Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Russ Long, 1939-2006

Time's up.

"Days go by so fast it seems to me/we're never really free." So begins "Save That Time," a gorgeous song about treasuring romance as time cruelly marches onward. It was written by Russ Long, a staple of the Kansas City jazz scene for decades. The pianist died on New Year's Eve. He was 67. I will always associate Long with his longstanding gigs at the city's nicest hotel lobbies. He'd unobtrusively play familiar standards as businessmen downed cocktails. But it was easy to discern his serious jazz chops and to enjoy his humorous asides. While many Kansas Citians will have fond memories of the man, I suspect that his permanent musical legacy will be "Save That Time." It has all the resonance of a "September Song." It's been recorded by many jazz artists and will eventually be picked up by the likes of Josh Groban and Michael Buble. The definitive reading was recently recorded by Long and the late Gregory Hickman-Williams. This odd out-of-print instrumental version by bassist Charles Fambrough gives the song an upbeat reading. That's Edward Simon on piano.

I recently stumbled across this video by Kansas City band The Architects. The video doesn't match the song's power, but it has additional meaning for me because I'm all-too-familiar with its setting.

If I was to ever embark on a music-themed cruise, it'd be something like this.

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