The Entertainer

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

The Entertainer

Postby mark reinhart » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:04 pm

I know John Knowles posts on the board every now and again, and this might be a question best directed to him -- but I'll take a chance and post the question here in the hopes that someone knows the answer. Does anyone know why the well-known composer Gunther Schuller was credited as the arranger of Chet's single version of "The Entertainer?" Obviously, John was the one who arranged the song for Chet, not Schuller, and John was rightfully credited on Chet's album CHET ATKINS GOES TO THE MOVIES. I'm assuming this credit on "The Entertainer" single is just a mistake. If anyone has any info on this, please let me know -- and if I strike out here, I'll get in touch with John. Thanks!
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby Steve Moran » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:34 pm

Mark,
I was at a Fingerstyle convention at Myrtle Beach a few months ago and asked John Knowles about the Entertainer. He said he was at the piano with his wife when working up the arrangement. I don't know anything about Gunther Schuller though. That's not an answer to your question but provides a little info.
Take care.
Steve Moran
:D
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby John Knowles » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:39 pm

Mark,

I didn't know there was an error until I read your post. Gunther Schuller is a composer who did some great Joplin arrangements for a small jazz orchestra before Marvin Hamlisch arranged some of those same tunes for "The Sting." I'm guessing that someone at RCA was doing the paperwork and slipped up.

I met Schuller when he visited Eastfield College in Dallas where I was teaching. He mentioned that he would use the Joplin arrangements as an encore when he traveled to perform with orchestras. He told me that classical players had difficulty getting a good ragtime feel.

Steve,

I remember seeing "The Sting" with Becky. We left the theater and walked into a music store where I bought the Big-Note piano music to the Joplin rags. I asked Becky to play the tunes on piano so I could get a feel for which ones to arrange. The Entertainer and Solace stood out. I transposed The Entertainer from C to D and dropped my 6th string to D and get that bass line at the end of the first section.

The first time I visited Chet in Nashville, he asked me to show him "what I was working on" so I got out my hand-written arrangement and played part of it for him. He asked me to finish it up and send it to him.

Great memories…
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby Steve Moran » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:55 am

Thanks John for sharing that! I love the Solace tune too - have you ever worked up an arrangement on that?
Over the past few months I've been listening to the Sting soundtrack a lot at work - really great music!
Steve
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby awykle » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:30 pm

John, That's such a good story! I remember the first time I 'tried' to play in front of Chet and he asked me the same thing. I played him a lick I had come up with to add on the end of a Jerry Reed lick and he asked me to show it to him. I always hoped I might hear him play it on song but never did. A treasured memory for me.
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby DagerRande » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:30 pm

Hey Audie! I've had a couple of similar stories myself. One was when I attended one of John's week long workshops in Connecticut and I was called up in front to demonstrate those harmonics in "When You Wish Upon a Star" and one section was a little different than he expected (intentional on my part........lol) and he asked me to repeat it. I don't know whether he ever used it later. I have a very nice 8x10 of that terrifying experience...lol
The other time was when I was spending a week with Tommy Jones when he was working in Boots' club and we'd go to Chet's office nearly every day. Tommy had just showed me a lick one morning and I played it for Chet in his office, assuming that he had already played for Chet in the past. Chet asked me to play it again and of course I told him that Tommy had just showed it to me. Chet played it a couple of times and again I never knew what became of it in his future performances. Any interaction with Chet will always be a treasured memory, especially when there was a chance to contribute to his already vast arsenal of ideas.

By the way, I was hoping for Spring to be coming so you and I could finally get together again! We started out at about -17 F this morning!
Rande Dager

We are all capable of doing more than we think we can!
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby Norm » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:07 pm

John Knowles wrote:Mark,

The first time I visited Chet in Nashville, he asked me to show him "what I was working on" so I got out my hand-written arrangement and played part of it for him. He asked me to finish it up and send it to him.



"send it to him" meaning the written arrangement, an audio tape or both?
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby DagerRande » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:06 pm

John, I was so caught up in my reminiscing that I failed to mention that YOU were present both times that I played for Chet! The first time was in his office back in 1983. You may remember that I came in with Tommy Jones one day and you were sitting there with your guitar playing a beautiful version of “I’m in the Mood for Love”. You handed a guitar to Tommy and Chet asked him to play something. He played a few licks and handed it to me. All I could think of with all of you watching was to play his descending ending to “Shenandoah” that he had just shown me that morning. Chet asked me to play it again and seemed to be analyzing it. Tommy is the only one I’ve seen play it but I use it on a few of my own arrangements of particular songs that I perform these days.

The second time I played for Chet was at one of your Summer Workshops in Danbury, CT in July 1988. You may remember that Bruce Emery was also there that Summer. Chet came in for one day toward the end of the week and we all wanted to sit with him at breakfast. We had a session with him in the little ampitheater later that day and you asked a few of us to come and perform something while Chet critiqued it. You asked for me to come up and play “When You Wish Upon a Star” and, with Chet staring at my every move from 3 feet away, I had trouble playing all of those delicate harmonics with all of my tremors….lol. That was magical for me because we also had a professional photographer/magician in the group by the name of Fran Ferry who took a few photos of that day. He sent me copies of a few of them. I have a beautiful 8x10 of Chet watching! I'll never forget you telling all of us how uncomfortable Chet was with all of us idolizing him and that he would never spend a week in that setting.....lol

I was a very early customer of yours when I ordered a few or your books in the very early 80’s. I’ve enjoyed watching your career develop and transition from your days as a physicist in Dallas. I was just starting my teaching career in math & physics when you moved to Nashville.

If you’re interested I could email copies of the pictures to you that I spoke of and maybe even post them here somehow?

We're setting weather records here in Michigan! Everyone have a great weekend!
Rande Dager

We are all capable of doing more than we think we can!
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby mark reinhart » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:33 am

Thanks so much for your reply, John. I've been digging pretty deep to find out about all of the album/single releases of the songs I'm including in my book, and I had a feeling that single was just credited wrong. I'm so excited for someone like yourself to see the book when it is finished, because your footprints will be through quite a bit of it. At this point, he songs I've included that directly involve you are "The Entertainer," "Love Song of Pepe Sanchez," and "East Tennessee Christmas." (In fact, there may be more, but those are the ones I remember off of the top of my head!) The story of Chet's recording career involves him collaborating with so many incredibly talented people -- and it has been so much fun to bring them all into that story.
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Re: The Entertainer

Postby awykle » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:43 pm

Rande, I know exactly what you mean. I was terrified playing in front of Chet! Let's hope the winter ends soon and we can get together. I love your playing and arrangements. One of the many things I learned from Chet, by the example he set, was to never quit learning. I am still amazed at Chet's drive to never stop trying new things and I do struggle with that at times. Take care and hope we can get together soon.
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