His Momma Named Him Cassius
Hey Soul Mates,
Up to now my favorite arranger/orchestrator for pop music has been pianist Clare Fischer. He's done brilliant arrangements for Prince, McCartney, The Family, Tony Toni Tone and the Jacksons. Mr. Fischer's stamp is all over the score for Under The Cherry Moon. Sweeping strings and suspended counterpoints. Shoot, do I know what I'm talking about? Not really, it's just the feel. I've often told myself that I wanted Mr. Fischer to do arranging for Rush Hour Soul.
Well, I discovered another very talented arranger, named Cassius Richmond. He's a saxophonist associated with fellow Detroit jazzman James Carter. Richmond did some very lush orchestrations for Carter's disc Gardenias For Lady Day, a tribute to Billie Holiday. His work is very tasteful, yet full of unexpected strokes like Fischer's. Thanks to Bryan for my iTunes gift card, I've downloaded a couple of tracks from the CD and they are spectacular.
The Elusive Cassius Richmond.
I first heard a cut from Gardenias driving around Atlanta with my Dad a couple Christmases ago. It really stood out to my ears and I scribbled down the artist's name. The disc had just been released at the time or was about to be, so I just filed the info into the back of my mind. So this week, I was surfing iTunes and there was (most) of the record. Which brings up my beef with iTunes: license a whole damn album. Not just some of the tracks. Anyway, I've given repeated listenings to Sunset and Where Our Love Has Gone and Richmond's arrangements are breathtaking. Sunset is particularly evocative of a romantic, mid-20th Century that probably never existed. There's something of Gershwin, Bernstein and Strayhorn in his work, yet it has a modern sensibility.
**Credit for the string conducting and some of the arrangements must go to bassist Greg Cohen. Further research pointed me toward Mr. Cohen's contribution to the record. I've gotten several of the tracks and the strings are hot on all of the cuts, regardless of the arranger. Gotta give props to both of these wonderful talents.
There is virtually no info on line about Mr. Richmond and his listed credits are sparse. Mr. Richmond, if you are out there, I'm feeling you. We have some arranging we'd like you to do. Mr. Cohen, if you'll handle the baton...
Of course, the dream is still to hear Mr. Fischer's handiwork with our songs.
Love, Power, Peace