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Midnight, Melanin, & Manhattan ( a score for Ivy)

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Like many others did, since the recent passing of my fellow West Indian/Piscean/artist, Sidney Poitier, at the age of 94, I took a trip down memory lane watching some of my favorite films of his. However, not many people know of or have seen a particular film he starred and directed in called For Love of Ivy, which is kind of surprising since Sidney was THE biggest movie star in Hollywood at the time this film came out in 1968.

To put it in perspective, he started filming this movie (an original story he wrote, himself) in the Autumn of 1967, but just a few months earlier that year, To Sir With Love dropped in the Spring, followed by In the Heat of the Night that Summer, and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner was up next that December to close out what was without a doubt his undefeated year as the King of the Silver Screen. While each film in '67 was a blockbuster hit (and all dealt with the topic of racism in unique ways), "Ivy" was very different as it was a rare mainstream film showcasing two Black romantic leads–Sidney and the magnificent Jazz singer/activist Abbey Lincoln (who had a dope afro but they gave her a wig to wear in the movie, instead...cultural norms for 1960s Hollywood 🙄)–and it even featured the very first (though not explicit) Black lovemaking scene in a Hollywood movie. Perhaps that's why it didn't get much publicity over time as those other films did, because more radical than a 1967 film about an interracial couple was a 1968 one with a Black couple being physically intimate on the big screen–kinda ironic. The scene that this message and song is even about takes place late evening/early morning where the character, Ivy, looked so serene, gazing out over Manhattan at midnight, in the afterglow of her and Jack's (aka Sidney) tryst, before taking the "throne" and looking over her sleeping "conquest" 😉 It's a sexy scene without music, but I wondered what it would sound like with it. 🤔

Interestingly enough, the legendary Quincy Jones did an amazing score to this film, though I was surprised he left so much room open in that bedroom scene I'm referencing, because the original version of that scene had no music at all for maybe a solid 3 minutes. So, inspired by that space & opportunity, I took it upon myself to create a short, 1-minute original score of my own just for that part of the scene that you hear in the Instagram post I mentioned in a previous message that I created just to showcase it, but then I liked it so much, I decided to build on it to make it a full length track...but God it wasn't easy! Aside from creating an original score from scratch, I was planning to get real horn players to record solos to it, since I had arranged and played my own "horns", on keyboard, for the hook. You see, while they sounded realistic enough for the hook/melody line, if you heard how fake it sounded when I played the trumpet or saxophone solo on keys?? Horrendous!! 😖 🤦🏾‍♂️ As for the horn players, they were either willing but unable to do it, or couldn't do it until past my deadline (since I originally planned to drop this on Valentine's Day, but had to settle for the day after). 🤷🏾‍♂️ Well, the next best thing I could do was scour the Internet for royalty-free horn samples that weren't very long in time length, but I had to meticulously edit/cut/re-pitch/EQ/piece together sooooooo many different clips until I custom made solos for the "featured trumpeter and saxophonist"–sort of like a musical Frankenstein's monster of combining many royalty-free musician recordings just to make two soloists lol

Despite all that, I really do hope you enjoy this piece, which I worked really hard on and feel proud of because I always loved classic jazz scores in films and this one feels like I've finally reached a point in my life that my musical skills have caught up to my mind's imagination to create really good ones just like you hear in movies; all I need now is to have this additionally scored with a real string orchestra and it's all over–next level stuff! And in keeping with Black History Month, I celebrate Sidney, Abbey, and this wonderful film and that historic & beautiful display of Black Love (and love, in general), plus this song will be featured in my upcoming album–22022022–that's dropping on Feb 22nd, week from today! 😳 I have so much to get done in such a short amount of time because some contributors I was waiting for didn't come through (especially why it took me longer to finish this song) so I'll have to see what I can use and what may have to get cut and released at another time...everything for a reason, though, and even if it's just an EP of a few quality songs, I'll be content with that.

Until then, I hope you really enjoy this one and that the inspiration that it infused it flows through to your ears and gives you something sexy to chill to, whether you relax and listen to it on your own, or if you share this with some pleasant company (post-Valentine's vibes lol).

Available also on Bandcamp, and later on on most streaming sites (in maybe a week's time). Spread the word!



Original composition & arrangement (consisting of: Grand piano, Upright/Double bass, Jazz drum editing*, Trumpet & Saxophone melody line on the hook/chorus, Trumpet & Saxophone solos and ad-libs editing/EQ'ing/pitching and arrangement**) and all mixing and mastering by Ahmed Sirour (via Logic Pro)

*(royalty-free sample/loop)
**(royalty-free samples/loops consisting mostly of a Turkish horn player named Toprak Barut, but also fused with various other horn players from royalty-free sample packs with no identifying info)