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© Philippe Levy-Stab/Corbis
“We were having a conversation in the studio one day, Michael Thompson, Richard Davis and I, and somebody asked, ‘What’s the most laid-back record you’ve ever heard?’ And I’m thinking and thinking, and then I go, ‘Ray Charles, Drown In My Own Tears, Atlanta Jazz Festival.’ This song was so back, man – you could have lunch and a cigarette during some of the chord changes.
“But Richard Davis asks me, ‘Have you ever heard Here’s To Life by Shirley Horn?’ And like a knucklehead, I went, ‘Who’s Shirley Horn?’ And then he told me that she was a famous jazz vocalist/pianist, a contemporary of Miles Davis – one of the great ladies of jazz.
“I listened to Here’s To Life and went, ‘Wow, what a journey this is!’ Ups and downs, quiets and bigs – it was awesome. So we were making the record, we got a few things down, and I was getting a bit braver. I asked the guys, ‘Can we try Here’s To Life?’ So we tried it and were very surprised and happy with how it went.
Check this out: We brought in Alan Broadbent to do the orchestration, and I told him, ‘Alan, the song’s got no time, there’s no drummer. I’m sure when Shirley Horn did it, she probably just played with her bassist – you know, she played piano and sang, and they did the orchestration after that.’ And Alan said, ‘Glenn, you’ve got that half-right. She only sang – I played the piano.’
“So here I’ve got the guy who played piano on the original! There was something celestial about that.”