Hal Wilner (sometimes spelt Willner on the web), the producer, has put together some extraordinary collaborations on his tribute records to Mingus, Nino Rota, Monk, Poe, Weill and Disney. What’s more, most of them work. One of my favourites is Ringo Starr, Ken Nordine, Bill Frisell, Herb Alpert and Wayne Horvitz doing “When You Wish Upon A Star” on Stay Awake: Interpretations of Vintage Disney Films (1988). On this CD you also can experience perhaps the segue to end all segues – Sun Ra to Harry Nilsson!
I was also lucky (and old) enough to see many of the 20 episodes of NBC’s Night Music with David Sanborn when Hal was Producer. Couplings such as Sonny Rollins with Leonard Cohen, or Phil Woods with the NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet) were not uncommon. Bring them out on DVD someone!
The collection of performers on Stay Awake is even more eclectic than Mr. Kieffer indicates. The CD also includes Suzanne Vega, Yma Sumac, Bonnie Raitt, The Replacements, Garth Hudson, Los Lobos, Betty Carter, Buster Poindexter and His Banshees of Blue, and James Taylor. Tom Waits sings, or rasps, â€œHeigh Hoâ€ from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Aaron Neville of Super Bowl notoriety does the â€œMickey Mouse March.â€