There are several notable birthdays on Nov. 28th:
- 1929 – Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown Records
- 1940 – Clem Curtus, lead singer of The Foundations (“Baby Now That I’ve Found You”)
- 1943 – R. B. Greaves (“Take a Letter Maria”)
- 1949 – Paul Shaffer, band leader of the CBS Orchestra for Late Night with David Letterman and music director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies
But I’d like to focus on two others:
In 1932 Gato Barbieri was born in Argentina. At the age of 12, he took up the clarinet. By age 21, he was playing jazz in another famous Argentinian’s band, Lalo Shifrin. Shifrin is best known to American audiences for his composing and scoring for television and film (“Theme from Mission Impossible” to name but one). When Barbieri began leading his own groups in the late ’50s, he switched to tenor saxophone.
Barbieri gained acclaim for his sensuous score to1972’s The Last Tango in Paris by director Bernardo Bertolucci. The soundtrack earned him a Grammy Award.
I’m particularly fond of his 1976 release, Caliente!. Its Afro-Cuban rhythms are extremely hot, and the LP featured a beautiful rendition of Santana’s “Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile).” The album was produced by Herb Albert and had a solid group of musicians on the record ,including Lenny White (Return To Forever) on drums.
Randall Stuart Newman was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 28,1943. We know him as American singer-songwriter, composer and pianist Randy Newman.
It’s hard to say what Newman is most known for. Movie buffs might know his scores for such films as Ragtime, Pleasantville, or Seabiscuit, to name but a few. Younger audiences might mention his work with Pixar films. Music fans of the ’80s might know him for “I Love L.A.,” whereas classic rock fans might recall him as the writer of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” or “Short People.”
It’s hard to pick any one song to post for Randy Newman’s birthday. I kept rotating the selection (including his cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Remember” which was quasi-reciprocation for Nilsson recording an entire album of Newman songs, Nilsson Loves Newman, in 1970).
Let’s go with this early demo of “Last Night I Had a Dream” (a more refined version can be heard on his third studio album, 1972’s Sail Away, featuring Ry Cooder on guitar). This may be Newman’s most raucous recording.