Synopses & Reviews
(Book). If you attended public school in the United States between 1973 and today, odds are you've heard Dave Frishberg's voice just see if any of these Schoolhouse Rock classics ring a bell: "The Number Cruncher," "Seven Fifty Once a Week," "Dollars and Sense," "Walking on Wall Street," "Hardware," and, of course, the classic "I'm Just a Bill." Of, course, Frishberg is much more than the writer of beloved civics-minded ditties he's also the brilliant lyricist and composer behind well-known songs including "Peel Me a Grape," "I'm Hip," "My Attorney Bernie," "Blizzard of Lies," and "Van Lingle Mungo," a top-flight jazz pianist, and, sardonic wit in tow, an exemplar of American ideals. From his boyhood and university days in St. Paul, Minnesota, to his Air Force service in Salt Lake City, and then on to his life as a pianist and songwriter in New York City and Los Angeles, My Dear Departed Past is a pointed, poignant, sagacious look back on a fascinating career in music at the height of the jazz scene and a storied life flush with wit, imagination, and good humor. For Frishberg, an internationally known jazz pianist, songwriter, and lyricist, it all began in his WWII elementary school days. Mentored by his brother, Mort, seven years his senior, Dave discovered the music of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bing Crosby while listening to Mort's 78-rpm records. For good measure, Mort also taught Dave how to play boogie-woogie and blues on the piano a musical indoctrination that perfectly sharpened the younger Frishberg's musical tastes and laid the foundation for a lifelong love of music and the camaraderie of musicians. In this book populated with colorful characters especially the brilliant jazzmen and women he played with in iconic clubs and studios during the scene's heyday Dave brings his stories of being on the road and his experiences in the music business vividly to life. While My Dear Departed Past is a must-read for jazz aficionados, it's just as suitable for anybody who ever wondered about the man behind that melodious voice singing the praises of active citizenship and financial security.