Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

The Sound of Simon: The Paul Simon Songbook

Paul Simon has written some of the past 50 years’ most memorable hits, such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and The Sound of Silence."

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Paul SImon

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Still covered after all these years: Paul Simon's songs have been interpreted by jazz and popular song artists since the late 1960s.

Paul Simon was born on October 13, 1941 and grew up in Queens, New York loving baseball and loving music. His father was a professional musician and bandleader on several radio and TV programs such as The Arthur Godfrey Show and The Jackie Gleason Show, and he helped set his son on his eventual professional path when he heard him singing in his room one day and told the songwriter-to-be that he had a nice voice.

Simon worked hard throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s to make it in the music business, teaming up frequently with childhood friend Art Garfunkel, but it wasn’t until producer Tom Wilson took a song called “The Sound of Silence” from Simon and Garfunkel’s first, commercial-failure album, added electric-rock backing to it, and turned it into a hit, that Simon’s career really took off.

Since then Simon’s written landmark albums such as Bridge Over Troubled Water and Graceland, expanding his songwriting horizons into South African and Brazilian music, showing a willingness to build on his considerable pop-melodic strengths, a penchant for variety that really first comes to the forefront on his 1972 album Paul Simon, which included the reggae-flavored “Mother and Child Reunion.” On this edition of Afterglow we’ll hear jazz and popular-song artists such as pianist Bill Evans, saxophonist Paul Desmond, and singers Karrin Allyson and Alyssa Graham performing Simon’s music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover
Sophie Milman — Take Love Easy (Koch, 2009)
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Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover
Sophie Milman — Take Love Easy (Koch, 2009)
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April Come She Will
Karrin Allyson — Round Midnight (Concord, 2011)
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Scarborough Fair
Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 — Celebration: a Musical Journey (Emarcy, 2011)
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I Do It For Your Love
Bill Evans — Sesjun Radio Shows (Out of the Blue, 2011)
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So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
Paul Desmond — Bridge Over Troubled Water (Verve, 2008)
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Bridge Over Troubled Water (midpoint music bed)
Quincy Jones — Gula Matari (A & M, 2009)
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America
Alyssa Graham — Echo (Sunny Side, 2008)
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El Condor Pasa
Paul Desmond — Bridge Over Troubled Water (Verve, 2008)
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59th St. Bridge song (Feelin' Groovy)
Eric Reed — Manhattan Melodies (GRP, 1999)
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The Sound of Silence
Pat Metheny — What's It All About (Nonesuch, 2011)
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Still Crazy After All These Years
Monika Herzig — Come With Me (Owl Records, 2011)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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