For the Love of Song: Dee Daniels with the VSO
Approx. 60 Minute Performance
With a palpable authenticity, towering four-octave range, and a powerful blues and gospel-tinged jazz vocal approach, Dee Daniels has built a sterling reputation amongst jazz fans and critics around the world for over three decades. It is a pleasure to welcome Dee Daniels back to the Orpheum in the present program: For the Love of Song.
With a palpable authenticity, towering four-octave range, and a powerful blues and gospel-tinged jazz vocal approach, Dee Daniels has built a sterling reputation amongst jazz fans and critics around the world for over three decades. She has performed with symphony orchestras and big bands globally but has called Vancouver her home for more than thirty years. It is a pleasure to welcome Dee Daniels back to the Orpheum in the present program: For the Love of Song. Among the titles that Dee Daniels shares are tunes associated with three musical greats: Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington.
The American songwriter, jazz pianist and actor Bobby Troup planned to “travel west” in 1946, in search of opportunities in California. Inspired by the journey, he penned the musical travelogue Route 66. The tune was recorded by Nat King Cole and became a hit on the R&B and pop record charts. Mona Lisa was the Oscar winner for best original song following its debut in the film Captain Carey, U. S. A.. It was written by the team of Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, who also composed Buttons and Bows, Que Sera Sera, and the Christmas hit Silver Bells. Nat’s cover of the mystic tune debuted in 1950 and has since been celebrated in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The enigmatic musician and songwriter known as eden ahbez (his name is un capitalized) was a progenitor of the back to nature lifestyle of Southern California’s Laurel Canyon. He shared a piece of sheet music with Nat Cole’s manager, and promptly disappeared. It was only after he was tracked down, living outdoors under the famous Hollywood sign, that Nat could release the tune: Nature Boy.
Harold Arlen and Ted Kohler wrote I’ve Got the World on a String for a 1932 Cotton Club performance by Cab Calloway. Twenty years later, Frank Sinatra made it his own in one of earliest sessions for Capitol Records. A subsequent album, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, from 1956, Included the Cole Porter classic I’ve Got You Under My Skin. The songwriting team of Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn produced a string of hits for Sinatra, including All the Way. The song earned an Oscar for the 1957 film about comedian Joe E. Lewis, The Joker is Wild. A popular song from 1934, Cuando vuelva a tu lado, written by the Mexican songwriter María Grever, went on to make bobby soxers swoon in the 1940s. Sinatra first recorded it as What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, with the English lyrics written by Stanley Adams.
Paul Francis Webster had his first big hit as a lyricist when he collaborated with Duke Ellington on I Got it Bad (and That Ain’t Good). It was introduced by vocalist Ivie Anderson in the 1941 revue Jump for Joy.
The performance closes with the premiere of new piece written by Dee Daniels this past summer. “The Ballad of John Lewis” was inspired by an essay written by the late US congressman and civil rights leader. Shortly before his death in July of 2020, The New York Times printed an essay by Lewis titled “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.” As Dee Daniels recalls, “I teared up. I was aware of his history, what he accomplished, and what he stood for. I so admired him and his contributions. I went to my piano, and it took me half an hour to come up with a melody that I could set these words to. The song just evolved and morphed.” One of the lines in Lewis’s essay is particularly moving: Now it is your turn to let freedom ring. With her soaring voice and impassioned performances, Dee Daniels is giving voice to that message.
Program notes by Matthew Baird