Monday, June 26, 2017

Pheaturing Paul Hefti From Hefti Plays Hefti

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How's it going? Are you having a good summer so far? Best of luck on your skin's transition from shockingly white to shockingly red.
Well, summer is here which is the good news, bad news, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention just announced that outbreaks of a parasitic diarrhea-causing infection linked to pools and water playgrounds has doubled in the last two years. Well, that's shitty. According to CNN, a parasite called Cryptosporidium, or "Crypto" for short, is more common than ever, and the reason for its spread is really, really disgusting. The parasite spreads through the feces of an infected person, and could cause up to three weeks of "watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting." Those symptoms could lead to a much more serious issue: dehydration. In 2016, 32 recorded outbreaks of Crypto were reported in the U.S. That's double the 16 reported cases in 2014. Unfortunately, Crypto is also notoriously difficult to get rid of. Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, told CNN that "Crypto is extremely hard to kill with normal levels of chlorine," and the best way to prevent the spread of the parasite is to be careful and take precautions when it comes to summer fun activities, especially if they involve young children and water. So here is how to prevent turning into a poop geyser for these months: While swimming, be careful not to swallow any water. Take extra precautions at public pools and playgrounds with water features. If you have kids, make sure you are changing their diapers often, and, to put it delicately, that they are "all clean" after using the restroom. Don't let kids who are sick with diarrhea swim in the first place. Last and not least, don't pee in the pool, you sicko. Let's not put the poo in pool, shall wee)? Haha.
Spanish couple Nako and Maria Javierre had to fight to give their son a unique name that frankly isn't even that unique. The couple were anticipating naming their newborn baby Lobo, the Spanish word for wolf, for several months before Maria gave birth. But were told by the Fuenlabrada registry office in Madrid that the name was too offensive. To who, rabbits and other smaller prey? Here in America we have kind of heard it all, so hearing that Wolf is not an acceptable name for a baby is kind of shocking. We have Apple, Blue Ivy, North West, Pilot Inspektor, Blanket. Hell, we even have a Wolf of our very own. I wonder what he would call the people who are saying that his name is offense. After many failed attempts at trying to convince the Fuenlabrada registry that the name they chose is perfectly acceptable, the couple decided to harness the power of social media through an online petition that garnered over 25,000 signatures backing their decision. Spanish authorities reviewed the petition and finally gave the Javierres the okay to name their Lobo. It really is a pretty cool name. And besides, nothing is cuter than a baby wolf. Okay, maybe a baby giraffe...
Here's a summer fun horror story... a young woman's neck got caught in a ride at Six Flags Great Escape, forcing her to jump 25 feet to safety. The ride's operator stopped the gondola ride, as Cosmo reports, and the park was alerted of a safety issue. Observer Loren Lent caught the whole ordeal on camera and shared it to Facebook, where it has already garnered over 750,000 views. "Girl falling from ride at 6 Flags Great Escape and they have NO means to rescue them," he wrote. "Thanks to the guys who banded together to catch her and the guy who climbed the tree to move the branches out of the way." In the background of the video, you can hear a man in the crowd yelling "Her neck is stuck!". After a few moments, she drops to hanging with her arms on the seat, and jumps into the crowd. Commentors on Facebook wrote in that it seems that the teen was attempting to touch the leaves on the trees with her feet when she began to slip out of the ride. In the video, you can watch a crowd below catch the young woman and carry her away immediately. Cosmo reports that she was treated for injuries by the medical team at the park, then rushed by helicopter to Albany Medical Center. A 47-year-old man is also being treated for back injuries sustained in the catch. Jessica Hansen, a Six Flags spokeswoman says there appeared to be no malfunction on the ride. Six Flags has nonetheless closed the attraction for further review.
Moms everywhere will be able to decode their children's texts thanks to the latest update of the Oxford English Dictionary. According to "Time," woke has made it in this year's update. The slang word entered the lexicon thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and the rising popularity of discussions involving activism and social justice. In fact, it's been around since the 1920s. Katherine Martin, head of Oxford's U.S. dictionaries, tells "Time" that the word was first used to mean a more literal description of awakening. According to Martin, an event held in Harlem in the 1920s was called the Stay Woke Ball due to its all-night runtime from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. By the '60s, people had started using woke to refer to people who are aware or well-informed. Here's the official definition, according to the OED: "woke, adjective: Originally: well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice; frequently in stay woke." Other words being added to the dictionary this year include swimmer to mean sperm, post-truth to mean an era in which fact matters less than perception, and unclick to mean, well, not clicking on something.
It hasn't even been a month since Diana of the Amazons first lassoed our hearts in the breakout superhero hit Wonder Woman, and she's already proved that she's a forced to be reckoned with at the box office: With a $103.3 million opening weekend and significantly less drop-off in ticket sales than many DC Comics films before it, Wonder Woman easily surpassed Man of Steel's entire domestic take in just a few weeks. But that's not all. The next major milestone for Wonder Woman... with over $600 million in global sales... is becoming the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman. Ever. And people couldn't be prouder of director Patty Jenkins. With great financial success, of course, comes the promise of a sequel... and Jenkins is reportedly already at work on the next installment of the Wonder Woman saga. All we know so far is that it will take place after the World War I events depicted in the origin story, though Jenkins has also hinted that the action may take Diana to the United States. Which you know she's ready for. Could this record-breaking flick herald an end to the summer tradition of movies made by and for boys only? Please, please let it be so. Because if I have to watch another Transformers trailer, I think my eyes may actually fall out. Oh, just for you fellas, here is a hot pic of Gal Gadot...

You are welcome. Speaking of hot (what a segue, huh?) are you getting hot this summer? Well, here's a creative, and probably dangerous way to get cool this summer.

Sure, but what if you need to grab a beer? President Trump has a new cool look for the summer which I think is a good look for him...

Hahahaha. That's a real photo of Trump, people. He's the president. So, if you go to the beach this summer I hope it's not as crowded as this...

So, next year there's a new movie coming out that I think os a rip off of another movie. I am not sure...

Yep. Definitely a rip off. So, did you see Burger Kings new slogan? I am not sure what I think of it.

I love Burger King. Ever had one of their Fruit Loop or Lucky Charms shakes yet? I had them both and I like them. You probably know I am a big fan of the 1966 "Batman" TV show by now. One of my favorite episodes was when "Batman" crossed over with "Star Trek." You don't think that happened? Take a look...

Told ya. Hahaha. Speaking of Batman I saw this ad and I want to order it...

It's only 99 cents. That's so great! So, in England when you graduate there's no such thing as a year book. I always wondered if I had a senior year year book what my quote would be. I bet it wouldn't be as clever as this kids...

He's a freakin' genius! Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Changes Being Made To White House Press Briefings
5. In all reporting, Sean Spicer must be called "rakishly handsome."
4. Reporters will be discouraged from making the "jerk off" hand motion after Spicer speaks.
3. Correspondents from CNN, "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" will receive special "Fake News Credentials."
2. Briefings will be moved to one of Trump's fabulous, magnificent, beautiful real estate holdings.
And the number one change being made to White House briefings is...
1. Each briefing will begin with the Trump Loyalty Oath.

Haha. That's funny. It's a lame Mindphuck but it's funny. Okay, so, recently my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was a kid. Well, that show has changed quite a bit since then. Once again here's a pheature called...

Hearing anguished screams, Super Grover quickly comes to the aid of the downtrodden before realizing that the victim wasn't white enough to be worth saving.

Hahahaha. That kinda makes me laugh. Speaking of laughing... wanna hear a joke?

A bachelor who for companionship, had a beloved cat for over 10 years, plans a vacation to Paris and entrusts the cat with his brother. As soon as he arrives in Paris he calls his brother and asks how his cat is doing without him. "Oh, the cat? He's dead." said the brother bluntly. "I can't believe this!" yells the bachelor. "How could you tell me he's dead like that?" "How else was I supposed to tell you?" the brother asked. "Well, you could have broke it to me gently." the brother went on. "When I called today you could have said he is up on the roof but the fire department is getting him down. Then tomorrow when I called you could have said that he fell while they were trying to rescue him and broke his back but, don't worry, the best vet in town was doing the surgery to repair it. And then when I called the third day you could have said they did all they could do but they couldn't save him." The brother thought about this and says, "That does sound better than the way I said it." "Never mind," says the bachelor exasperated, "How's mother?" The brother says, "She's on the roof but the fire department is getting her down."

The 62nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

I love pugs! Author Laura James will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is the guitarist and founder of the cool jazz outfit Hefti Plays Hefti where he plays music his dad, Neal Hefti wrote. Please welcome to the Phile... Paul Hefti.

Me: Hey there, Paul, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Paul: Hello, Jason... doing well, thank you.

Me: It's such an honor to have you here on the Phile. I am a big fan of your dads music which we will talk about in a minute, and knew of him most of my life as I am a huge "Batman" fan but I first heard about you when I interviewed Pat Evans here on the Phile about his "Beat of the Bat" documentary. When Pat first reached out to you what did you think of his idea for the documentary?

Paul: I told Pat that he has a firm grasp of what I like in a documentary, as anything dealing with the television show "Batman" has my complete attention.

Me: You're the Executive Producer for "Beat of the Bat" which is cool. Was that something you wanted to do or were asked to do?

Paul: Pat Evans bestowed the title of Executive Producer for “Beat of the Bat” upon me, and I was absolutely honored at receiving that title. Pat does all of the hard work and is the inspiration point for “Beat of the Bat”... I’m by his side when needed.

Me: So, when people hear your last name and find out about your dad is the "Batman" theme they first think of?

Paul: If someone knows of Neal, they’ll center on "Batman," "The Odd Couple," or Count Basie. If that person is a musician, it’s always Basie & American songbook standards that Neal composed. Eventually things do get around to "Batman," as this theme is a rather awe-inspiring departure from what Neal is known for.

Me: My dad was a famous musician as well, Paul, he was the lead singer of Foghat and people ask me all the time about "Slow Ride." I am guessing a lot of people you meet ask about the na na na na na Batman" theme, right?

Paul: Love the slide on "Slow Ride." Jason, it’s actually “da da da da da da da da da Batman”... no na nas.

Me: Why does everybody get that wrong, Paul?

Paul: Na na is a child's taunt in the States - that's all I can think of. With the "Batman Theme," first comes that look of amazement that a great moment in their history has come alive again. People either mention that "Batman Theme" has a one-word lyric, or they sing the song for me. People invariably tell me how much they loved the show as a kid and ask me how long it took Neal to write the theme, etc... lots of questions about "Batman" usually follow. I have a close friend whose father directed "The Soupy Sales Show" from its inception in Detroit and eventually moved the show out to Los Angeles, where Soupy garnered fame beyond dreams. When I found this out, I couldn’t stop talking to him about Soupy, so I know how this thing feels from the other side.

Me: When you were in school did other kids sing that to you?

Paul: All the time.

Me: How old were you when you first became aware of what your dad did for a living?

Paul: I knew what dad did early on, like maybe at one & a half or two. Sounds young, but we were a musical family, as both my mother and father were professional musicians... as were many members of both family trees. Music was our life, both spiritually and physically.

Me: I think I was about five when I realized wholly what my dad did for a living. Unfortunately I never picked up any musical talent from him even though I do play the kazoo... so if your band needs a kazoo player. I play the "Batman" theme pretty good. Haha. Anyway, your dad was a trumpet player, Paul, and you play guitar. Did you try trumpet at first?

Paul: My first instrument... besides kazoo... well, we had a piano, so that was my first instrument. Next came the flute, then clarinet... trumpet happened in high school.

Me: How old were you when you started playing guitar? What did your dad think of this?

Paul: Musically, my father didn’t approve or disapprove of any music or instrument. Knowing him like I eventually did, I would guess that he was happy I was playing a contemporary instrument. I was 10 when I waltzed into my sister’s room and used her guitar to figure out the chords to the "Meet the Beatles" LP. A life-long love affair happened, and the guitar has kept me company ever since.

Me: So, I'm a huge fan of the 60s "Batman" TV show... incidentally, the movie was my parents first date in England. Anyway, were you a fan of the show growing up?

Paul: Of course... like everyone else. Always amazing to see Neal’s name on the TV screen, and I was the perfect age to love watching a comic book hero of mine come to life.

Me: I have to ask, who was your favorite villain?

Paul: I loved them all... mostly because the actors who played the villains were major stars I had gotten to know from watching too much television. Each villain commanded the show so successfully... I can see them all in my head as I try to find the one that sticks out the most. If pressed, I’ll say Julie Newmar as Catwoman... the most beautiful woman I had seen up to that point in my life, with apologies to Virna Lisi and Fran Jeffries.

Me: I talked a lot about Batman, but your dad did tons of other stuff as well... including the theme to "The Odd Couple." What is the favorite song or tune your dad wrote, Paul?

Paul: My faves are the songs that bring me to tears, or close to it. "The Right One," "Vikki," "Pensive Miss," "The Game," "Girl Talk," "Corrie Grows Up"... there are a lot of Neal Hefti tunes that get me there.

Me: Do you do a lot of your own songwriting yourself?

Paul: I’ve written songs from about age 4. Lately, I’ve written lyrics to about ten of my father’s instrumentals, some of which will be on my band’s next release.

Me: Okay, I have to talk to you about your band Hefti Plays Hefti that Pat Evans introduced me to. When and how did you come up with the idea for this band, Paul?

Paul: As President of Neal Hefti Music, it’s my job to keep Neal’s songs alive and well. It wasn’t hard to figure out that since I had experience as a musician, I could and should play the Neal Hefti book whenever and wherever possible. I started by picking my favorite Neal tunes and those that Neal favored for whatever reason. In arranging them, I knew that I had to have a convertible book, one that could be performed in many band sizes... solo guitar & vocal, a rhythm section with a few horns... all the way up to full scoring-sized orchestra. I settled into a small band jazz section with four horns and two vocalists, and this was a great way to set sail.

Me: You have a gorgeous and talented singer named Devyn Rush, who needs to be interviewed on the Phile as well. Do you think she'll be interested?

Paul: Ask Devyn... she’s as charming as people come, and I’m sure she will be a great interview subject.

Me: When and how did you first meet her?

Paul: Devyn and I have a mutual friend... music publisher Andrew Robbins, son of Marshall Robbins of Robbins Music (one of my father’s dearest pals)... whom I’d talked to regarding creating Hefti Plays Hefti. When Devyn expressed to Andrew her interest in jazz as the musical direction she craved, Andrew introduced us to each other. Devyn and I met at Republic of Pie here in North Hollywood... talked about ourselves and our dreams... met later that week at my studio to do a little singing together, and we’ve been partners ever since.

Me: Was she aware of your dad’s music when you met her?

Paul: Vaguely. Devyn was a bassist for her high school jazz band and a few of her favorites were Neal Hefti tunes, though she never knew Neal had written them. Before out first meeting, she checked out and got familiar with what Neal had written. She was pleasantly shocked and pleased with what she discovered In the Neal Hefti discography. 

Me: So, who else is in the band?

Paul: Mike Rocha, trumpet; Kyle O’Donnell, alto sax; Colin Kupka & Ian Roller, tenor sax; Sam Webster, drums; Karl Vincent, bass; Mahesh Balasooriya, piano.

Me: You have played a few gigs with Hefti Plays Hefti... how have the shows been?

Paul: Band has now played for over a year at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz in Bel Air, California. Each show reveals gems at what we do well, and lessons for what to improve on. The one constant is the fun we have on-stage, and how this fun is transferred seamlessly to the audience. It’s a party, which makes learning as we perform so rewarding. Our show on May 21st was our most exciting effort to date, and our next show is scheduled for July 30th.

Me: You live in Los Angeles, right? Are you originally from there? I know your dad was from Nebraska...

Paul: New York City to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and then back to Los Angeles. Throw in a pinch of Boston for school and the rest of the U.S.A. I saw was care of the traveling bands that I’d join.

Me: Are you planning on taking this band on the road?

Paul: The road is the plan. To keep Neal’s music young, I must play for young people everywhere. Kids are listening to jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, pop, classical... everything they can get theirs ears around. A big part of my job is listening to live music in order to keep abreast of what’s happening, whether in small clubs or at major festivals. This June I’ve been to the Newport Beach Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival, and both of these events attract a large number of patrons between the ages of 15 and 30. Due to the social media explosion, music lovers (and we all are) get exposed to every music form on earth, and are drawn to jazz & pop the same way and for the same reasons our grandparents were... the music is enchanting on so many levels, and speaks directly to one’s heart.

Me: You are working on a CD called "Live at Capital," which is Capital Records in L.A. I am guessing. What was it like recording there?

Paul: Capitol Records is a truly iconic location for recording music; the feel is clean and secure, the results are stunning. The walls do have ears, and one feels every note that has been recorded by every artist in the studio’s past... and this list is long and star-studded. It’s work to record music that is worthy of being listened to, but I was floating while I worked. I got the feeling that if I played well, the studio would reproduce anything I was capable of. Capitol Records is always as good as you are. The music videos we shot while recording can be viewed on our website... three great Neal Hefti tunes recorded live without overdubs or sweetening of any kind. In pre-session meetings, producer Byl Carruthers suggested that we make it a live performance so as to give an actual representation of what Hefti Plays Hefti would sound and look like on stage. We mixed and mastered the videos in the week following the session, and watching Devyn and the band perform was an astounding experience for me... these folks know how to play great and look great while doing so. Our video crew, led by Patrick Higgins, was absolutely stellar and made the right decision every time. We were all proud to work with the Capitol staff, management team, etc. Capitol Records is a place where dreams come true.

Me: Your dad recorded a lot there and worked with Frank Sinatra, am I right?

Paul: Neal arranged and conducted Sinatra and Swingin’ Brass, Sinatra and Basie, Neal’s Jazz Pops, and also produced for Capitol Records from 1961 through 1963.

Me: So, what tunes can we expect to hear on the album?

Paul: Tunes Neal wrote for Count Basie, Neal Hefti... Paul Hefti collaborations, film and television themes... whatever Hefti Plays Hefti is playing best at the time of the recording, which is planned for September of this year.

Me: I know you're doing "The Odd Couple" theme, but will you be doing the "Batman" theme as well?

Paul: "Batman Theme" is our encore number, and I’ll try my best to arrange a hot version for the band to record.

Me: When are you planning on releasing the CD, Paul? You said September, right?

Paul: Release is planned for either the end of 2017 or the start of 2018.

Me: When it comes out will you come back on the Phile? Bring Devyn with you.

Paul: Why not, and of course... Devyn and I will be honored to be a part of the Phile!

Me: Like I said, I am so excited to have you on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your websites and please, please come on back. And if you can think of anybody else I could interview, please let me know. All the best. 

Paul: Thank you, Jason and the Phile... the pleasure is mine.,,,,

Me: Great job, Paul. Take care. Can't wait for the album.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Paul Hefti for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with the 1,000th entry pheaturing Nick Lowe. I'm so excited! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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