(click song title above to listen)
This past week we celebrated the 111th anniversary of the birth of legendary librettist and lyricist, Dorothy Fields. Born in Allenhurst, New Jersey on July 15th 1905, Fields became a fiercely prolific and beloved figure in musical theater and film music.
With over 400 songs to her credit, Dorothy’s best known standards are among the most recognizable of any in the American musical canon including: “The Way You Look Tonight” (Jerome Kern), “A Fine Romance” (Kern), “On The Sunny Side of the Street” (Jimmy McHugh), and “Big Spender” (Cy Coleman).
Seesaw is the title tune of the last Broadway musical Fields would work on in her long career before her death in 1973. Seesaw was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1974, winning two (Best Actor for Tommy Tune and Best Choreography); the female lead, Michelle Lee, won Best Actress at that year’s Drama Desk Awards.
This week’s version is a stunner by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek fame and our über-talented compadre, pianist/producer Dave Palmer. In 2009, Sara Watkins released her first self-titled solo record (produced by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin) to tremendous acclaim, firmly establishing her as a solo artist who has only scratched the surface of her creative output. July 1, 2016 saw the release of Watkins’ stellar third solo album, Young In All The Wrong Ways “reintroducing her as a writer/artist of uncommon eloquence and consequence.” – Uncut Magazine. We couldn’t agree more!
Cy Coleman & Dorothy Fields at the piano – Sardi’s Restaurant early 1970s.
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Jul 20 2016
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1973 saw the debut of Seesaw – a musical play based on the William Gibson play Two for the Seesaw, featuring songs from Cy Coleman and his frequent collaborator, the legendary Dorothy Fields. A critical hit, the play ran for a year on Broadway before launching a successful regional run. The production was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1974, winning two (Best Actor for Tommy Tune and Best Choreography); the female lead, Michelle Lee, won Best Actress at that year’s Drama Desk Awards.
Dave Palmer, the producer and arranger of the Cy Coleman tribute album “The Best Is Yet To Come,” recently went into the studio with the brilliant Sara Watkins to tackle the play’s title tune, and we love their take on it… transforming the tale into a heartbreaking pop ballad.
Watkins came to public consciousness as a member of Nickel Creek, an acoustic trio who’s natural musicianship and stellar vocals propelled them to great success and critical response, fusing their bluegrass roots into a contemporary sound that became all their own. In 2009, after a handful of records with Nickel Creek, Sara released her first self-titled solo record (produced by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin) to tremendous acclaim, firmly establishing her as a solo artist who has only scratched the surface of her creative output. A side note: Sara and Dave Palmer also collaborated on another Cy composition, “Too Many Tomorrows,” on the aforementioned Cy Coleman tribute album.
For a jazzier version of this classic, check out this The Bill Evans Trio take from 1974.
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May 25 2011
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Dec 16 2010