MP3 Charlie ´Doc´ Stewart - The Joys of Christmas
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11 MP3 Songs in this album (44:15) !
Related styles: Holiday: Easy Listening, Holiday: Jazz, Mood: Christmas
People who are interested in Andy Williams Frank Sinatra Vic Damone should consider this download.
It seems appropriate that I should convey a little about my musical background and choice of material to anyone considering purchase of my CDs. As a young teenager I was impressed with various musical movie productions freaturing such entertainers as Gordon McCrea and Shirley Jones in "Oklahoma." I also enjoyed the trumpet playing of Harry Jones and the dancing of his lovely wife Betty Grable. Classical music also interested me as I played piano and later string bass in several district orchestra concerts.
My musical direction eventually bent toward Jazz. My friends and I played in a high school Big Band group emulating the sounds of Glenn Miller with great admiration for Stan Kenton.
Later I attended the University of Pittsburgh and during my pre-dental course participated in the Pitt Marching Band playing sousaphone and string bass in the concert band as well as performing in a string octet organized by Ace Arthurs who was the director of Pitt Marching Band. Benny Benack, a terrific trumpet player, was the assistant band director and also performed as a dynamic dixie trumpet artist supported by 120 piece band. We performed often during the Pitt football games during many of the spectacular autumn afternoons at old Pitt Stadium.
My interest in vocal productions evolved toward Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, and Andy Williams. Also, I was fortunate to join a regional Big Band headed by Frankie Barr whose real name was Lombardo. We backed many outstanding acts such as Mae West, the McGuire Sisters, the Four Aces, the Four Freshman (only for intros), Esther Kitt, Rosemary Clooney, Al Martino, Robert Goulet, and many others. My talent on Bass wasn't great. I had 3 lessions but became adequate enough that I held down the job.
Upon entering dental school, my studies did not permit playing 6 nights per week, but I did perform and start to sing and play Bass at a local Elks Club for 4 years every Saturday night. In those days every little club had entertainment of their own on Saturday. One gentlemen, who was a World War II vet, would travel every weekend from Baltimore and sit in the the 4 piece group and play several choruses of "Don't Take Your Love From Me." Later the group played a small roadside lounge and restaurant called the Blue Top. People would stop by early then later others would arrive at 1:00 AM and stay until 2:00 AM or later. Reluctantly I left the group which played standards of the 30's, 40's and 50's and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army Dental Corp. with an assignment in West Germany near Stuttgart. I was very fortunate to be assigned to a post where we provided dental treatment for approximately 20,000 soldiers. My spare time was spent playing piano and singing at the Officer's Club. At the time we were concerned about the threat from Russia and we joked that we were only 3 minutes by jet fighter from the Czechoslovakia which was occupied by the Russians.
In the military my days were occupied treating the soldiers, but my free time and leave time presented an opportunity for travel which included trips and visits to Moscow, Leningrad, Warsaw, Kiev, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Dublin, Paris, Rome, Florence, Athens, Barcelona, Majorca, and skiing in the German and Austrian Alps. All that time I kept playing music frequently with a military or German Jazz Group. On one occasion, my fellow officers and I heard Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald perform at the Leiden Hall, a once in a lifetime experience.
My interest in music never diminished. Upon returning to the States, I rejoined the Big Band with whom I had performed, but was now fronted by Jess Wilson, an outstanding vocalist, who once was hired with a band instead of Perry Como.
Gradually, my dental practice took command so I no longer played all the time, but continued weekend engagements. In the 80's, one year we played at 52 weddings which was not so stimulating, but none the less did provide a slight form of self-expression.
Around 1980, I went to Nashville and did an album entitled "Ain't It Just Like Me, including a tune entitled "You are the Song" written by Charlie Chaplin. This album led to a performance on a Pittsburgh Television Station, KDKA, with Donna Hanover who later married Rudy Guliani, former mayor of New York, New York.
In 2009 I decided to do a group of tunes from the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's. One tune was "Love With a Proper Stranger" written by Elmer Berntein who had done the film score for the movie "On the Waterfront" with Marlon Brando. My wife Diane and I always enjoyed the tune, although it never received public acceptance. Jack Jones and Neil Diamond have also recorded the song. The arrangment was written by John Wilson, a World War II soldier, trumpet player with Benny Goodman, a graduate of Columbia Music School, Dean of the Duquesne University Jazz Department and director of his own Jazz Band. The Studio Group on this production included 10 core musicians and added a young lady on vibes, conga and bongo drums. We emphasized Cole Porter tunes and other gems from earlier years. I'm sure my singing was influenced by Crosby, Sinatra, Vic Damone, Ed Ames, Andy Williams, and even Elvis. Undoubtedly, I didn't approach their artistry, but I made the CD as a tribute to past composers, lyricists, and male vocalists of a bygone era.
In 2010 at the recommendation of Eric Susoeff, John Wilson, and I put together a list of traditional Christmas songs with a Big Band background with some success and reminiscent of past and enduring performances. John Wilson created many outstanding arrangements with a more contemporary rhythm. Eric Susoeff, an exceptionally talented guitarist, and I concluded the CD with 3 holiday favorites featuring voice and guitar.
It is my hope that the background of my life and musical interest may encourage you to purchase my CDs "Love is Everything," my own composition, which is dedicated to my wife and also the holiday album "The Joys of Christmas." If you like the sounds of the past, evoking special memories, and tributes to musical greats, these albums will present musically surprising hours of relaxed echoes of yesterday.
- Charlie Doc Stewart
in partnership with CDbaby
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