Darn That Dream, Pianist Neil Alexander

Posted April 4th, 2013 at 4:15 pm (UTC+0)
2 comments

By Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC

Neil Alexander - photo by Peter Salo

Neil Alexander (Courtesy photo by Peter Salo)

American pianist and composer Neil Alexander has a new album titled Darn That Dream. It is Alexander’s solo album of pure piano music. “This is my first solo piano offering with no treatments, no synthesizers… basically nothing to hide behind,” he tells VOA’s Music Beat in an interview.

The title is a throwback to the good old days of Broadway musical theater, when Louis Armstrong sang “Darn That Dream” in the musical “Swingin’ the Dream,” in 1939.

I dream each night,

You say you love me and hold me tight

But when I awake and you’re out of sight

Oh, darn that dream.

It is also a reminder of other jazz icons like Mildred Bailey, Doris Day, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and others who versioned it.

Neil Alexander has different renditions of “Darn That Dream” on piano. “It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite songs from the jazz singers’ repertoire,” he said. “I have done various arrangements of it, and it was good on this recording to get back to the basics as it were.”

Darn That Dream showcases 11 tracks, including six original songs. “About half of those are improvisations.  They were recorded in the studio, sort of created on the spur of the moment,” he said.

I talked with Neil Alexander about the album. He was kind enough to let me use two of his tracks in full, including the title cut: Darn That Dream.

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Alexander is working on “Darm That Dream” Vol. 2, which will include some great classics.

“What I’m going to feature on Vol. 2 is something that I’m currently touring, which is my own personal piano transcription of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring,” says Alexander.

Rite of Spring” is a famous classical composition by the Russian-born classical piano legend Igor Stravinsky. It premièred in Paris in 1913 under the title “Le Sacre du Printemps.”

“Now with the 100th anniversary, I’m touring this piece as much as possible. I have shows coming up on the West Coast (of the United States),” said Alexander. “That’s what’s going to be featured on Vol. 2, along with a wonderful piece by George Gershwin called Lullaby for Springs, which I have also transcribed for solo piano.”

Vol. 2 will be released by the end of this year.

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

2 Responses to “Darn That Dream, Pianist Neil Alexander”

  1. The last few months, I’ve been working on an animated graphical score of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Last week I completed the first part:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02tkp6eeh40

    Enjoy!

    Stephen Malinowski
    Music Animation Machine
    stephenmalinowski.com

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