Feb 25, 2016

Diane Vavra Help Fund - Musician in Need

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed! Diane has found a new place to live, and is still in Santa Cruz.

Feb 4, 2016

"Influência do Jazz," "Moonlight in Vermont," and More

Carlos Lyra's "Influência do Jazz" is a 1962 bossa nova classic. Lyra's lyrics complain about the corrupting influence of jazz on samba. It's a bit tongue in cheek, though, as "Influência do Jazz" itself shows the influence of jazz. In fact, bossa nova couldn't have existed without the influence of jazz.

It's hard to miss the melodic similarity of "Influência" with "Moonlight in Vermont" (Karl Suessdorf, 1944):

An English translation of the lyrics and some background on "Influência" are on Victoria Broadus' very interesting website, lyricalbrazil.com.

While I hear "Moonlight in Vermont" as a likely starting point for Lyra's melody, Broadus suggests parallels with "You Were Meant for Me" (Nacio Herb Brown, 1929, but best known from its use in "Singin' in the Rain," 1952) and "Indian Love Call" (Rudolf Friml, 1924, but redone over the years by many artists).

Here's another - Franz Lehar's "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss," from his operetta "Giuditta" (1934). I heard this one on the PBS "Classic Arts Showcase" the other night. The melody in question is at 1:08.

Chronologically, the order is Friml - Brown - Lehar - Suessdorf - Lyra. There definitely are some similarities, some closer and some a bit of a stretch.

The similarities don't really prove anything. Good melodies can be independently arrived at; if there is borrowing it can be unconscious. Some of these similarities are certainly just coincidence. Correlation does not imply causation. I still think Lyra was referencing "Moonlight," though.