Unedited liner notes for City By Night

[pix_dropcap]W[/pix_dropcap]hen I first met Sue Moreno in a working situation, I was floored by her professionalism and attention to every aspect of her art. I was familiar with some her work and was quite impressed. I found myself secretly hoping I could do a pop/jazz record with her. This dream became a reality after I expressed interest in cutting our version of Fever which we performed on an Elvis tribute tour (featuring several of king’s sidemen) in Europe in 2011. Miss Moreno brought the house down night after night with her stark and sensual reading of the classic. The performance was indisputably the high point of the concert. I was thrilled that she was interested in my suggestion to the point of venturing to Nashville after a festival in Wisconsin later that year. I decided to put a few musicians that I worked with regularly into my favorite local Studio: The Fry Pharmacy. This studio does not resemble the fancy, cutting edge studios in Nashville. In fact, it looks quite rough and not just around the edges. The Fry Pharmacy was an actual drug store that closed its doors in 1962. Scott McEwen and Phil Hummer opened the doors for the first time in 44 years. Scott immediately without any renovation (beyond fixing the plumbing and a leaky roof) began moving in tape machines and equipment with unbelievable historical significance. Here I found a commitment to old recording techniques unequaled in a town with hundreds of recording studios. It was this attention to detail that inspired me to do my Chris Casello Trio project there .The recording philosophy at the Fry is about the artist and the performance, not the producer or God forbid the computer. Scott wanted to capture the sound and the moment on analog tape. In both our opinions anybody can do a perfect record. But it is the imperfections that make a real human being and ergo a classic, real recording. The details here were in the techniques used to capture it not in being perfect. Enter Sue Moreno an artist committed to ideals once thought of as common necessity to anyone serious about a career in performing arts. I would like to say pre 1960s, but that’s unfair because many of the great singers, dancers, band leaders, arrangers and composers have careers still going and fine works still appear to date. I like to equate her with old Hollywood and the days of star development in the great studios. There is that style and glamour yes, but in those days everyone could sing, dance and act. It was expected of any professional. Sue Moreno has all those bases covered. Always appearing and sounding perfect (she doesn’t own pair of blue jeans don’t expect her to perform in anything but the finest custom designed dresses). Sue is trained in many forms of dance and the dramatic arts, but for me, it was the sound. Sue’s phrasing and tone are just not heard today, I am afraid to guess at how many country divas are recorded in my town daily that belt it out right over the top. I challenge you to find any of them that have the control, technique and attention to the details Sue Moreno has mastered. This also translates to her appearance and image. One word comes to mind “style “. I cringe at the expression “pin up” because someone with this degree of commitment to details should not be cast into the category of nostalgia or campy retro. Sue is a knock out brunette but has somehow avoided the trashy and stayed with the classy. The first recordings turned out so well we knew we were on to something good. In a few months Sue returned to complete an entire record. Writing originals was a bit difficult with her in the Netherlands and me in the States, but it was our common musical backgrounds and our love of the style of the mid 20th that was the focus. Sue and I have both recorded rockabilly records and she has had some collaboration with other guitarists, but I wanted Sue to do what she did best: sultry pop jazz singing, torch songs and uncanny harmonies. I knew I had to bring the proper sound and accompaniment without distraction, using the guitar to add entertainment to each piece, also adding a little blues to the mix- without which it’s not an American recording. It all worked: the old school approach to recording with all its imperfections and unpredictable outcomes. Then combine this with Sue’s extensive focus, preparation and near perfect technique. Finally bring in cold some of my favorite musicians Jimmy Lester, Al Hill, Johnny d’Artenay, Dave Roe and Sam Kallaos and let them go.

I love this record. It’s all in the details.

Chris Casello 2012

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Original and Complete liner notes for City By Night

[pix_dropcap]I[/pix_dropcap]’m happy Sue asked me to write the ‘liner notes’ for this great new album she’s finished in collaboration with Chris Casello and some other very gifted musicians who have contributed to this wonderful project. Sue, Chris, and myself were on tour together in Europe. On May 12th 2010, just before our show in Poland, Sue received the terrible news that her father had unexpectedly passed away. We were all in shock after hearing this, and gathered around her to give whatever comfort we could provide. Not long before this happened, we opened our tour together in Eindhoven, Holland, where I had the pleasure of meeting her father and mother at the show that evening. Sue went on stage that night, just shortly after receiving the devastating news about her dad, and did the show in his honor. We were all very proud of her strength, determination, and the wonderful performance she gave in tribute to her papa that evening. Sue’s father is the one who inspired her musical tastes, which run from Ella to Elvis and many other styles of music in between. Sue has a very special approach to the music she sings. On this new collaboration, she is amply backed by Chris Casello’s solid playing, arrangements, and his tasty guitar work though out the album, along with Johnny D’Artenay, Jimmy Lester, Sam Kallaos, Dave Roe, and Al Hill … Bringing back memories of the ‘old standards’ I love, plus some wonderful new originals as well. Some of the song selections for this CD had previously been suggested to Sue by her father: “Broken Hearted Melody”, (a true favorite of mine that was a big hit for my dear friend, the late Sarah Vaughn) “Dream A Little Dream” and, “I’m Looking Out The Window”… Plus four brand new “originals” written by Sue and Chris. The originals are especially nice. “Man Of Many Promises” and “My Love Has Gone,” are songs of unrequited love. “My Love Has Gone” could have easily been written as a sad ballad in a minor key, but instead, Sue and Chris wrote it in an uptempo happy attitude, saying “bye bye to love.” Nice lyrics and good music .. The band is really jumping on this one .. I love the keyboard solo too. “Polynesian Blues,” is another nice “original touch” that broadens the theme of this great collection of songs and reminds me of, ‘Harry Owens and The Royal Hawaiians’ TV shows of the late 40’s .. “I’ll Never Be The Same” is a personal song Chris and Sue wrote that she sings to her father. It’s like a ‘letter’ to him; and to be quite honest, for me at least, it was a bit difficult hearing the anguish and pain in her voice as she sings this song. Truly touching .. The songs and over-all flavor on this great new CD, bring back memories of the days when Les Paul and Mary Ford songs played on my radio, and ushered in the new era of “over-dubbing”, sound on sound-multi-track recordings with Les Paul leading the way (with his inventing of the solid body guitar and experimenting with tape delay). Sue’s father left her a rich legacy of music that she proudly carries on and shares with us on this wonderful new CD she and Chris have done together.

It has a soothing flavor I really enjoyed ..

Enjoy .. Michael Jarrett.

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