DOUG & JEAN CARN / “Infant Eyes”

“Most of us know that this music is profound; even apocalyptic at times. However, it is so often approached on such a casual social and commercial level, we tend to ignore and overlook the stirrings within our souls and the voices of our ancestral ‘spirits’ that remind us of the fact, that there is a revelation of certain prophetic dimensions inherent in this music.”–Doug Carn

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This is a songbook definition of classic. Uno: the whole album is great. Two: Doug Carn’s arrangement and the musicianship are first rate. Tatu: the lyrics are poetry. Yet, all of that great goodness is surpassed by the job that Jean Carn does as the featured vocalist.

In the Fifties, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae, Ella, and others following in their wake, mostly re-interpreted popular American songs: Tin Pan Alley, Broadway show tunes, and movie music. By the force of their creativity, they turned otherwise second-rate songs into standards. In fact, jazz musicians created the ‘standard.’

Then came the Sixties. A revolution. And of course the music was a hip reflector of the politics. Self determination. Jazz musicians wrote their own songs, not just new melodies fitted on top of pre-existing chord changes, as was the case with bebop and the morph from, for example, “Cherokee” to “Ko-Ko.” Under the influence of Trane, the object was not just to cover “My Favorite Things” but rather to express our own Love Supremes.

By the Seventies, we were bequeathed a body of original jazz music. Doug Carn’s genius was fitting lyrics to this new music. Additionally, this music was issued on the Black Jazz label, a self-determination effort of Black musicians to own and distribute their own music and not be dependent on the entertainment industry for production and distribution. The mid-Seventies were the high point of this social and musical movement. In the late Seventies and on into the early Eighties, Jean had a moderately successful career as a pop vocalist, but most of her subsequent recorded solo work is forgettable. And Doug never did come up with another vocalist to do what Jean does with his lyrics and arrangements. They needed each other to complete each other. Even though they both were talented, together they were exquisite. Elegant. But you know, disco wasn’t hearing none of that.

Anyway, it’s the combination of Doug’s lyrics and Jean’s vocals that makes this iconic early Seventies jazz record so moving.

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On the title cut, Jean’s breath control and dynamic range are astounding. So rich, so supple, this is the art of the jazz ballad: from expertly hit high notes to a hushed closing that is so tenderly voiced it could well be the last words of a mother who has just put her child to sleep. “Infant Eyes,” now a staple jazz ballad, is a Wayne Shorter composition. There are hundreds of recorded versions of “Infant Eyes,” however Doug and Jean Carn outshine them all. Listen. Just listen. And if you can get to the album, listen to everything (especially Michael Carvin’s drumming and George Harper’s tenor and flute work).

Infant Eyes, Wayne Shorter cover with Lyda Van Tol

Here’s our cover of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” with wonderful vocals from Lyda Van Tol….guitar work from yours truly. Backed by the Confinement Crew. We hope you enjoy it.

Lyda and I have been exploring the ways to bring classical and jazz together. Looking at common ground, and investigating differences. Wayne Shorter’s jazz standard Infant Eyes seemed like a perfect starting point. Wayne Shorter being heavily inspired by French composer Eric Satie who was in turn inspired by French impressionist composer Debussy.
The story goes that Wayne wrote the melody while trying to sing his child to sleep.

The lyrics were written later by someone else. I cannot find a definitive answer to who and when they were written…..if you know please tell me. Anyway, here they are…

There’s no place beneath the sky, the voice will never arise
That could sing of my love, for my dear infant eyes

Infant eyes, you are my own
Without your smile, the stars would fall
And the moon would lose its glow
And the rivers would cease to flow

I wish you could realize, this love I have inside
A love that never dies, for my dear infant eyes

Some day you will grow up, you’ll grow up and have your problems
Little girl you must try to be strong, for being strong
Is the one thing in the whole world that will save you
And always keep room in your heart for love
For love will teach you to care
And in caring, you’ll find the need for sharing
And through sharing, you’ll live a happy life

A joyous life my dear sweet child
May God be with you all the while
And go on your way working harder day by day
Until your dreams, your dreams come true
Make your dreams come true

Infant eyes you are my own
Without your smile, the stars would fall
And the moon would lose its glow
And the river would cease to flow

You know, I wish you could realize
This love I have inside
A love that never dies
For my dear infant eyes
I love you infant eyes
I love you infant eyes

Remembering to Forget – My 2022 Album


For the past 4 years I have put out an album to document my musical adventures. Remembering to Forget is this years album. There’s a range of styles, however, all are heavily influenced by my study of jazz guitar with Matt Warnock. It’s his teachings, approach and creativity that I have put into practice here. I hope you like it.

Here’s some background for each track…..
Time to Think…
From an original idea by PatrickM. Because sometimes we need time to think, to reflect.

Argo Phosphine…
From time to time I get an invite from a local record label to submit a track for a compilation album. The brief –
Call for the « PHONOGRAPHIES » project

For the “Phonographies” project, each artist is invited to compose a sound or musical piece containing field recordings. The composition should contain recordings through samples or it may be a raw « one-shot » piece.

I insist on the fact that your composition must absolutely contain sounds recorded around you or in your sound banks: that is the point. This is what will make the link throughout the project.

There were storms at the time, and during the day there was acrid smoke from the forest fires 300kms away, and what seemed like the endless noise of jet engines. I wanted something relentless and disonant. I recorded the sound of the storms, also the sound of the frogs. I used pickscrapes for the sound of the jets. White noise from a flanger and various guitar sounds with the guitar is drenched in reverb and delay. Percussion from loops of unequal lengths and some ‘one shot’ sounds from an old recording. Argo Phosphine is an anagram of Phonographies.

Beseechingly Yours…
My tip of the hat to one of my favourite guitar players Derwin “Big D” Perkins.

Pocket Queen…
Taylor Gordon a.k.a Pocket Queen on Instagram. Every so often she posts a drum loop and invites musicians to do something with it. This is my attempt at one of those.

Infant Eyes – Wayne Shorter…
A cover of Infant Eyes with Lyda Van Tol. This was my Jazz study group’s tune of the month for July (https://www.mwgcourses.com/). Lyda didn’t know the tune, she sight read it from the lead sheet. What a fab voice, and what skills!

Juillet…
Simply a tribute to July making use of some tasty chord moves I’d learned in the jazz study group.

Remembering to Forget…
The title track. It’s a thing to do at the end of a serious practice session on guitar. Just forget everything and play…..but you have to remember to do that.

Andalusian Cadence…
Exactly that. Let the cadence do the work and play the least I can while making sure to hit the ‘meaningful’ notes.

La Belle Riviere Gorre…
Another one for the local record label to submit a track for a compilation album. The brief –
Call for “CARTES POSTALES” project

 
(Based on the idea of Argentinean artist Carlos Devizia)
Each artist will have to choose one of the most beautiful natural places in the world for them. They will compose a sound (or music) piece inspired by that place.
We at Camembert Électrique believe that there are so many beautiful places in our world, that they deserve to be honoured musically.


I chose one of my very favourite places. The River Gorre near Saint Auvent. Just a stones throw from where I live. I walk there often and I find it to be a magical place. I make a point of stopping to just watch the river flow for a few minutes.

Authentic Brazilian Samba/Bossa Guitar comping

The ‘Tune of the Month’ in Matt Warnock’s Jazz study group is So Danco Samba. Matt has given us authentic Bossa and Samba patterns to learn, but I wanted to try and take my comping to the next level and make it sound even more authentic. I listened to the Jobim version, also the Getz/Gilberto version along with a whole playlist of others. Then I decided to try and find a Brazilian who could teach me. After a few minutes on google I found Diego Figueiredo and his ‘Brazilian Jazz Guitarra‘ course on Truefire.com. I watched a free video where he taked about the Bossa Nova Jazz connection. In the free vid’ he demonstrated what he was talking about by playing So Danco Samba – result! He gave some great tips and ideas. I was so impressed I wanted to find out what else he had to say.

Diego Figueiredo is one of the greatest guitarists I’ve seen in my whole life. The world needs to listen to his music.” – George Benson

From Truefire…..
Diego is also a passionate educator, and we’re very excited to welcome him to the family with his first TrueFire course, Brazilian Jazz Guitarra!

”I love the ‘magica’ — the magic of bossa nova and the freedom of jazz. Combining these two influences produces a colorful, vibrant style that I call Brazilian Jazz Guitarra. In this course, I’ll share 12 key concepts and techniques that power this exciting style. We’ll apply all 12 of those approaches across seven performance studies in different feels and tempos.”

Diego organized the course in two sections. In the first section, Diego shares 12 key concepts and techniques that are signature to his style: Bossa Nova Swing & Variations, Traditional Brazilian Music Styles, Right Hand Fingers & Approach, Right Hand Patterns & Variations, Right Hand Arpeggio Exercises, Up & Down Thumb Technique, Chord Substitution Ideas, How to Play With a Singer, The Bossa Nova & Jazz Connection, Explore the Scales Inside Chords, Inside vs. Outside Melodies, and The Importance of Repertoire.

Needless to say, I bought a copy of the course and am enjoying it very much. I have a few days left until I submit my final project for the month. I hope to share that with you.

Here’s a link to Diego’s course Brazilian Jazz Guitarra.

Footprints – Wayne Shorter

The weather has been grim. It’s been raining for days. More guitar time then! On the Strat-Talk forum where we discuss all things stratocaster there is a weekly challenge that I sometimes join in with. This week’s challenge was to record oneself playing over a backing track for Wayne Shorter’s Footprints. I liked the sound of of it, and decided to gve it a go.
I spent a happy morning teaching myself the melody by ear then recording this…..

Here’s what we have….
Drums intro, 4 bars keyboard turnaround, 2* Melody, 4 choruses improvisation, 2* Melody, 2*tag, outro.
I recorded using a 1967 ‘Chet Atkins’ Gretsch Country Gentleman – also know as the George Harrison guitar, through a DV Mark Little Jazz amplifier into Ableton Live. The backing track was posted by Monte over on strat-talk. Here’s the challenge thread in case you fancy having a go, or checking out what other players made of it.

A great morning on the guitar learning about a tune that I was not familiar with. What you been up too?

Footprints” is a jazz standard composed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and first recorded for his album Adam’s Apple in 1966. The first commercial release of the song was a different recording on the Miles Davis album Miles Smiles recorded later in 1966, but released earlier. It has become a jazz standard.

Autumn Leaves – with a Dutch Opera singer!

There is a Dutch village not far from me here in France. It’s a residential/holiday village. A Dutch opera singer, Lyda Van Tol, retired there recently, and my friend Gijs has been very keen to introduce us. I met Lyda briefly last week and invited her to come and take a guest slot at our booking in the restaurant there (I have no problems jumping in at the deep end!). She accepted, came along, and met Rod (keyboard) during the break. Lyda told us she would like to sing the introduction a cappella then we would join in. I would take a short solo over the A section then Lyda would come back in. This was great fun, and it was a real pleasure to back her. Our audience don’t normally listen this hard. You could hear a pin drop. Lyda went on to do two more songs. I loved it.

Brood X – Summer of Love

Dédiée aux cigales Cicadas Brood X.
Tous les 17 ans, les nymphes de la cigale de Brood X creusent un tunnel vers le haut en masse pour émerger de la surface du sol. Les insectes perdent ensuite leurs exosquelettes sur les arbres et autres surfaces, devenant ainsi des adultes. Les cigales matures volent, s’accouplent, pondent des œufs dans des brindilles, puis meurent en quelques semaines. La combinaison de la longue vie souterraine des insectes, de leur émergence quasi simultanée du sol en grand nombre et de leur courte période d’âge adulte permet à la couvée de survivre même à une prédation massive.

Alone Together jazz standard cover

I’m working hard on my Jazz playing. Here is a cover of Alone Together, a jazz standard written by Arthur Schwartz with lyrics by Howard Dietz. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Flying Colors in 1932 by Jean Sargent.
The song soon became a hit, with Leo Reisman and His Orchestra’s 1932 recording (vocal by Frank Luther) being the first to reach the charts. It has become a jazz standard. The first jazz musician to record the song was Artie Shaw in 1939. Though I reckon the version most people know best is the Chet Baker version from 1959.

Alone Together was the August ‘tune of the month’ in the PJG (Play Jazz Group) study group on facebook. This was my submission for the end of the month ‘final project’. Posting a final project gets you feedback from Matt, and from your peers. Another great month of learning! I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this tune. It was one that I didn’t know, and now I love it. I‘ve learnt so much this month about navigating tricky changes. I’ve had such fun with comping. My goal for the past couple of months has been to be more succint, to start and end phrases properley, also to create tension where appropriate. I think I’m getting there, still a way to go though. I played the bass part using Matt’s walking bass line from the weekly excercises. For the comping, I used diatonic moves, some approach chords, and substitutions….and a little ’arrangement’ walking the Fmaj7 down to the Dmaj7 in half steps (bar 11 onwards). I normally play the melody straight for FPs, but this time I decided to add flowers. Soloing wise, bars 9 to 13 became my favourites. Find it Matt Warnock’s Play Jazz Guitar Facebook group here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/playjazzguitar/