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 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 8:00 AM   
 By:   roy phillippe   (Member)

I was under the impression that piano was his main instrument. "White On White" is in a style which has often been called "arranger's piano." I would imagine he could have knocked off the recording in less time than it took him to score it. Perhaps a musicians' union rule prevented him from playing it, being that he was the composer/conductor?

From reading Mancini's book, he seems to talk about being mostly a flute or piccolo player first. Although I feel certain he knew his way around a keyboard.

I think the first recording he made where he is credited with 'piano' was his rendition of "The Theme From Romeo & Juliet". Or perhaps he recorded "Love Story" even earlier? That puts his
piano credits at around 1970 or thereabouts.

It is one thing to play a piano well, but an entirely different thing to do that in front of a mike.


Mancini's first recording as a pianist was on the 45 of "Wait Until Dark" (1967). He played "Three By Mancini" on the "Encore' LP, also 1967. "A Warm Shade Of Ivory" (1968) was next followed by "Six Hours Past Sunset" (1969).
"Love Story" was released in 1970. On that album he also played the piano on "Sunflower".
I remember seeing him conduct the Cleveland Orchestra Pops in the mid 60's. He played "Charade" and "Soldier In The Rain" on piano with the orchestra. "Stars and Stripes Forever" was his encore.
When the piccolo part came in, he casually pulled his piccolo from his jacket pocket and joined the
section. He certainly made a big impression on me that evening.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 9:15 AM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

So "Wait Until Dark" (single) was the first? Thanks for the clarification. I believe "Romeo & Juliet" was on the WARM SHADE OF IVORY LP. So that predates the "Love Story" recording by a couple of years.

An album of just Mancini playing the piano would be a nice, and totally different way of listening to this great music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 9:49 AM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

Very nice info, gents.

Roy, is there is resource available with all of the orchestra members for each Mancini recording? As a general statement, it seems like the world could use an updated Mancini web site.

FSM did a few Mancini STs, and the Penelope/Bachelor in Paradise one shows Artie Kane and Jimmy Rowles. Here's the link with the musician credits:
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/318/Penelope-Bachelor-in-Paradise/

I'm not near my CDs today, so I can't check if Kane plays on the Williams or Mancini STs. Like it would matter anyway. :-D


Hi, Lex. Artie Kane was probably the pianist on Penelope, Rowles, the pianist on Bachelor in Paradise. By 1966 Artie Kane was the go-to keyboardist for Fox (along with Jack Latimer, who played piano and organ) and MGM productions (Penelope being the latter). Both Fox and MGM retained many of their contract orchestra players of the fifties, Lionel Newman (Fox music director) eventually incorporating some top freelancers into this group (making these people sort-of contract musicians). Artie Kane and Dick Nash were two such players brought into the "Fox fold" as they recorded almost all the scores for Fox television and feature film productions of the period (so that's not only Artie on Planet of the Apes, but also Voyage, Lost in Space, Daniel Boone and Batman). By Fall 1967 Artie was also playing lots of Universal sessions.

Mancini chords: My favorite, the "Mr. Lucky" chord: C, E, G, A (lh.), D, F-sharp, B (rh, middle C range)

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Thanks BF for the AK info. So, the Mr. Lucky chords: Cmaj6 / Dmaj6 -- very very interesting.

I'm not as smart or as sophisticated muscially as you gents. The first Mancini I could play was when I was 8 or 9, and it is the 12-string guitar part on The Thorn Birds Theme. Very easy, like C & F & G7, maybe w some chord-substitutions for the dominant w Gmin7 and Gdim7. I don't remember the actual progression, but it was pretty easy. I thought it was great that someone was using a guitar for TV music. I need to get Roy P's Thorn Birds book. :-/


It is very excellent that we are all discussing studio musicians.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2013 - 5:21 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



From reading Mancini's book, he seems to talk about being mostly a flute or piccolo player first. Although I feel certain he knew his way around a keyboard.



While piccolo was his main instrument, he got into Julliard playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and a Fantasy on Cole Porter, on piano.



It is one thing to play a piano well, but an entirely different thing to do that in front of a mike.


As a professional musician and sometimes arranger, I can tell you that ALL arrangers/orchestrators of Mancini's level and era - assuming they have hands - are/were quite adept at playing what is known as "arranger's piano," regardless of main instrument. They have to be by nature. Tadd Dameron plays this way. Jobim plays this way. There is a Youtube video of Bronislau Kaper playing "Invitation" this way. It is a style of playing that is not virtuosic, but that relies on tasteful chords, nice voicings, counter melodies, etc. "White on White" fits squarely into this style. It is relatively easy to play. The only technical challenge it presents, if the player has small hands, is hitting intervals of tenths with both hands simultaneously on the last chord.

I'm in no way suggesting that it's Mancini playing on "White on White," and neither you nor I are in any position to know definitively why he would or would not have played it. But I can guarantee you as a musician and arranger that Mancini would have been quite capable of playing this tune, as written, in 1962 or whatever year it was.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2013 - 7:05 AM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

I'm sure that Mancini would have been able to play the piece. But did he?

In any case, he was a professional pianist (with the Tex Beneke band at least) so he could easily
have navigated the piece. It is, like you mentioned, fairly simple. And, since it was a source cue, he could have recorded it prior to laying in the picture. For a source cue, maybe the timing to film wasn't too important.

In other words, he would not have been using any of the time at the recording studio to play it.

I had not heard the term 'arrangers piano' before. Thanks for the information.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2013 - 8:04 AM   
 By:   roy phillippe   (Member)



From reading Mancini's book, he seems to talk about being mostly a flute or piccolo player first. Although I feel certain he knew his way around a keyboard.



While piccolo was his main instrument, he got into Julliard playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and a Fantasy on Cole Porter, on piano.



It is one thing to play a piano well, but an entirely different thing to do that in front of a mike.


As a professional musician and sometimes arranger, I can tell you that ALL arrangers/orchestrators of Mancini's level and era - assuming they have hands - are/were quite adept at playing what is known as "arranger's piano," regardless of main instrument. They have to be by nature. Tadd Dameron plays this way. Jobim plays this way. There is a Youtube video of Bronislau Kaper playing "Invitation" this way. It is a style of playing that is not virtuosic, but that relies on tasteful chords, nice voicings, counter melodies, etc. "White on White" fits squarely into this style. It is relatively easy to play. The only technical challenge it presents, if the player has small hands, is hitting intervals of tenths with both hands simultaneously on the last chord.

I'm in no way suggesting that it's Mancini playing on "White on White," and neither you nor I are in any position to know definitively why he would or would not have played it. But I can guarantee you as a musician and arranger that Mancini would have been quite capable of playing this tune, as written, in 1962 or whatever year it was.


"White On White" was included in the Mancini Magic" songbook. I would say it's written at the intermediate level.

 
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