This is the first track on the album. I decided to open with this tune for a few reasons. This is arguably one of Engelbert's biggest hits, but also the musical approach I took I feel sets the tone for the entire album. But also on a personal note, I've always felt a timely connection with this song, as it was a hit the year that I was born! (Engelbert did not share my amusement in that bit of trivia when I mentioned it to him at his house).
I decided to go with a straight 8th note feel and open with an open 5th rhythmic ostinato in the left hand, (describing the first few seconds of the intro). That left hand figure was actually leftover from a song I recorded for my first album, (Closer Than You Think), but then decided to omit. I wasn't crazy about the song or the performance, but that little left hand hook I felt was strong and created a sense of suspension and pensiveness. But besides that, I stay true to the key, form melody and modulation of the song as recorded by Engelbert.
Someone shared a quote with me about the great Bebo Silvetti (Argentinian pianist/composer/arranger who also worked with Engelbert, arranging "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing"). He said ,(paraphrasing), that a song's introduction is the arranger's chance to compose and really set his mark on the piece. Well, on After The Lovin', arranger, Charles Calello does exactly that with his clever introduction that not only fits the popular style of the late 70's, but also pushes musical boundaries; flirting with three tonal centers and composing a theme/hook that can almost be mistaken for the melody. This hook identifies the song within four notes and is used again at the closing of the arrangement. I felt it would be a crime to not incorporate that element of the song in my recording. I had the great fortune of meeting Mr. Calello in Florida while on tour and briefly picked his brain about his classic arrangement.
In the attached video, I am seen working out the arrangement. This was shot at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Melville, Long Island. (Special thanks to Long Islander Newspaper Editor Luann Dallojocano for coordinating and filming the event and for Steinway for hosting me yet again). The video was shot months prior to the recording session while I was still deciding what songs from Engelbert's catalogue to record and how to arrange them musically. (Click on the youtube link below to watch the video).
Enjoy...and check back in next week for a discussion of the title track.