Burt Bacharach, the man behind so many hits in the 1960’s-‘70’s is coming to Seattle’s Jazz Alley October 20-23 for four shows. The 87-year-old living legend has won virtually every award there is, from six Grammys to three Oscars.
If Bacharach wrote a song for you, it was a guaranteed platinum-selling hit. Ask Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, Herb Alpert, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Bobbie Gentry, B.J. Thomas… the list goes on.
Bacharach’s most successful songwriting pairing had to be with lyricist Hal David. They crafted radio-friendly hits specifically for Dionne Warwick, including “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Walk On By,” among many others.
Most of the songs Bacharach wrote found its way on Top 40 radio. Every artist in creation during that time period wanted to cover his stuff. When Bacharach wasn’t writing hit songs for hit artists, he was writing hit songs for movies like “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid,” “Alfie” and “Casino Royale.”
The Kansas City-born musician started off learning classical piano but found himself gravitating toward late night jazz clubs to catch Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker live. His pop songs would later attract the interest of jazz musicians and vocalists, which took him by surprise, especially when saxophonist Stan Getz got involved.
Getz did an entire album of Bacharach music for a 1968 recording, What The World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays The Burt Bacharach Songbook (Verve).
Bacharach might’ve been shocked by the jazz attraction to his pop tunes, but jazz artists weren’t. There’s an unusual chord progression and spaciousness to Bacharach’s music, offering plenty of moments for the vocalist or instrumentalist to manipulate tempo and infer varying degrees of emotional inflection. “A House Is Not A Home” is a particular gem of a vocal show piece for the right singer, and a test of that singer’s ability to tone it down and pull poignancy without excessive effort. Written originally for Warwick in 1964, it’s now become a favorite jazz standard.
Burt Bacharach brings his 10-piece band to Jazz Alley for this special occasion: keyboardists Bill Cantos and David Joyce, bassist David Coy, percussionist John Ferraro, violinist Elizabeth Chorley, trumpeter/flugelhornist Thomas Ehlen, woodwinds player Dennis Wilson, and vocalists Josie James, John Pagano, and Donna Taylor.
Online reservations have already been opened to Alley Cat subscribers for a 48-hour period March 29 before the rest of the public gets a shot. Bacharach tours the United Kingdom, Austria, and Denmark before embarking on the U.S. round in August.