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Bethlehem, Pa., February 21, 2014—Virtuoso jazz guitarist Pete Smyser¸ artist lecturer in jazz guitar at Moravian College, pays tribute to the classic songs of Harry Warren (1893-1981) on his eighth CD release, An Affair to Remember. The CD contains tracks from a concert that was recorded in Moravian College’s Foy Hall on January 25, 2013. Smyser assembled an all-star lineup of Philadelphia area jazz musicians which collaborated to deliver a stellar performance despite the inherent pressure of a “one-take” live concert recording. The quintet included Larry McKenna, sax, Tom Lawton, piano, Madison Rast, upright bass, and Dan Monaghan on drums.
Harry Warren was an extremely successful composer (mostly for film) during the first half of the twentieth century. He had more songs on the Hit Parade than just about any of the American Songbook composers of the era including Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. At one point Warren had 24 consecutive top ten hits and even wrote the song that became the very first gold record in history. Despite the extreme popularity of his songs such as Jeepers Creepers, An Affair to Remember, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Serenade in Blue. the name of Harry Warren is not familiar to most people. “I am amazed by the greatness and diversity of Harry Warren’s songs and hope to revive some appreciation for this American genius and for his contribution to American Popular Music,” Smyser remarked.
Smyser’s new recording follows his popular 2012 release, “The Jerome Kern Concert …LIVE!” which received strong radio play throughout the U.S. and high praise from listeners, critics and fellow musicians. Smyser’s Kern CD reached #37 on the jazz radio charts nationally and remained in the top 50 for several weeks in 2012, according to The Roots Music Report.
“An Affair to Remember …celebrating the songs of Harry Warren” was released in January of 2014 and has already received considerable airplay from WRTI, Temple Public Radio. Several radio stations around the country from California, Illinois, New York and New Mexico have been actively requesting copies in anticipation of this release.
Smyser is scheduled to perform his Harry Warren program on March 1 at Chris’ Jazz Café (1421 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, Pa.) with sets at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Pete Smyser at 610-287-4280 or visit www.smyser.com on the web.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.