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Manhattan Special

by Onyx Collective

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1.
Spring is here! Why doesn't my heart go dancing? Spring is here! Why isn't the waltz entrancing? No desire, no ambition leads me Maybe it's because nobody needs me Spring is here! Why doesn't the breeze delight me? Stars appear, why doesn't the night invite me? Maybe it's because nobody loves me Spring is here I hear Spring is here! Why doesn't my heart go dancing? Spring is here! Why isn't the waltz entrancing? No desire, no ambition leads me Maybe it's because nobody needs me Spring is here! Why doesn't the breeze delight me? Stars appear, why doesn't the night invite me? Maybe it's because nobody loves me Spring is here I hear
2.
Manhattan 03:56
Summer journeys to Niag'ra And to other places aggra- vate all our cares. We'll save our fares; I've a cozy little flat in What is known as old Manhattan, We'll settle down Right here in town. We'll have Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island too. It's lovely going through the Zoo. It's very fancy On old Delancey Street you know. The subway charms us so, When balmy breezes blow To and fro. And tell me what street Compares with Mott Street In July? Sweet pushcarts gently gliding by. The great big city's a wondrous toy Just made for a girl and boy -- We'll turn Manhattan Into an isle of joy. We'll go to Greenwich, Where modern men itch To be free, And Bowling Green you'll see with me. We'll bathe at Brighton, The fish you'll frighten When you're in, Your bathing suit so thin Will make the shellfish grin, Fin to fin. I'd like to take a Sail on Jamaica Bay with you, And fair Canarsie's Lakes we'll view. The city's bustle cannot destroy The dreams of a girl and boy -- We'll turn Manhattan Into an isle of joy. We'll go to Yonkers, Where true love conquers In the wilds And starve together, dear, in Childs'. We'll go to Coney And eat bologny On a roll, In Central Park we'll stroll Where our first kiss we stole, Soul to soul. And South Pacific Is a terrific Show they say, We both may see it close some day. The city's clamour can never spoil The dreams of a boy and goil -- We'll turn Manhattan Into an isle of joy. We'll have Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island too, We'll try to cross Fifth Avenue. As black as onyx We'll find the Bronix Park Express, Our Flatbush flat, I guess, Will be a great success, More or less. A short vacation On Inspiration Point we'll spend, And in the station house we'll end. But Civic Virtue cannot destroy The dreams of a girl and boy -- We'll turn Manhattan Into an isle of joy
3.
My funny valentine Sweet comic valentine You make me smile with my heart Your looks are laughable Unphotographable Yet your my favorite work of art Is your Figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little week? When you open it to speak Are you smart? But don't change your hair for me Not if you care for me Stay little valentine stay Each day is Valentines day Is your figure less than Greek Is your mouth a little weak When you open it to Speak Are you smart But don't change your hair for me Not if you care for me Stay little valentine stay Each day is valentines day
4.
"Have you met Miss Jones?" Someone said as we shook hands She was just Miss Jones to me And then I said "Miss Jones, You're a girl who understands, I'm a man who must be free." And all at once I lost my breath, And all at once was scared to death And all at once, I owned the earth and sky But now I've met Miss Jones And we'll keep on meeting till we die Miss Jones and I And all at once I lost my breath, And all at once was scared to death And all at once I owned the earth and sky And now I've met Miss Jones And we'll keep on meeting till we die Miss Jones and I Miss Jones and I Miss Jones and I
5.
6.
Look at yourself, if you had a sense of humor You would laugh to beat the band Look at yourself, do you still believe the rumor That romance is simply grand? Since you took it right on the chin You have lost that bright toothpaste grin My mental state is all a-jumble I sit around and sadly mumble Fools rush in, so here I am Very glad to be unhappy I can't win, but here I am More than glad to be unhappy Unrequited love's a bore And I've got it pretty bad But for someone you adore It's a pleasure to be sad Like a straying baby lamb With no mammy and no pappy I'm so unhappy But oh, so glad
7.
It seems we stood and talked like this before We looked at each other in the same way then But I can't remember where or when The clothes you're wearing are the clothes you wore The smile you are smiling you were smiling then But I can't remember where or when Some things that happened for the first time Seem to be happening again And so it seems that we have met before And laughed before, and loved before But who knows where or when
8.
It's a very ancient saying But a true and honest thought That if you become a teacher By your pupils you'll be taught As a teacher I've been learning You'll forgive me if I boast And I've now become an expert On the subject I like most Getting to know you Getting to know you Getting to know all about you Getting to like you Getting to hope you like me Getting to know you Putting it my way But nicely You are precisely My cup of tea Getting to know you Getting to know all about you Getting to like you Getting to hope you like me Getting to know you Putting it my way But nicely You are precisely My cup of tea Getting to know you Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you Getting to know what to say Haven't you noticed Suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new Things I'm learning about you Day by day Getting to know you Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you Getting to know what to say Haven't you noticed Suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new Things I'm learning about you Day by day
9.
10.
Blue moon, you saw me standin' alone Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for You heard me sayin' a prayer for Someone I really could care for And then there suddenly appeared before me The only one my arms will hold I heard somebody whisper "please adore me" And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own And then there suddenly appeared before me The only one my arms will ever hold I heard somebody whisper "please adore me" And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own

about

As song writers, we seek the emotional stories that are expressed through lyric, melody, and harmony, to capture moments in time. A sort of Magic. Richard Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein were able to use songwriting as a means of bringing that magic to the world of music and theatre.

As a collective, we chose to curate an album of Richard Rodgers & Hart/Hammerstein songs for the 100th anniversary of these songwriters first works. Within each of these songs lives a conversation within a conversation. An ongoing collaboration that over time has left just enough room for our interpretation. The music having been written for the theatre, carried a naturally dramatic tone that allowed us to direct the energy in different ways.

It was an honor to be able to dive into the worlds of such beautiful songs. The stories in these songs have been retold for decades by artists whom we love and admire. We set out to create newly imagined worlds through the voices of today who care about the message of love , as the artists of yesterday did.


About Onyx Collective:
If Onyx Collective, the nebulous jazz ensemble whose name you may have overheard in downtown Manhattan at some point in the past couple years, seems elusive it is because they often are. Onyx shows are unannounced, impromptu affairs: the group will perform in a basement, at a cocktail lounge atop a hotel, and to the street from a storefront all in the course of a week. The cast of performers is interchangeable, as is the kind of music that they play. Salsa and funk are fair game, in addition to the band's own unique style of jazz.

Onyx Collective is a steadfast part of New York, and the city is the glue that holds the group together. "New York's role in Onyx Collective is everything," explains Isaiah Barr, saxophonist, sometimes vocalist, and de facto leader of the band. "The names of people, the places, the street corners here are so legendary and historically prominent - it leaves a roadmap that we can walk through and a story for us to follow."

Though an often rotating cast, Barr and Austin Williamson (on drums) are regularly joined by Joshua Benitez on keyboard, Jack Guliemetti on guitar, Felix Pastorius and Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Dean Torrey and Walter Stinson on upright bass, with Maxwell Deter providing most of Onyx Collective's visual art. There is an additional group of artists who consistently orbit in and out of the Onyx universe. Nick Hakim, Princess Nokia, Julian Soto, Dev Hynes, Wiki, and other New York mainstays have performed with the band, and Onyx quietly features on a bevy of other artists' records. Barr featured 3 times on the new David Byrne record and made a cameo in Ibeyi's live band for their performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. More recently Onyx Collective toured as A$AP Rocky's live band.

The group's enigmatic nature is undeniably a part of its allure, but the force that truly propels the group is technical musical proficiency (the band's members attended New York's musical conservatories as kids) coupled with a reckless abandon. Onyx runs a manic energy through their classical training to create a live show that at times feels as punk as it does jazz. Barr is known to wield two saxophones simultaneously, playing both over Williamson's feverish drumming.

In September of 2016, with little fanfare, Onyx Collective released Second Avenue Rundown, a collection of live recordings released via Supreme and Know-Wave. The vinyl sold out almost immediately, and the project cannot be found online - if listeners wanted to hear the group they had to track them down in New York. A little over a year after Second Avenue Rundown, Onyx Collective made their official debut beyond the city with the release of their EPs Lower East Suite Part One and Two in 2017. The recordings found on the projects are predominantly taken from live performances the band played across the city, capturing a diverse array of atmospheres and moments from New York. The band also released a joint 12" with Nick Hakim exclusively for Record Store Day 2018. Lower East Suite Part Three marked the first time that the group shared an entire project of recorded music that is written rather than improvised.

"There's something about where we play that makes it an Onyx Collective show," says Barr. "Not who we play to, that's not what drives it. It's where we play." Onyx Collective needs the city - the group could not exist without it. And at a time when New York seems more plagued than ever, it is apparent that the city needs Onyx Collective. "Our role in New York is to tell its story," concludes Barr. "In a way that is accrediting and paying homage to those before us, and to then add to what they've done."

Onyx Collective strives to make timelessly atmospheric sound scapes pulling from various styles breathing new life into every note. We approached the music of Richard Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein similarly, extracting the essences of eras prior, and then reimagining from within and inciting today’s voices to introduce us to a new place... That Magical Realm, similar to the workings of the past.

credits

released April 24, 2020

Producers:
Isaiah Barr, Jeremy Yohai

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Onyx Collective New York, New York

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