Click to Buy - Maude Maggart Live
Maude Maggart Live

Liner Notes

I grew up with two homes: Summers were spent with my father in Venice Beach, and during the school year I lived with my mother and stepfather in Manhattan. I had always separated the two places categorically: Manhattan was where I “worked” at school, and Venice was where I played on vacation. I continued this way of thinking until one summer when a wonderful thing happened; education and enjoyment intersected when my father took me to see Andrea Marcovicci at Tom Rolla’s Gardenia in West Hollywood. Since then, my greatest enjoyment has become my education through my work in cabaret. So, it was important for me that this album be comprised of live recordings from both the Gardenia, and the Oak Room of The Algonquin in Manhattan.

Lanny Meyers’ piano and arrangements are on every track of this album. The tracks from the Algonquin also include David DePalma on reeds, and the Gardenia tracks feature Yair Evnine on cello and guitar, and Dr. James Sitterly on violin. In Manhattan, Yair, Lanny, and I were joined by Andy Stein on violin and tenor saxophone for the tracks recorded at the River To River concert.

The concept of this live show is loosely based upon the love story of my maternal grandparents, Johnny and Millicent McAfee. l say ’loosely’ because, like all really good stories, the boundaries of the story, itself, has resonance far beyond its end. They met in 1937, when she became the girl singer and he played reeds for the Johnny Hamp Band. How rich it must have been for two musicians to fall in love at a time when some of the greatest love songs ever written not only brought them together in the first place, but continued to weave a soundtrack through their love’s inception, marriage vows, and the birth of their daughter, my mother.

“Coffee In The Morning, Kisses In The Night”, “I Hadn’t Anyone ’Til You”, and “I’m In The Mood For Love” are some of the songs which made up that soundtrack. For me, their story opened the door to the beautiful world of swing band era love songs. “Deep In A Dream” was always a special moment in performance for me. There are some songs which, no matter how many times sung, some mysterious vein of connection pulsates. Maybe the name Jimmy Van Heusen has something to do with it, since he played the very first music that drew my grandfather to my grandmother.

“You Go To My Head” and “Prelude To A Kiss” were recorded at Stuyvesant Highschool, in Manhattan. This was a really special concert for me. Oh, I had been so excited to be included in the lineup of Manhattan’s “River To River” summer concert series in Battery Park. My first outdoor concert! Alas, New York City was given a hurricane warning that night. We were re-routed to Stuyvesant Highschool’s auditorium, and I’ll always be grateful for that. Andy Stein arrived, person, violin, and saxophone cases in tow, soaking wet. Yair Evnine and Lanny Meyers and l arrived -soaking wet. Most importantly, the audience arrived. We all toweled off, l had bad hair, and with the work of the impeccable staff at Stuyvesant, we shared a night of not only musical magic, but of the kind of communion that only an unexpected city hurricane can provide.

The world of live cabaret is a very special one. It is a shared experience between the performer, the musicians, and the audience. As the audience changes with every show, no two performances can ever be exactly alike. This recording exists to provide you, the listener, with an ever-constant chair or banquette at the Gardenia or the Oak Room, the houses of the home I love so much.

*Gratitude and love to Anthony Melchiorri and Barbara McGurn at the Algonquin, and to Tom Rolla and Bruce Lohman at the Gardenia

Maude Maggart