Hollywood In Vienna

Hollywood In Vienna

The first part of this NDR Euro tour has a wonderful first stopover in gorgeous Vienna. What a lady. I’ve been invited to sing 2 songs to Lalo Schifrin at the Schifrin Tribute for his amazing collection of film music. Mannix, Dirty Harry, Godfather, Mission Impossible, The Fox. I told Lalo with a real sense of quiet pride that I had been singing the theme song from The Fox (That Night), since 1967. I saw the movie, heard the theme, and my eyes rolled back in my forehead and I got transported away and I still get there today. So that singin’ was for Lalo, but for me too. It’s packed with the emotions of those days including a new and important musical section with a guitar player only. Julio and I went exploring. Along the way we found Elton John, James Taylor, but we also found Laura Nero, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and The Beatles coming of age… and lots of Brazilian bossa nova samba. (A new life for me: Music only. Committed. Sunshine mornings for writing and playing music, not going to a classroom or office building. Wow!)

Lalo is a gracious, gentle, warm person born and raised in Brazil. Film music. If you’re not careful, film music can almost elude you; as it should in many instances. It should flow seamlessly adding to the emotions of the scene in most places, but then in other places it should just fire up your fight or flight instincts. Everyone knows “duh, duh, duh” from Jaws. And just like we all know the bloody shower scene from, “Psycho,” with the screeching violins. Anyway, Lalo is part of that wonderfully unheralded roomful of film composers who have been an essential part of modern entertainment, and perhaps America’s biggest export.

The whole thing is a gala production with a red carpet reception lined with photographers and videographers behind a red rope. Real Oscar-like. And an hour and a half performance of Lalo Schifrin’s great music themes. And I got to sing, “The Fox.” And I can tell you, if it wasn’t special for them, it was special for me. The whole day I found myself inside the song and getting into the mood.

I even missed the beautiful opera singer in the wonderful and beautiful young opera singer with who thrilled the audience with her string-like wordless singing tones that Lalo wrote.

Finally how wonderful it is to remember the chance, but not so by chance, meeting at the elevator when Lalo said to me, “Al Jarreau, you’re one of my favorite singers.” I grew several inches taller.

How can there be so much great, “heart stuff,” in such a brief moment at the Schifrin celebration?

The background singers, Andy, Monica, and Maria were rehearsing their parts for, “We’re In This Love Together.” I could hear this through an atrium shaft, though they were 2 floors below me. I peaked out into the shaft, and sang a line, and suddenly there we were together singing, “We’re In This Love Together,” in an atrium shaft… How likely. Can you picture it?

Well, we could and did picture it and savored on camera this outrageous, unusual moment. We ended the night with a chat between Lalo, his wife, and me sitting on an elevated couch with press and cameramen asking us everything you can guess. What a life. Thank you Lalo. Some day you will know how important your little fox was to me, and what I became and who I am. It’s that important. Unashamed, unfrightened, proud tenderness. Thank you Norman Gimbel, lyricist. Thank you Nat King Cole. Thank you Johnny Matthis. These are the guys who sang tenderness as men, unashamed and straightforward. Thank you for everything!

Love, Al

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