MOUNT DESERT — Lawrence Schulman, the Hall Quarry resident who is probably the leading authority on and collector of all things Judy Garland – the woman, the actor and the singer – will share some of his vast knowledge at the Northeast Harbor Library, on Wednesday, June 29, at 5 p.m.
His presentation, “Judy Garland: Moments of Magic,” will include video and audio clips of the iconic singer from all stages of her singing career, beginning at age 14 in 1935 with “It’s Love I’m after” and “You Made Me Love You” until her final performances in the late 1960s, with “Stormy Weather” and “Ol’ Man River.”
As a special addition to this erudite tribute to Garland, Schulman has invited jazz singer Diane Linscott to perform several songs from the Great American Songbook, which Garland either debuted or made her own.
While Schulman said he fell in love with Garland when he was a boy and actually got to see her perform live twice toward the end of her career, Linscott has something of an advantage over him in that she actually grew up in the era of Garland’s prime.
“Judy was a part of my childhood, my adolescence and my young adult life, until we lost her,” said Linscott. “She, along with Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Billy Holiday, Ella, provided the sound track of my youth. I wanted to be them, sing their songs.”
But she didn’t, well at least not in public. Instead, the Maine native raised her family of boys, managed their Bangor home and merely dreamed of what she believed must be the glamorous, music-filled life of a jazz singer.
Things changed in her mid-50s when Linscott found herself both a widow and an empty nester. Linscott decided it was time to start a new chapter in her life. She began to sing all those songs she had loved for decades, and she discovered, as she always had suspected, that people wanted to listen.
Since then, she has performed up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, where she spends her winters, with a few side trips to Mexico. She sings in jazz clubs, concert halls, opera houses, posh country clubs, smoky bars, you name it. She has been accompanied by a host of world-class pianists including Grammy winner Alan Broadbent, who also accompanied her in the latest of her 10 CD recordings, “You.” All of her recordings have received high praise from the jazz community.
When not singing, Linscott spends her time composing, painting, sculpting, making distinctive jewelry and, well, let’s just say, an impressive array of creative endeavors. And as she approaches age 80, she shows no sign of slowing down.
Schulman found Linscott on the Yahoo website “Songbirds,” where lovers of jazz and classic pop hang out to discuss their passion and share information about new recordings and concerts.
Intrigued, he listened to some of her recordings on CDBaby. Like most who hear her, Schulman said he was impressed by both her deep resonant voice and her heartfelt interpretation of the music.
“Diane is not a tribute singer,” he said. “She has her own distinct sound, and because this is the music of her time, she brings something very genuine and honest to it.”
“When I started thinking about doing my talk again,” he said, “I thought what a great addition a live performance would be and asked Diane if she would be interested.”
She was. Now they just needed an accompanist, and from a number of sources, the name Scott Cleveland came up.
A composer, solo R&B and jazz pianist, jazz combo member, teacher and musical director, Cleveland, a Berklee School of music graduate, has been part of the Hancock County music scene since he moved to Brooklin about eight years ago, including serving as musical director for many New Surry Theatre and Grand productions, such as “Oliver” and “Spamalot.”
At a rehearsal this week, which featured Linscott’s stirring rendition of “Stormy Weather,” the duo proved without doubt what a marvelous convergence Schulman has cobbled together here.
Cleveland’s liquid notes supported but never overwhelmed Linscott’s deep sultry voice and followed along wherever the musical story she was telling took her.
This, preceded by a talk from the world’s foremost authority on Garland, should make for a fine evening of erudition and musical entertainment.
The June 29 program at the Northeast Harbor Library begins at 5 p.m. Wine and light refreshments will be served.