Thursday, December 13, 2012

O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree)

Sigh.  Ten years of German language instruction, and pretty much all that I can remember is the first two choruses of  O Tannenbaum.  And those are mostly remembered from Grandpa George and not from classes!  

The modern lyrics are due to Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz, written in 1824. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat schon zur Winterzeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

Here is a favorite Christmas tree picture from years past

My other story about the german language involves my first-ever trip to Germany.  I went to Heidelberg on a business trip several years ago.  For some reason,  I have one german phrase that has remained in my mind all of these years.  It is from my seventh grade lesson.  The phrase is "wer ist denn dass da druben?",  which means in English:  "who is that over there?"   I was determined to do two things on my first trip to Germany:

1) Have real wiener schnitzel
2) Use my one phrase in conversation before I left the country

The opportunity presented itself at the Christmas party of the company that I was visiting.  They happened to have a very good jazz band playing with a fairly accomplished piano player.   With beer in hand,  I leaned over to one of my partner colleagues,  pointed to the piano player, and said "wer is denn dass da druben?"  He started answering me back in high-speed german before realizing that I had no idea what he was saying.  But victory was mine!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Geek Alert

The gospel ending on this piece was a great idea and comes courtesy of my piano teacher Ed.  Thanks!
I went through many versions of this song, from organ trio, to David Sanborn 80's retro sound.  I finally came to the conclusion that my solo would only sound good as vibes with a tube amp.   So this is how I wound up with the smooth-as-a-gravy-sandwich sound that you are hearing.   I am playing the piano and the electric piano with the vibes/tube amp sound.

If you are wondering about the strange intro and ending vamp,  my arrangement is GM7, Db+, FM7/C, GM11/C, BbM11, A+, Ab6, Bb7sus/F, Bb7

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas Time Is Here  is one of the favorite holiday songs for piano players.  There are many great Holiday tunes that make for good jazz covers,  but Christmas Time Is Here has got to be the only famous Christmas song that was actually written and made famous as a piano jazz trio recording.     Hearing Vince Guaraldi play this is still awe inspiring.  In particular, whatever it is that he is doing on the intro and ending to make that trill sound is spectacular.  You've got to love it! 

A Charlie Brown Christmas is an album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, released in 1965 as the soundtrack to the CBS Christmas television special of the same name. It is among the most popular Christmas music albums of all time. There was also a book-and-record set featuring music, dialogue and stills from the Christmas special released in 1977 on a 33 RPM vinyl record by CBS Records.  Christmas Time Is Here was released as a track on this album.

The song also brings back lots of personal memories for me, as I'm sure it does for everyone of a certain age in the US (among those who celebrate Christmas).  Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special,  listening to Vince Guaraldi, and then coming down the stairs on Christmas morning - these are indelible memories....

Here is a picture of my sisters and me coming down the stairs expectantly on Christmas morning.

Updated to a recent century,  here were my kids performing the same routine in 2003.

Which also happened to be the same Christmas that a piano first came into our home.....

Vince Guaraldi

Geek Alert

This is a difficult song for crafting a decent solo.  It is a jazz waltz that has long duration altered (b5) chords that seem to call for whole tone scales in the improvisation. This is OK,  but I found it difficult to make the solo sound like a good alternate melodic line rather than just some notes.  I'm not sure that my guitar soloist came up with the best linear solo on this material either :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Waltz For Debby

One of my all time favorite jazz piano songs is "Waltz for Debby" by Bill Evans.  It was first recorded on Evans's 1956 album New Jazz Conceptions and, perhaps more famously, on his 1961 live album Waltz For Debby. It has been recorded by many artists, both as an instrumental and as a vocal piece. The song's lyrics were written by Gene Lees. "Debby" in the song title refers to Evans' niece, Debby Evans. This song, and the Evan's trio performance of it has always defined for me the essence of what it means for a piano trio to swing hard - real hard.

But done as a ballad, it is also a beautiful tune.  The duet that Evans and Tony Bennett perform is magical.  It was listening to this duet that I first became familar with the lyrics.   I misunderstood one of the lyrics (purposefully?) for years.  The second stanza starts:  "Lives my favorite girl".  I always thought that Tony was saying "Liv's my favorite girl".  I figured that he was personalizing the song in some way.  Since my daughter's name is Liv,  the lyrics had that extra personal meaning to me.  You know what?  I'm keeping the lyrics the way that my mind heard them!

In her own sweet world
Populated by dolls and clowns
and a prince and a big purple bear.

Liv's my favorite girl,
unaware of the worried frowns
that we weary grown ups all wear.

In the sun she dances to silent music,
songs that are spun of gold
somewhere in her own little head.

One day all too soon
she'll grow up and she'll leave her dolls
and her prince and her silly old bear.

When she goes they will cry
as she whispers "Good-bye."
They will miss her I fear
but then so will I.

Geek Alert

This is quite a difficult song to play and to make good arrangement for as an amateur.  It starts out as a waltz in 3/4 time, but then turns into a 4/4 swing tempo.  During the waltz section, you are playing the "slash" chords and several different voicings.  I am also making use of George Shearing chords, which are bracketed by an octave and have the chord tensions in the middle.  During the 4/4 swing section there are different chords which are centered around the cycle of fifths.  I'm making some substitutions so that I can make the chord shells go down chromatically in most cases.  This way I can keep up at the fast speeds while trying to solo. 

I wanted to put another soloist in here, but after adding an intro, and elongating the ending, there just wasn't enough time where it wouldn't be obnoxious.  Next time....     

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Autumn Leaves is one of the most well-known jazz standards, and certainly one of my favorites. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1947. The song is most often played as an up-tempo swing number. There are so many great versions that I could not even begin to name them all, or even to pick favorites.

But Autumn Leaves is not an up-tempo swing number for me. This wonderfully written song reminds me only of the loss of my parents as a teenager. It reminds me of each of us sitting in that chair in the living room watching the autumn leaves coming down and feeling that deep sense of loss. The kids feeling the loss of the parents and the grandparents feeling the loss of their kids.

There are other songs that remind me of this time too, but Autumn Leaves gets to me like no other. So for this blog post I'm doing something a little bit different. I've got a snapshot montage of the very few pictures that I have of them provided by my sister Peggy. I am accompanying with an understated version of Autumn Leaves with string orchestra.

(If you want to watch the movie, just press stop on the audio player first :-) 

The one version of Autumn Leaves that must be called out is by the late vocalist Eva Cassidy. She performs this with only acoustic guitar. It is simply beautiful. I made a version of this slide show with her singing which is, of course, much better than what I can do - but hey this is my blog after all :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beautiful Love

Sometimes good songs come to you by serendipity rather by design.  My most recent project is going rather poorly, mostly due to engineering difficulties.  I can't figure out how to make the recordings of guitar and piano work well together in the way that I hear them in my head.

In frustration I decided to open the Real Book to a random page and just play whatever I found there.  Good players do that all the time I suppose, but that is something that I've never really done.  What I came up with was a Bill Evans tune that I never heard before called Beautiful Love.  

I thought that I heard most everything that Bill Evans had done, but I never heard this one.  He did not actually write it.  It was composed in 1931 by Victor Young, Wayne King, E. Van Alstyne with lyrics by Haven Gillespie.  Bill recorded it on his Explorations album.  This is a really fun song to play and a great one to listen to Bill play.  I can't believe that I missed it all of this time!

There are precious few other covers of Beautiful Love.   I'm not sure what accounts for that.

Explorations was the second album Evans recorded with his trio of Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Evans considered it one of his favorites from this period. Keepnews in the liner notes talks about the two extra pieces released on CD, "Beautiful Love (take 1)" and "The Boy Next Door"; the first version of "Beautiful Love" to be included in the original LP was a second take, in fact as Keepnews specifies, "it is not the usual case of a second attempt that immediately followed the first. Early in this date, he played this number once; we both approved, and he moved on to something else. Much later, he decided to try a second "Beautiful Love", which he later preferred." "The Boy Next Door" was instead set aside, at the time, because of the limited space of LP support.

Geek Alert
There are some interesting chord voicings with octaves in the melody as suggested by my teacher Ed.
I added a Dm6 vamp in the turnaround and ending

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summertime Bebop

As I am experimenting with playing new songs and arrangements,  I often record them for posting on this blog.  The experiments naturally wind up as a mixed bag of results.   On my computer I keep the recorded results in different file directories.  If I feel that a version of the arrangement (and performance) is good enough for posting, then that is good.  The song gets saved in multiple locations including in the ubiquitous "Cloud".

I also have a "Bad" file for songs that just are not going to make it.  This is usually because I'm not good enough to play the arrangement that I want yet,  or I spent too much time on it and I'm wasting valuable time with my lessons so I want to move on.  But if it is in the "Bad" file there is some redeeming quality where I think I can come back later and make another run at it.

Then there are the rare few that don't even make it into the "Bad" file.  Those are really not good.  In general, the whole idea for the song is probably just never going to work.  These are apt to just get deleted.

Summertime Bebop  was one of the ones that didn't make it to the "Bad" file.  I was recently on the verge of deleting all of the files for it, but decided to listen to it once before deleting.  I found myself wondering why I didn't consider this good enough to be bad?  I worked on it last year, and like the sound of it now.

Then I remembered why it was put on the junk heap:  the feedback that I got was that Summertime is supposed to be approached as seriously as a heart attack.  The Gershwin classic been recorded over 25,000 times making it the most recorded popular song in history.   You can wring every once of emotion out of it as a slow number.  You can swing it, or play it in any fast style as long you bring every bit of chops that you have and make a standout statement full of sweat and drained of energy.  But what you can't do is treat it as a  low-cal snack that sounds cute.  That was the criticism of my version.  I really didn't see any way to fix that in this version, so it didn't make it to the "Bad" file. 

But at the end of the day, you like what you like - so I saved this one from death.  I hope you like it.....      

Geek Alert

This arrangement is done with a bebop quartet that features both piano and guitar.  Normally you would not have the guitar player doing chords while the piano player is also playing some chords,  but in this style it makes the groove work without clashing if you can be tasteful about it.

Wes Montgomery quartet with Piano and Guitar

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A House Is Not A Home

A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sittin' there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there's no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight 

A House Is Not a Home was written in 1964 by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and recorded by Dionne Warwick. Not many people heard it though, since it peaked out at #71 on the US pop singles charts. People really started becoming familiar with the song when it was covered by R&B singer Luther Vandross, whose version became an R&B hit in 1981. His performance of the song at the NAACP Awards telecast brought Warwick to tears.

The song has also been frequently featured on the popular television show American Idol, with performances by Tamyra Gray, Ruben Studdard, Anwar Robinson (my favorite version), Elliott Yamin (love his too) and Jacob Lusk.

Bill Evans recorded the song for his 1977 album I Will Say Goodbye and other notable jazz musicians such as Sonny Rollins have performed and recorded the song—it has thus acquired the status of a jazz standard.  

But my real inspiration to try this song was the incredible version done by David Hazletine.  While normally done as as a ballad,  he really smokes this thing.  He has a swingin' hot trio arrangement,  drum solos,  and signature licks throughout.  I feel like I am cheating on Bill Evans by liking this one so much,  but such is life. Once again,  trying to play an arrangement like this is quite beyond where I am, but it is a lot of fun to try!   Coming up with an arrangement is an accomplishment by itself even if you can't play it very well at these speeds.  Coaxing my virtual band-mates to play such an arrangement is another accomplishment.   

So yes, I have a swingin' hot arrangement and drum solos.  Just no signature licks.  But if you have the right framework, it is very listenable anyway.

Geek Alert

The song hums along at 191 beats per minute, which is definitely the fastest on that I've ever tried.  You can tell from some of the awkwardness in certain solo sections that velocity of chord changes was more than I can effectively handle.
This was the first time that I tried incorporating drum solos.  The arrangement called for a strange trading pattern where the drummer plays 12 bars, piano 8, drummer, 12, piano 8,drummer 8, piano 8, drummer 12.
On top of that my drummer can only trade 4's.  So  I needed to sample a number of his solos and mix the best ones together into solos of the right length.  Sheesh. 

There is some trick(s) to making the little piano solos in between the drums solos sound like jazz.  I'm not sure what they are.  I tried ending the phrase with a descending 5th.  That sounds like something.  There is just some casualness to the way that you end that makes it sound right.  I guess you just have to listen a lot to  the way good players do it.    

David Hazeltine
Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Bill Evans

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Days of Wine and Roses

Sometimes hearing a great player performing a tune that you don't like can completely change your opinion of the song.  The Days of Wine and Roses turned out to be one of those jazz songs for me.  I never really liked this song.  It always seemed pretty schmaltzy to me.  Or maybe people were playing it as just an obligatory standard to get through the night playing some boring gig.  At any rate, I've always stayed away from it, even when I was playing a bit of guitar.

But then, as seems so often these days, I heard David Hazeltine play the song on his Classic Trio album and I started hearing it differently.   It went right on the "must try this someday" list.  The energy he plays it with and the little hooks that he employs just draws you in.  I stole as much as possible for the arrangement presented here.

David Hazeltine

"Days" was written by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

The phrase "days of wine and roses" is originally from the poem "Vitae Summa Brevis" by the English writer Ernest Dowson (1867–1900):

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
   Out of a misty dream
   Our path emerges for a while,  then closes
   Within a dream.

Geek Alert

This is a classic swing style arrangement.  One of the hooks that I think make it so compelling is the pedaled bass on the 5th (C in this case) that leads from the legato intro into the swing portion of the song.  When that resolves down to the the root for the beginning of the swing melody, it just sounds - like jazz.

I thought a vibes player joining me would add a lot of color.  What do you think?

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PGMusic.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teach Me Tonight

I always thought that the song is Teach Me Tonight was an original by Al Jarreau since I first heard it in in 1981.  It was the last song on his Breakin' Away album, which is one of the great jazz vocal records of all time (IMO).  This is also the album that has We're In This Love Together on it.  That is my wedding song with my beautiful bride of thirty years, Celia.  C'mon -  who had a hipper, jazzier wedding song than that!

Well, just as most kids find out that their favorite tune by a pop idol is actually on its third remake,  I came to find out that  Teach Me Tonight was written in 1953 by Gene De Paul with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. The biggest hit version of the song was recorded by The DeCastro Sisters, charting in 1954.

I was psyched in 2006 to hear Elliot Yamin perform the song for American Idol as part of Songs of the 50's night during the show's fifth season. He killed it.

But this has always been a singers song. It is kind of hard to find any good instrumental versions - particularly the way that I wanted to try doing it. The few jazz piano versions are fast swing tempo styles, and I wanted to do this more as a nightclub ballad with just a bass player.

I did find a nice cut from George Winston that I stole a lick from.
Geek Alert

This attempt is just piano and bass.  Playing with just a bass player takes some getting used to.  When the bass player is doing his thing, it is not always as obvious where the beat is as when you have a trio.  I definitely got tripped up a few times.  It caused me to square up the improvising much more than intended to do.  It was a fun experiment that I will continue to work on it.

I must also acknowledge my ubiquitous vocal collaborator, Cliff.  You can hear Cliff loud and clear on this track and most other blog posts that I've done.  I guess if I'm being honest, you would have to call this one a trio and not a duo number :-)

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Speak Low

My approach to learning jazz piano has been to continually try new songs that I've always wanted to learn, new ideas,  different styles, etc.  Before I'm finished with the experience, I'll record the song for posterity and move on.  I virtually never revisit a song I've spent time on.  There are too many other songs to learn!  

The reality is that I'm never going to be playing any type of live music, so developing a "set" of tunes to play or the techniques to quickly play any song in any key on a moment's notice has always seemed to be one of those profound wastes of time that would make me quit playing.   That is a lot of work for something that I'll never use.

But every once in a blue moon,  the occasion will present itself where I might be asked to play someone's piano.  And you know what - there is not a single song that I can just sit down and play.  Not.  One.  Single. Song.  Not even Happy Birthday.  Even if I had the music to a song I know, it would take me at least 20 minutes to practice it before I could get through it I'll bet.  Best case. So I've decided that I need to pick one song that can be the song that I can just sit down and play.  

But how to choose such a song?  Here were my criteria:

1)  It had to be easy.  Especially the melody.  Lots of chords and a complicated melody are not going to make for easy remembering
2)  It can't be TOO identifiable.  If I picked a melody as familiar as say "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", every six-year-old and above would know that I was making a massive number of mistakes.
3)  I should be able to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it.  As I get better,  I should be able to do it slow, fast, swing, latin,  bass lines, whatever I've learned
4)  If there is another musician present, they would probably know this song too.

I cranked the songs that I like through this algorithm, and the one that spit out was Speak Low  by Kurt Weill.
In the inaugural sit-down with Speak Low for this blog post,  we start out with a rubato verse,  then an improv verse mostly characterized by root-up-to-9th voicings,  then some walking bass with the melody followed by a final verse with a quote of Gentle Rain by Louis Bonfa.   Oh yes,  and plenty of banging refrigerator noises at the very end.

There are plenty of mistakes in this,  but that is what you should expect if I play this at your house :-)   I'm  REALLY hoping that I can commit this to memory and continue to play it and add new learning to it.  I also now have this index card in my wallet.

I have a ridiculous number takes on this song.  I have versions by Andy Bey, Bill Evans, Brian Bromberg, Donald Vega, Eddie Higgins, Ella/Joe Pass and Hank Jones.  I just love the Andy Bey vocal version and tried to steal a couple of simplified lines from him.

"Speak Low" (1943) is a popular song composed by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Ogden Nash. It was introduced by Mary Martin and Kenny Baker in the Broadway musical One Touch of Venus (1943).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Someone To Watch Over Me

Someone To Watch Over Me is a very daunting ballad to take on.  There have been so many great, expressive, chops-ful (new word) recordings of this song by piano players, that any new attempts are bound to be a disappointment.  But - this is the beauty of being a rank amateur playing for one's own enjoyment of the music.  I absolutely love the melody of this song, and wanted to try it as a kind of "melody-at-night" thing, with lots of octaves and atmosphere.

Usually I'll listen to some favorite recorded versions and try to get inspiration.  Keith Jarrett was inspiring for what I was hoping to do. I made the mistake, though, of listening to Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum too.  These guys are so absurdly talented and inventive that I wanted to give up.  Comparing oneself to guys like this is why most of us will never pick up an instrument, no matter how much enjoyment we get out of it.  So screw it,  I'm just going to enjoy playing this great song!  

Someone To Watch Over Me was written by George and Ira Gershwin for the Broadway show "Oh, Kay!".    
It was sung initially by someone named  Gertrude Lawrence.  You can hear her on Spotify.  It was kind of a jaunty up-tempo tune - not the romantic number that we think of it as today.

Here is something interesting: Publicist and lyricist Howard Dietz helped write the lyrics to Someone To Watch Over Me during Ira’s six-week hospitalization for an appendectomy. In his autobiography, Dancing in the Dark, Dietz comments that George gave him credit for an undistinguished song, “Oh, Kay!” written by Ira and no credit for “Someone to Watch over Me,” for which Dietz claims credit for naming the tune and assisting with the lyrics. Dietz said, “George paid me next to nothing. It was decided I was to get one cent for every copy of sheet music sold. When Ira sent me my first paycheck it was for 96 cents.”

I guess this stuff happened a lot. In an online jazz group recently, a jazz music reporter told us that he once had a conversation with Bill Evans where Bill told him explicitly that he had written both Blue in Green and Flamenco Sketches.   When asked how he felt about not getting the credit, just shrugged his shoulders.

Keith Jarrett

Art Tatum

Oscar Peterson

There's a saying old says that love is blind
Still we're often told "seek and ye shall find"
So I'm going to seek a certain girl/lad I've had in mind
Looking everywhere, haven't found her yet
She's the big affair I cannot forget
Only girl/man I ever think of will regret

I'd like to add her/him initials to my monogram
Tell me where's the shepherd for this lost lamb

There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that she/he turns out to be
Someone to watch over me

I'm a little lamb who's lost in a wood
I know I could always be good
To one who'll watch over me

Although I/he may not be the man some girls think of
As handsome to my heart
She/he carries the key

Won't you tell her/him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need
Someone to watch over me
Someone to watch over me 

Geek Alert

There is a long intro to this song that is used by singers.   You can see it in the lyrics.  I am not using it at all.  I guess some people use and some don't.   I'm not a big fan.

One of the reasons that I picked out this song was to continue work on those right hand octaves.  I am able use those throughout the melody, and through some of the solo lines as well.

This song was especially tough for me because there is abundant usage of diminished chords that are harmonically important to the song, and can't easily be substituted away.  It definitely made soloing more of a challenge than I was up for.

Another thing that I did differently this time was to use different chords in the double-time section than in the slow sections.  Here is where I did do some substitutions to simplify what the band was playing.  you probably can't hear it, but I had to record the band as though it were two separate songs.

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rainbow Connection

EDGY AND RAW - now I am covering songs from the Muppets.   Sigh.  Cliff, Celia and I went to see the new Muppet movie over the Christmas break.  Even though I'm working on other songs, I became obsessed with the notion that the classic melody Rainbow Connection would make a special jazz waltz that would sound really excellent with the right arrangement.  

Maybe I should use this picture instead?  More befitting for a jazz tune....

Unbelievably, there are NO instrumental jazz covers of Rainbow Connection that I could find on iTunes, the Spotify catalog, or elsewhere.  I must be breaking new ground here :-)  I modeled my version after a nice rendition done by the late Bobby Scott.  Bobby was a pianist/vocalist who died in his early fifties from lung cancer.  He recorded a vocal version of the song, but it has a beautiful piano solo in it that captures the essence of the jazz waltz.   

Be sure to listen for a cameo performance by Kermit on the very end of the song!

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music, Inc (and some of my own tricks)

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbow's are visions
They're only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we've been told and some chose to
Believe it
But I know they're wrong wait and see

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far
What's so amazing
That keeps us star gazing
What so we think we might see

Someday we'll find it
That Rainbow Connection
The lovers the dreamers and me

*All of us under its spell
we know that it's probably magic

Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I've heard them calling my name
Are these the sweet sounds that called 
The young sailors
I think they're one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
There's something that I'm supposed to be

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me 

Facts about Rainbow Connection:

Kenneth Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 52nd Academy Awards for the score of The Muppet Movie and for Rainbow Connection, which Allmusic described as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland" and went on to add that "'Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that "Over the Rainbow" serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life." The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for Best Original Song in 1979, but lost the Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.

The song's name has been used by a number of charitable organizations wishing to evoke its message, including a children's charity similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a summer camp for seriously ill children,and a horseback riding camp for people with disabilities. The name's influence can also be seen throughout culture - from business names to artificial Christmas tree products.