If You Go Away".

Barbra's track-by-track tour of Love is the Answer

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
"I was able to sing a lot of the songs I've been meaning to sing on this album. "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," for instance, is a song that I first heard in a nightclub, my second job outside of New York, when I was eighteen years old at the Crystal Palace in St. Louis. I actually forgot that I recorded it in 1967 with Ray Ellis. I guess it was never released. But I had already recorded it again and I like it better now, the arrangement that is. So, here it is on my album."

Here's That Rainy Day
"That’s another beautiful song on that list - that someday I'll sing it. I never got around to singing it until now."

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
"It's one of those songs I've heard about one thousand times and I never really understood it until I sang it simply with her trio and then Johnny Mandel did a wonderful chart to it. I hope people will have the same feeling, 'oh, that's what that song is about.'"

"The main difference about recording then in the '60s and now, my God, in the 2000s, you know, we would do an album in three days. Four songs each day, twelve songs that is, over and out. And today, they have so mangy gadgets that they can, so many tracks; it’s actually more difficult in a way. But this album is a good reflection on my philosophy of life – which is no matter what the ups and downs, it's magical and a privilege to be alive about life and it’s a toast, it's a toast to life. Here's to it kids."

"The Bergman's lyrics come from the heart, and also the mind. I mean, they are intelligent, and poetic, and have a wonderful way of expressing affairs of the heart. They are profound, and clever, they know how to technically place the words on open vowels. I mean, like the great lyricists always knew that. It’s like Italian opera you know, it sounds great because all the words end in A, AH. So, their lyrics are very poetic and yet, very conversational."

Where Do You Start
[It's] a song I heard on this wonderful Shirley Horne album years ago, and I thought someday I want to sing that song, I was just waiting for the right project to do it in. The lyric asks the question, “How do you say goodbye to somebody, in a way you will always love?"

If You Go Away
"[It's] one of the most famous Jacques Brel songs that he ever wrote. As a matter of fact, I loved it so much in the '60s, I remember going to Marseilles, flying to Marseilles in the south of France to hear him sing it in person. And he didn't sing it and I was crushed. But it’s such a great song, and I’ve been meaning to sing it for many many years. So I finally got the chance to do it. In the original song, I believe, Rod McKuen, had the phrase 'I would be the shadow of your dog,' and I remember thinking, 'No, I don’t think I would ever be anyone's shadow of a dog'. So I asked him if it was alright to change it to the 'shadow of your shadow.' Actually the shadow of your shadow, is actually lower than a dog, it’s more poetic to me,'“the shadow of your shadow,' so he said ok, and I hope he likes it."

"I studied French but I have to learn more" (spoken in French), it's practically the only sentence I know in French. I love the language and I remember in the '70s, taking French lessons but I used to fall asleep during the conjugations, but maybe I'll learn more, some, someday. Living in France maybe."

"I was told recently that I'm the biggest female album seller, platinum or gold, I don't know what it is. First of all, I always forget what I'm supposed to be, but I don’t like to rest on my laurels, I just keep making records and hope for the best. You know, do the best I can, sing the songs I’ve always wanted to sing, and that's it."

Gentle Rain
...a song I considered for my movie album, but wound up not recording it, and for the last tour, the orchestra one day surprised me by playing down an arrangement at the sound check. It sounded so pretty that I used to sing it every night before the show, just as a warm up, like the title, "Gentle Rain.""

In The Wee Small Hours
"That's a song that I used to perform, in the '60s, maybe it was the '70s, as part of the medley, closing the show with a Anthony Newley song called, "When You Gotta Go" and became "Wee Small Hours" and back to "When You Gotta Go". So, I may not have recorded it, as a matter of fact, because it was so closely associated to Frank Sinatra and his version was wonderful. But I decided to do it, you know, anyway, and Diana plays a lovely solo in the middle."

Some Other Time
"Actually we had picked all our songs, and then I asked my friend, Marilyn Bergman to give me a list of her favorite songs and I saw this song called "Some Other Time" written by Leonard Bernstein, and it was from "On the Town", actually, which was a show I was offered when I was nineteen years old and I didn’t do it. And I forgot how it went, I had no idea, so I came into the session that day, and Diana hired some wonderful pianists, to accompany me, and one of them was Tamir Hendelman and I said, "do you happen to know this song, "Some Other Time?" and he said, "Oh yeah, of course." And he played it. I just absolutely love it, and her trio is so musical and so bright, and accomplished, that they could just pick up the chords and we did it, and it ends my album. I'm absolutely mad for this song, what it says, the melody, everything about it, they just played it so well, we did it in a couple of takes."

 Make Someone Happy
Diana suggested this song, I hadn’t thought of that song, and it’s from a '60s musical "Do-Re-Me" by the brilliant lyricists, Comden and Green, with music by Jule Stein, who of course wrote "Funny Girl", who I adored, whom I adored? I’m always astonished at the breadth of Jule’s writing, he could compose big rhythmic songs like "Don’t Rain On My Parade" or "Some People" from "Gypsy" and of course, the score of "Funny Girl", and turn into something sublime, quiet and restrained like "Some Other Time.""

"When I sang for an Obama fundraiser before he became President, I put some special lyrics to it about Obama, and sang it one night and thought that’s the way to do it, and I like it, I like it a lot.”

Love Dance
...a bosanova that I first heard on a Nancy Wilson album, and she did an ad lib quiet beautifully, but I decided to go back to the original way. Ivan Lins, who wrote the music, did it as a Brazilian song, it has a sensual rhythm, it's not very well known but I like it.”

Heres To Life
It's a grown up lyric, it's about a person who has lived, lived and experienced life, so it was very easy for me to sing, it's a good reflection of my philosophy of life which is that, no matter what the ups and downs, no matter what the pains and joy one experiences, its magical and a privilege to be alive, it’s a toast, a toast to life. Here's to it kids."

"Johnny Mandel is one of a handful of great arrangers that’s around still, and he’s 83 yrs old, so it’s amazing he’s still working in this time of his life. I’m admiring of that. And he’s a wonderful songwriter, so he wrote the music to "Where Do You Start" and also "A Time for Love". I recorded his "Shadow of Your Smile", and his orchestrations are very subtle, which I thought was very right for this album, and so did Diana. Obviously, Diana wanted him to do this album."

In what was a once-in-a lifetime thrill for a hundred of her luckiest fans, Barbra Streisand celebrated the release of Love Is The Answer - her new album of jazz standards and classics - by singing a selection of these songs at New York's legendary Village Vanguard on Saturday, September 26, where she last performed in 1961 as the opening act for Miles Davis.
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