Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:12 am
My editor at Hal Leonard, the estimable Rick Walters, called me in 2010 with the idea that we should do a book-and-CD folio of me playing accompaniments to my own songs, with a male and female edition. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and now it’s finally out in the world!
Here’s the great news: If you’ve already got the sheet music, you can purchase the tracks (individually or collectively) on iTunes. And if you don’t have the sheet music, you can get any individual song on SheetMusicDirect.com, or you can order the book-and-CD package from Amazon or at your local sheet music retailer!
I’ll put links for all the songs at the bottom of this blog, but first, here’s an excerpt from my introduction to the book:
My favorite musical theater composers have all been formidable pianists: Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Frank Loesser, Cy Coleman. When I was supposed to be learning Bach and Mozart for my piano lessons, I was instead spending countless hours playing through West Side Story and Sunday in the Park with George, relishing the challenge of reproducing the sounds I heard on the original cast albums and movie soundtracks. Meanwhile, I was writing songs inspired by my pop heroes: Billy Joel, Elton John, Carole King, Stevie Wonder – again, a group of pianists of great technical facility and truly individual style.
Over time, I developed a very specific personality of my own as a pianist, something that doesn’t sound quite like anyone else. Of course, anything that is unique is going to be difficult to reproduce, and so it is with the notated piano parts of my songs. I work very hard to ensure that the written accompaniments really represent what I might play on any given day, and so there is a lot of detail – to some pianists, a daunting level of detail indeed. For twenty years now, I’ve had singers tell me that they can’t find pianists who can play my songs “right.” It’s hard enough singing my material properly under the best of circumstances, but when the accompaniment isn’t correct – when the singer doesn’t feel supported by the pianist – it can make some of my stuff all but impossible to learn.
Hence these two volumes, which consist of eleven songs each for male and female voices (based on the gender for which they were originally written). The intention wasn’t to provide performance tracks – I firmly believe that my songs, like all the best musical theatre songs, depend on a give-and-take between singer and accompanist that can only be achieved live. Nor was the intention to document some “definitive” version of these accompaniments; I’m not sure I believe in such a thing. Simply put, these recordings are just one additional tool to help pianists and singers better understand and implement my intentions and style, to be used in conjunction with the published sheet music and the cast albums and solo recordings on which those songs have been featured.
The best versions of any of my songs are the ones where the musicians (singers included) are deeply engaged with the emotions and the passions hiding underneath and around the written rhythms and pitches and lyrics. It is my hope that the recordings collected here help singers and pianists alike to bring these songs to life in their own way. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Rick Walters and Joel Boyd at Hal Leonard, as well as Andy Waterman, who engineered these recordings at his beautiful studio in Chatsworth, CA. It was a real blast getting to play these songs, and I hope you’ll love singing along with them!
To buy the full collections from Amazon.com, here are the links:
Jason Robert Brown Plays Jason Robert Brown: Men’s Edition with CD
Jason Robert Brown Plays Jason Robert Brown: Women’s Edition with CD
And here’s a list of the individual songs, with links to iTunes and SheetMusicDirect.com:
1. I’m Not Afraid Of Anything iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
2. Stars and the Moon iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
3. Christmas Lullaby iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
4. Still Hurting iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
5. A Summer in Ohio iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
6. I Can Do Better Than That iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
7. Goodbye Until Tomorrow iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
8. You Don’t Know This Man iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
9. And I Will Follow iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
10. Mr. Hopalong Heartbreak iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
11. What It Means To Be A Friend iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
1. She Cries iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
2. King of the World iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
3. The Old Red Hills of Home iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
4. This Is Not Over Yet iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
5. Shiksa Goddess iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
6. Moving Too Fast iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
7. If I Didn’t Believe In You iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
8. Being A Geek iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
9. I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
10. Nothing In Common iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com
11. Someone To Fall Back On iTunes|| SheetMusicDirect.com