Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Track Notes, Credits, Acknoledgements

Manha de Carnaval, aka Black Orpheus. (Luiz Bonfa, 1959)
This tune was written for an absolutely beautiful Brazilian film, Orfeu Negro. Though tragic, the film's realism is captivating, and the child actors and dancers are charming. In the arrangement’s introduction, I arpeggiate an Am9 chord with a dissonant voicing, setting a darker tone and reflecting the tragic theme of the film. Later in the tune, there are a few bars where the bass line moves more or less contrary to the melody line; I think this is a nice touch. This is the only song on this album written by a guitarist, Luis Bonfa.

All the Things You Are. (Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1939)
The way this tune moves through keys presents a fun opportunity for arranging for solo guitar. I remember looking over the lead sheet and puzzling how I would approach certain passages. Once I started, it all seemed to come together. In addition to creating the chord-melody arrangement, I decided write an additional arrangement with a distinct bass line. This two-voice section is the second half of the track, and I especially like the contrapuntal motion in the bridge. The listener will note the transition from the samba-esque rhythm of the first half to a straight groove for the later half. I would like to mention that passages in this track are influenced by Jack Grassel's solo guitar recordings. (

La Mer. (Charles Trenet, 1943)
I'm a francophile with a degree in French literature, so it would be reasonable to assume that's why I know this tune. In fact, it was Bobby Darin's love song version of "Beyond the Sea" that caught my ear long before Charles Trenet's poetic original about the sea and his connection to it. I listened to Trenet's phrasing before recording. This is one of the first tunes I arranged in two parts--a bass line with the melody. It's quite different from conventional chord-melody playing and arranging.

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. (Manning Sherwin with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, 1939)
Mel Torme delivers a stunning live-in-concert performance of this lovely tune. It's on youtube. Look it up if you get a chance. In my arrangement, I play the first sixteen bars in 6/8 time and switch to 4/4 at the bridge.

Time After Time. (Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, 1947)
An instrumental version of this tune appears in Julia and Julia, the 2009 movie about Julia Child featuring Meryl Streep. I heard it and thought, Man, I really like this tune. I need to learn it. When I began to arrange it for solo guitar, I put on some creative shackles and challenged myself to play it all on three strings. Well, that didn't last. A guitarist listener will hear harmonized phrases that move on three strings, but I eventually decided to allow for more freedom. Still, this arrangement remains a bit of an exercise in minimalism. I play the timing fairly loosely, but with a 6/8 feel. The original is in 4/4. I hope you like it.

Don't Get Around Much Anymore. (Duke Ellington with lyrics by Bob Russell, 1942)
I was very young when I first heard this tune, probably a Sinatra recording, and I remember being very struck by the punchy melody and frank lyrics. When I am arranging a tune, I will often use it as an opportunity to learn or practice a technique or idea I want to work on. In this case, and in another tune or two on this album, the something is dimished sounds. For example, the intro to this tune is basically a dimished arppegio. For fun, at the end of the first time through the head, I transition from a swing rhythm to straight eighths and go into a finger-pickin' breakdown. The chords in this finger-style section follow the lead sheet, except I play them all as basically all Dom7 chords.

Hi Lili Hi Lo. (Bronislau Kaper and lyrics by Helen Deutsch, 1952)
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I was flipping through channels when a black and white classic lured me in. Soon, I was absorbed in the carnaval-esque world of "Lili," a touching 1953 movie starring Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer. The last scene is effectively moving, as characters walk the lonely gravel road out of town, fading away, and we hear the song... "A song of love is a sad song, hi lili, hi Lili, hi lo." I knew I would need to learn this song. Great lyrics, pretty melody. I owe something to Hilde Hefte's (who?) emotive recording. Regarding my arrangement, one point of interest is the way I harmonized opening melody note (an "A"). It is usually harmonized as the third of an F chord. However, I set it on top of a Bb chord as its major seventh. It's dissonant in this position. I like it.

Moon River. (Henry Mancini with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. 1961)
This is an all-time favorite that also appears on my first CD, Mark Olson Plays Some Old Songs. This time, I added a repeat to extend the track, and I added phrases in 5/4 time to change it up. Who doesn't hear Audrey Hepburn's voice whenever they hear this tune?

Skylark. (Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, 1941)
The harmony of this tune moves around quite a bit, and it was a fun challenge to arrange. The first chord is low, an F in the first fret. In the bridge, the melody rises high, and my left hand moves up to the fifteenth fret for a C9 voicing on top. This is not a super-human feat, but it is a quick passage, and the frets are close up there--a challenge for old man fingers. I first played Skylark when I was with Metafour, a quartet featuring vocalist Pati Arnold in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Back then, I learned both parts separately, the chord/rhythm part and the melody part.

They Can't Take That Away From Me
This Gershwin-Gershwin tune was written for 1937's "Shall We Dance," a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film I haven't seen, yet. Something to look forward to. I've always appreciated the bright melody and colorful imagery of this song. The first half of the arrangement is an exercise in Montgomery-esque octave technique (a guitar thing). The second half switches to chord-melody style. I openly confess that the introduction I play is STOLEN from a pianist's introduction to "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans" which appears on a Louis Armstrong recording. Every time I hear that intro, I think, Now that's just nice.

Sweet Georgie Fame (Blossom Dearie, 1967)
Released in 1967, Sweet Georgie Fame is an obscure waltz written by Blossom Dearie to express her appreciation of British singer and keyboardist, Mr. Georgie Fame. However, it was guitarist Emily Remler's instrumental recording I first heard. To create my own solo guitar arrangement, I first learned the melody by ear. Once I memorized the melody, I started trying out different chords and harmonies to support it. Eventually, I transposed to the key of E in order take advantage of some open strings. I have no idea what chords might be indicated on a lead sheet. I just did my own thing, and I think it sounds pretty nice. Hope you like it, too. I first recorded this tune for my Take Five CD with drummer, Greg Marsh.

Many thanks to guitarist John Horn, pianist Mary Louise Knutson, and Eric Olson for their feedback on early takes and sound quality. I also wish to acknowledge Susan Mathews' many contributions as consultant.

Also mentioned in the notes, above, are drummer Greg Marsh
and guitarist Jack Grassel.