NEW SONG - CLUELESS!For a while I wasn't sure I was ever going to achieve enough competence in enough areas to complete this tune. Hundreds of hours of listening to vintage jazz and an equal amount of time studying horn voicings, midi controllers and automation, counterpoint, and mostly just "How do you do this?" Even if you have great software and good virtual instruments, you still have to create your own procedures, and solve your own problems.
Some of the harmonies in this song may seem familiar, for good reason, because I stole the descender partly from "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and also from Armstrong's "Sleepy Time Down South." Steal from the best. But i did do something new with it.
Things are a lot easier with a keyboard. All the old Nellie music was 100 percent hand-drawn on piano roll. Whew! But it was time consuming, and the only way to be sure to get exactly the right rhythm in something, is to play it and record it.
I'm not sure where this song goes in the love story of Nellie and Danny, but most relationships have their rocky points, mostly because most relationships contain a man.
THIS IS IT!... Nellie's first new song in over 10 years! It took me months to collect all the tools I'd need to continue the project I started all these years ago. And then it took months for me to learn them. I still am learning them. But here's one new song added to the project "Backstage Musical" which I began in 2004 when I wrote and orchestrated "If I Never See You Again."
I certainly hope you enjoy this. It's a pretty silly song, but that's the point. I did everything I could to reproduce the late-30s Movietone Musical sound, and the band is styled after the pit orchestras that played for Fred Astaire and Dick Powell.
I still have a lot to learn, and the horns aren't really good yet, but here's a first draft so you can see where I'm going with this. This isn't raw MIDI like I used to do; it's all hand-tweaked just like the voices.
But the idea is still the same: Use the most modern digital equipment to synthesize the very organic music of days gone by. There's both irony and great fun in this.
THE STORY: (Stop me if you'v heard this one!) Nellie is starting out in show business, and Danny, a 3rd-rate song and dance man and would-be producer (but really a wealthy scion) has spotted her singing and (sort of) dancing in a little cabaret in the middle of Nowhere, NJ ("Sign Up for Love"), and decides she would be a great discovery. And perhaps more. Lots of music ensues. I hope.
They Work! Both the Nellie albums are up for listening!
Both 1999's LIVE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE and 2004's CHAMPAGNE are available for listening on the NELLIE ALBUMS page. There are the album covers, and clickable track lists. If you click the album cover, you will be taken to the first track! Once you're there, you can listen and page down to the next track. Pretty slick.
These capabilities just weren't available to me decades ago, and I had to be satisfied with putting some tunes up on amateur rock sites frequented only by wannabe-rockstars age 12 and below. They all said, in so many words, "WTF?"
OKAY! I said I was going to be doing some upgrading. First came essential software that needed to be upgraded. BUT THEN I needed better musicians to back up Nellie.
Here today for the first time in 12 years, NELLIE SINGS AGAIN!
This is ONLY A WARMUP .. ONLY A TEST! Nellie's old soundfonts have been replaced by Garritan Jazz and Big Band and Garritan Personal Orchestra ensembles. Not zillion-dollar professional samples but way beyond what we had. And now you're listening to the first test "recording."
This is NOT my arrangement! This arrangement is by Sammy Nestico and was programmed by Gary Wachtel. It's not my style at all. But it seemed like a good workout for my new instruments. So even though I didn't arrange the band, I did program the instruments themselves, and Nellie, and mixed it. It was a lot of work, and I have a lot more work ahead of me, as I get my own arranging skills backup to scratch, and keep twiddling around looking for that magic warm 1930s band sound I'm going to need.
But the important fact is still, Nellie and the Drummers are back at work. And with a MAJOR UPGRADE.
Back to the computer for more training.
I can't believe it, but I have all the tools now to open all the 15-20 year old files that I created Nellie and her world in.
Poser is up and running, and so is Lightwave (ugh!) and Digital Performer and my other music/MIDI/text to speech/text to Midi apps.
What I was worried about, was that the majority of my scene files (the Slaughterhouse, Nellie's apartment, all the stuff from the movie that didnt get made) were done in Strata Studio 2.5, a (presumed) long dead PowerPC application. The only records i had of the interiors of these long-ago designed sets were Quicktime Panorama movies of the Strata scenes. And now Quicktime VR and Quicktime 3D are long dead platforms that are unreadable.