Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Music: The Power to Enchant’ Category

Notre Dame, Paris. By Paul Goldfinger
Click for full view.

 

SOUNDTRACK:   “Sheep may safely graze.”   Bach.  Lumiere String Quartet

Read Full Post »

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks performing at the Club Caché in Manhattan.   PG photo

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are a New York based “jazz repertory and society dance band.”  They won a  Grammy for the soundtrack of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

In their 1996  album Cheek to Cheek they have produced a collection of hits from the 1930’s that were made famous in the movies starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.  Here’s one of them:

“A Fine Romance” was written by Dorothy Fields (lyrics) and Jerome Kern. This song was only one of two for which she wrote the lyrics before the music was composed.  The song is from the 1936  movie Swing Time and is performed here by the Nighthawks.

We often post the Nighthawks music on Blogfinger.net;  people love the nostalgia of that era.

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

Read Full Post »

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

(This piece is re-posted. It was first presented on Blogfinger in July, 2014.)

It was Saturday night, July 18, 1925, at 8:15 p.m., when vocalist Paul Robeson and his accompanist Lawrence Brown strode onto the stage of the Great Auditorium to present a concert of “Soul Stirring Negro Spirituals” (1)  to an integrated audience of three thousand people. Mr. Robeson, an imposing black man, was twenty seven years old. He was already famous as a screen and stage actor as well as a singer.  He was a true Renaissance man who would become one of the most popular performing artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Robeson, who was born (1898) and raised in New Jersey, was an All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa at Rutgers University and an honors graduate of the Columbia University Law School. As a college student, Robeson was friends with the Day family who owned Day’s Ice Cream “Gardens” in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. He had a summer job as a singing waiter at Day’s. (3)  When he came to Ocean Grove for his 1925 concert, he had just completed a triumphant run at The Provincetown Theatre in New York, where he performed the lead role in Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Children Got Wings.”

He had friends at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, and it was there, with the encouragement of his colleagues, that he decided to do a concert tour with an entire program of “Negro” spirituals and secular songs also known as “slave or plantation music.” This would be the first time that this music would be performed in concert, and he would appear with his close friend Lawrence Brown, also an African-American, who was a gifted composer, pianist and singer. The two would work together for thirty years. The first stop on the tour was The Greenwich Village Theatre in New York City, and then, three months later, he appeared in Ocean Grove.

The concert was reviewed by the Asbury Park Press, which said, “Robeson showed an intelligent appreciation of his task and a splendid voice.” They called him “a talented son of this state” and they described “great applause” in the Auditorium. Among the songs which he and Lawrence Brown sang were “Go Down Moses,” “Weepin’ Mary” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

The following month he performed his concert in Spring Lake. They would tour for five years, all over the world, with this program. Later, Robeson would become the third most popular radio artist in the USA in the 20’s and 30’s. In the 1940’s he was the highest paid concert performer in the country and he was also successful as a recording artist. He would sing in the first production of “Showboat” and he would play Othello on Broadway and in England. He would star in eleven movies.

But his visit to OG that night was not only about music; it was also about recognition of African American culture and the elevation of that folk music to high art. In addition, Robeson always was about hope for African Americans, and performing that music was his way to offer pride and encouragement to his people. In 2004, when Barack Obama gave his “Audacity of Hope” speech at the Democratic convention, the first example he cited was, “…the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs.”

images-5

Robeson would accomplish much in his life, but his greatest contribution would be his tireless and life-long advocacy for civil rights. In 1925, Martin Luther King wasn’t born yet, and the “civil rights movement” would not begin until the 1950’s. Imagine how much courage was required for a black man to step forward publicly on behalf of racial justice at a time when lynchings were still occurring in this country. In 1921 a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma resulted in the deaths of 20 whites and 60 blacks. In 1922, an anti-lynching bill was defeated by filibuster in the US Senate. In 1925, the year of the concert, there were 17 reported lynchings in the US. Jim Crow laws could be found in many states, but Paul Robeson pressed for racial justice wherever he went and for his entire life.

Robeson had been “eagerly” (1) looking forward to his concert in The Great Auditorium. It is likely that he was aware that many “extraordinary African Americans” (2) had appeared there in the past, including the famous Marian Anderson (1921),  Booker T Washington (1908), the singing evangelist Amanda Berry Smith (late 1800’s) and many renowned black  preachers. The Ocean Grove Historical Society has documented the African American History Trail in our town. (2)

In 1998, the Ocean Grove Historical Society celebrated the 100th anniversary of Robeson’s birth by a day-long commemoration featuring lectures, dance, a book signing and an exhibition. The centerpiece of the program was a re-creation of the 1925 concert in the Auditorium. They brought the noted African American bass Kevin Maynor, who used the original program and reproduced the concert from 73 years earlier. This remarkable event was made possible by a committee of Ocean Grovers led by Rhoda Newman (chairman), Kevin Chambers, Phillip May, Jr., and others.

Paul Robeson’s contributions have been recognized many times in the form of tributes at Carnegie Hall and NJPAC, plus many articles, books, exhibits and documentaries. He is a part of Ocean Grove’s musical heritage which includes Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington, John Phillip Sousa, and Pearl Bailey (2). Paul Robeson died in 1976 at age 77. Five thousand people attended the funeral in Harlem.

Paul Robeson sings “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” from The Complete EMI Sessions 1928-1939, remastered 2008.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

1. Asbury Park Press Archives (Asbury Park Library)

2. Ocean Grove Historical Society Archives (Ms. Rhoda Newman)

3. Mr. Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove Historian

4. Ocean Grove Times Archives (Neptune Township Library: Mrs. Marian R.Bauman, Director)

 

 

Read Full Post »

Jr. Walker and the All Stars. Internet photo

Jr. Walker and the All Stars. Internet photo

Read Full Post »

What instrument has stood the test of time as the most romantic musical instrument? No, it’s not the organ. And no, Mr. Wiseguy, it’s not the bass drum or the electrified flute. Now I suppose, if you want to stretch the definition of a musical instrument, you might say the human voice. Frank Sinatra comes to mind.

But Stradivarius  knew the answer — it is the violin.  So here we have the sine qua non of romantic music: Frank Sinatra singing “Close to You” with a lovely violin solo.

Am I right about this? Any other ideas?  But please, no exotic instruments from Asia and forget about the ocarina and the French horn. If you tried to get romantic with a French horn, you could hurt yourself.    —Paul Goldfinger  (re-posted from 2012 on Blogfinger)

Ladies and germs: Here’s Frankie:

Read Full Post »

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger    (Reposted  from original article 2013. Now, 2020, we are finding renewed interest in the Emburys as revealed in our archives.)

Ocean Grove is known for its music programs. We have live music on the beach, in the parks, in the Auditorium, and on Main Avenue, but here’s something you may not know about.

The Emburys are a group of shore guys who love to get together on a street corner or in an echo chamber like the Casino and bring back that authentic acapella doo-wop sound. This is how that early form of rock and roll developed, especially in the inner cities of New York and Philly. Boogie is the guy who sings bass and is one Grover whom many of us know. The bass always stands out in these groups.*

We found them on a Sunday afternoon performing an old tune by “Shep and the Limelites” in front of the Pathway Market at the corner of Mt. Hermon Way and Pilgrim Pathway in the shadows of the Great Auditorium where, just the night before, the Beach Boys were doing the surfing thing.

But today, it was doo wops, and the guys hit the harmonies and the high/low notes with no backup instruments. This music is not easy to do. A small crowd had gathered to give them some deserved applause.

*Boogie,” Robert Napolitano, passed on April 27, 2017.

KENNY VANCE AND THE PLANOTONES: “Looking for an Echo”

And this is the full monty version by SHEP AND THE LIMELITES of “Daddy’s Home” (“ratta-tat”)

Read Full Post »

“After.” Ocean Grove, New Jersey. By Paul Goldfinger  ©. 2012.

 

SOUNDTRACK.  Stanley Turrentine: “Then I’ll be Tired of You.”

This song was written in 1934 by Arthur Schwartz and E.Y. Harburg.  “Yip” Harburg wrote the lyrics and he is famous for writing the words for so many classics including “April in Paris” and all the lyrics for the Wizard of Oz—-“If I only had a brain….”

 

Wiki note re Yip Harburg:    Edgar “Yip” Harburg attended high school with Ira Gershwin.  They met over a shared fondness for Gilbert and Sullivan and worked on the school paper becoming lifelong friends.

According to his son Ernie Harburg, the Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw taught his father that “humor is an act of courage,and dissent.”

Read Full Post »

Thornley Chapel. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. ©  By Paul Goldfinger.  2012.

 

SOUNDTRACK:  The London Philharmonic and Choir

Read Full Post »

Pray here. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Pray here. Faith Baptist Church. Wickapecko Drive, Ocean, NJ.   By Paul Goldfinger © September  3, 2013. Click to enlarge.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I frequently pass this church because Wickapecko Drive is a country road that provides an alternate scenic route coming back from Wegmans to the Grove. Just turn right off Sunset Avenue by the firehouse with Chief Wanamassa painted on the side (see below.)

Indians used to paddle their canoes around there. Sometimes they had to take a detour because of Township road work.

The Chief first met white men when the Ocean Township DPW began paving Sunset Avenue.  That historic work continues to this day.

Legend has it that Chief W. had a vision that told him to open a Wegmans nearby.  You can sometimes find him shopping there in the Kosher department for lox.

The Wickapecko Indians were Rutgers fans, and that is why they were called red men.  They would go to football games with no shirts, painting RU on their chests. They have been upset since the 18th century over Rutgers football misfortunes.

The church has a woodsy setting, and the light often twinkles on the front and sides as the massive trees cast all sorts of changing shadows.

I have photographed it many times, but this image, obtained in late afternoon, after making a carrot, dill, and celery run for Eileen who was working on a batch of chicken soup, is what I had been looking for.

I shot it this time both in color and black and white, but the latter, with a “vintage” tint, looks fine.

I have never actually seen anyone enter that church, but maybe I need to go there on a Sunday morning.

wseal

THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA  From the Imus Ranch Record II

Read Full Post »

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger © Click on all photographs to enlarge them.

By Paul Goldfinger MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net   Re-posted from June, 2014.

The Bishop Janes Tabernacle is the oldest permanent structure in Ocean Grove, build in 1877.  It is an airy, open building consisting basically of one room and  a center section on top where  a sweep of windows allows light to stream in from above  and illuminate the seating below–symbolic perhaps, or very practical, or both.

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian and author, showed us the 19th century ventilation system which keeps the place cool.  Downstairs there is a ring of large doors and windows.   The latter open in a curious way, but there is a purpose to the design. The window aims the warm breezes upward where they can stream through the top  row of windows.

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Outside, the light trickles and flows through the trees to hit the Tabernacle and creates moving patterns on its outside walls and illumination for the prayer books inside.

outside one

 

BACH:  Double concerto in D minor for 2 violins and strings.  With Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy, and Camerata Lysy Gstaad.

 

—- Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: