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THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE

LIVE FROM THE RRAZZ ROOM

Pismo Productions 2011
CD 103
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THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE



LIVE FROM THE RRAZZ ROOM

  1. Sweet and Lovely (Instrumental)
  2. The Best Things In Life
  3. Kick Off Your Shoes
  4. Heart's Desire
  5. Happy As the Day Is Long
  6. Walkin' After Midnight
  7. Cowboy's Sweetheart
  8. I've Never Been In Love Before (Instrumental)
  9. You Must Believe In Spring
  10. I'm Gonna Lock My Heart
  11. Mad About the Boy
  12. Errand Girl For Rhythm
  13. Bein' Green

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE



LIVE FROM THE RRAZZ ROOM

mike greensill: piano / arranger
John Wiitala: bass
Vince Lateano: drums

Recorded in live performance at the Rrazz Room
May 26th through 29th, 2011

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE



LIVE FROM THE RRAZZ ROOM

In the first few days of 2011, I noticed a pattern beginning to form indicating exceptionally challenging times at hand. Challenging on so many levels: financially to be sure, physically for so many, and most troubling of all, a challenge to any semblance of positive attitude - and increasing by the week. And as I write this in mid-September, the trend continues.

Occasional moments of peace and comfort are a fundamental necessity for all people, and this show was assembled in an attempt to create just such a refuge from such disconcerting circumstances. 'The Best things In Life', a line written by Lew Brown and Buddy De Sylva in 1927 reads in full, 'the best things in life are free' and the song became an unofficial anthem of the great depression years of the 1930s.

Such a philosophy in the midst of overwhelming and widespread despair might appear, on the surface, to be naïve.
This simplistic view is in fact true. The best things in life are free, and the power of that truth within these lyrics has made it possible for them to survive the test of time.

The American Songbook is timeless, and in developing this show for performance in San Francisco and New York, the resulting time travel through the 20th century felt nearly effortless because of the artistry and ability to 'tell the truth' these masterful composers unfailingly displayed.

In the spring of 2011, I had the privilege of appearing on stage and performing these songs nightly with three pals: Mike Greensill, John Wiitala and Vince Lateano. In addition to being fine musicians, they are also extraordinarily excellent human beings. Every performance was a celebration and meditation on the central theme, The Best Things In Life Are Free. This recording is a compilation of performances in the last week of May. Come join us.


THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE



David Wiegand
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, January 1, 2012


Wesla Whitfield once told me that she doesn't really like having to come up with themes for her shows, but it's something that club managers seem to think necessary for ticket sales. So Whitfield, one of the Bay Area's best singers, found a theme for her latest CD, "The Best Things in Life," recorded live at the Rrazz Room in May.
Theme-resistant though she may be, there's a particularly powerful link among the 13 songs on the album, recorded, of course, with husband Mike Greensill's trio, which includes Vince Lateano on drums and bassist John Wiitala.
The link is that all these songs are about facing challenges in life. As the saying goes, sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.
So we get the heartache of Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight," the wistfulness of Noel Coward's "Mad About the Boy" and the gleefully rollicking resolve of Patsy Montana's "Cowboy's Sweetheart," all delivered with Whitfield's crisply perfect phrasing and elegantly arranged by pianist Greensill.
One of the many secrets of Whitfield's success is that she can take the most emotionally bloated material and make it work anyway. Example: "Bein' Green," which you may think has been milked to death, until you hear Wesla bring it back to life.