Friday, April 23, 2010

R.I.P.: Gene Lees

(born Frederick Eugene Lees on February 8, 1928 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;
died on January 22, 2010, in Ojai, California, USA)
Reminiscences about my dear friend (and idol) Gene Lees published yesterday by renowned jazz historian Doug Ramsey on his essential Rifftides blog. I'm devastated.

His books, essays, lyrics, records and liner notes were always superlative works.
Our mutual friend, producer Creed Taylor, usually referred to him as a "jazz guru." Btw, Gene wrote the notes for several great albums produced by Creed for Impulse! ("Getz Au Go Go," "The Gary McFarland Orchestra - Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans"), Verve ("Getz/Gilberto") and CTI, the last one being the all-star project "Rhythmstick" in 1989.

A friend of Antonio Carlos Jobim (Gene wrote the English lyrics for many of his tunes, including my favorite one, "Double Rainbow," and Diana Krall's personal favorite "Quiet Nights") and João Gilberto, he first met both masters in a rainy night in May 1962, signed the texts for the legendary "Getz/Gilberto" in 1963, and later to "The Best of Two Worlds," the second - and last - studio date by Gilberto and Stan Getz, released by Columbia in 1975. Gene was always proud to comment that "Stan, Jobim and I are all Aquarians."

Gene also did the wonderful set of notes for the 4-CD box set "Claus Ogerman: The Man Behind the Music," for Universal in 2002. Let's hear it. And read it. RIP.

No comments: