Apr 7, 2015
The great jazz tradition of family members – and brothers, in particular - continues this month with the release of the new CD from Ralph and Dr. Dave Lalama, the Lalama Brothers, The Crepuscule Variations (Or Songs Our Parents Gave Us). The brothers had released a fine CD entitled Erie Avenue a few years back, but this time have made the recording a true family affair. The recordings are all duets between Ralph’s sax and Dave’s piano, joined on a number of tracks by Ralph’s wife, vocalist Nicole Pasternack Lalama.
The results are wonderfully intimate presentations of tunes from the Great American Songbook, supplemented by a few Sixties standards like “The Shadow of Your Smile.” Dave explains in the podcast that these were songs they learned literally at their mother’s feet, listening as the professional singer turned housewife sang her way through her daily chores. When she passed, Ralph and Dave’s father – a weekend drummer in his own right - gave them a list of songs that she had loved, and the result is this tribute CD of sorts.
Both Ralph and Dave are veterans of the jazz scene, having made their bones as featured players in Big Bands and as teachers in New York schools and Universities. You’ve heard Ralph with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Joe Lovano and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Dave has been the musical director for singers like Eddie Jefferson and Anita O’Day. Nicole is a perennial favorite at NYC's Birdland with Lew Anderson's All American Big Band.
It was a treat to get all three performers on the line together for Podcast 480, where we discuss the genesis of the project, why Dave chose the title of the CD, and which tune they think is the best on the CD (hint – a Bacharach & David classic). Musical selections from The Crepuscule Variations include “The Shadow of Your Smile,”; “All of Me”, “A House is Not a Home” and “Here’s that Rainy Day.”