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"It's Been A Long, Long Time"
It's Been A Long, Long Time
June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell
2023 - Americana
It’s Been A Long, Long Time is a true labor of love -
created for the sheer joy of it. Seven iconic American songs recorded to celebrate the enduring musical partnership and friendship of vocalist/visual artist June Bisantz and guitarist/vocalist Gordon Morrell.
Inspired by June and Gordon’s original playlist from the ‘70s, and featuring their signature close vocal harmonies, It’s Been A Long, Long Time is an upbeat reimagining of the eclectic Americana that has always characterized their sound - a unique blend of bistro, New Orleans jazz, folk, and traditional country.
June and Gordon met in 1971 and immediately connected through the smooth, easy combination of their singing voices. Over the decades, they made music from Maine to California and back again, in clubs, concerts and studios - sometimes with years between reunions. But however long the separation, their voices always recombine as easily and naturally as breathing and laughing.
On the 50th anniversary of their meeting, they searched for the best way to celebrate this personal and musical milestone, while living on opposite sides of the country.
Enter brilliant guitarist/arranger/producer David West. Together with his talented crew of internationally renowned musicians and the magic of remote recording technology, It’s Been A Long, Long Time became a happy musical reality - one that June and Gordon want to share with everyone.
June and Gordon are thrilled to receive a 2023 Silver Global Music Award in the Americana Category.
June Bisantz - voice | Gordon Morrell, voice | Gilles Apap, violin | Nick Coventry, violin | Jim Mooy, trumpet | Tom Ball, harmonica | George Friedenthal, piano | Tom Lackner, drums |
Lorenzo Martinez, percussion
David West, all guitars, banjo, string bass, piano
Produced by David West for Play Ball! Musical Services
Mixed & Mastered by Emmet Sargeant
at Beagle Studios
Happy Trails To You
from "It's Been A Long, Long, Time" June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell
Any Old Time
from "It's Been A Long, Long, Time" June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell
Vocalist and visual artist JUNE BISANTZ has co-written and produced several collections of original vocal jazz, all of which have received national recognition.
She has toured internationally, and performed and recorded with distinguished jazz musicians including Steve Swallow, Bob Moses, Paul Brown, Lew Soloff, Jerry Neiwood, Mike Stern, Jon Burr, Steve Davis & Will Lee. Reviews and articles about her work have appeared in publications including People Magazine, USA Today, Downbeat, Jazziz Magazine, Jazz Podium Magazine, Jazz USA, New York Newsday, the Boston Globe and the New York Times. Her work has been released on the Pausa and Nova labels, Los Angeles, Alpha Records, Japan and Arabesque Records, NY.
Following a two-volume tribute to the vocal work of the legendary Chet Baker (Let's Fall in Love and It's Always You), Bisantz released Love’s Tango, co-written with pianist/composer Alex Nakhimovsky. This project signaled her return to original music with a collection of Latin inspired songs about love in its many forms. Love'sTango received a Global Music Award for lyrics and songwriting in 2019. Her 2022 and 2023 releases, 7 Shades of Snow and It's Been A Long, Long Time have also received Global Music Awards in the Female Vocalist and Americana categories.
Ms. Bisantz is Professor Emeritus of Art & Design at Eastern Connecticut State University. She has exhibited her visual art work in galleries, museums and public spaces throughout the United States and designs publicity and album artwork for her own projects and those of many other musicians. junebisantz.com/visualart
GORDON MORRELL has been juggling roles for decades, going back to his days as an Education Ph.D. student at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the 1970s. His career path has taken many twists and turns, but music has been a constant, connecting thread. His musical career began at age five with piano and Hammond organ lessons. He quickly moved on to the ukulele, and then the guitar. As a teenager he formed a band inspired by the then new and ground-breaking Beatles. This led to the formation of several bands in high school and college in which Morrell played guitar and keyboards. During the evolutionary 70’s, he switched from electric to acoustic guitar, buying a Martin and finally an Ovation guitar, which he still plays to this day. Through many changes of style, and instrumentation, Morrell’s vocal talent and genius for harmony distinguished him as a valuable leader and band mate. His relaxed, genuine style, innate musicality and effortless connection with audiences combined with a ready sense of humor make him a delightful and engaging entertainer.
Since college and graduate school, Morrell has been a university professor, a county director of childcare services in Santa Barbara, and founder of the educational software development company, Santa Barbara Softworks. In 1990, he joined asset and property management software solutions provider Yardi Systems in Goleta, CA where he worked for 32 years, becoming Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the company.
Throughout his academic, entrepreneurial and corporate careers, music continued to be a strong presence in Morrell’s life. He formed and led several musical duos, the longest of these with award winning vocalist June Bisantz. His recent collaboration with Bisantz, It's Been A Long, Long Time, received a 2023 Global Music Award in the Americana category.
'It's Been A Long, Long Time' is a fitting title for this new album by June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell because it's commemorating a 50th anniversary. Back in 1971, June and Gordon met for the first time kicking off a newfound friendship and musical partnership that has now surpassed 50 years. To celebrate this special occasion, June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell decided to put together seven, iconic songs all inspired by June and Gordon's original playlist from the 70s. As they say, the rest is history!
'It's Been A Long, Long Time' includes classic numbers that play in the key of Jazz/Americana, which has been the backbone for June & Gordon's sound. With elements of New Orleans jazz, folk and traditional country, June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell deliver gem after gem on this new release. There were many talented folks involved with this project and they are: June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell on vocals, David West on all guitars, banjo, string bass and piano, Brian Mann on accordion, Gilles Apap on violin, Jim Mooy on trumpet, Tom Lackner on drums, Nick Coventry on violin, Tom Ball on harmonica, George Friedenthal on piano and Lorenzo Martinez on percussion & vibes. 'It's Been A Long, Long Time' was produced by David West for Play Ball! Musical Services and was mixed & mastered by Emmet Sargeant at Beagle Studios.
The end result is refreshing to say the least! June and Gordon are setting the mood right with the title track "It's Been A Long, Long Time". A pleasing melody will punch you in the ears as soon as you hit play. Next, an appealing sound can be heard that makes for one enjoyable listening experience on "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter". Track three, "Any Old Time", immediately pulls you in as you shuffle along to the easy-going rhythm. On 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow", June and Gordon provide an excellent cover that is full of vibrance. "How High the Moon" is up next and shining bright for the whole world to hear. "How High the Moon" is simply a breath of fresh air that has a light 'n' jazzy tone. Track six, "I Wish You Love", is music to my ears as the overall set was such a treat to hear live on my computer. A simple yet satisfying finale can be heard on "Happy Trails to You" as June & Gordon ride off into the sunset.
It's also worth noting that June Bisantz is a visual artist AND has co-written and produced several collections of original vocal jazz, all of which have received national recognition. She has toured internationally, and performed and recorded with distinguished jazz musicians including Steve Swallow, Bob Moses, Paul Brown, Lew Soloff, Jerry Neiwood, Mike Stern, Jon Burr, Steve Davis & Will Lee. On top of that, Ms. Bisantz is Professor Emeritus of Art & Design at Eastern Connecticut State University who has exhibited her visual artwork in galleries, museums and public spaces throughout the United States. She designs and produces publicity and album artwork for her own projects and those of many other musicians.
June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell have created pure magic here with their latest release and it's safe to say 50 years in the making! 'It's Been A Long, Long Time' is a culmination of all the years of friendship & collaborations all wrapped up into one, nice package. Their love of music, and in particular Jazz and Americana styles, comes shining through on. 'It's Been A Long, Long Time'.
I highly recommend this album because June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell prove that timeless music never goes out of style and also that friendships are forever. 'It's Been A Long, Long Time', but June and Gordon have answered that call and it feels so good!
"On a purely musical level, June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell's dual album It's Been a Long Long Time is a heartfelt, beautifully rendered slice of musical nostalgia and a grand showcase for their still glorious vocal harmonies. More personally, the project - arranged, produced and featuring the versatile guitar colorings of David West - celebrates a 50+ year friendship and collaboration that has resulted over the years in countless club, concert and studio performances and multiple reunions. No matter how successful they've been individually - and with Bisantz, that includes decades of recordings and countless public and private art projects - there's something magical that happens when they join forces and effortlessly express themselves with a blend of bistro, New Orleans jazz, folk, pop and traditional country music.
For the artists, who live on opposite sides of the U.S., the impetus for this charming seven song, 21-minute set was 2021, which marked a half • century since they met and began working together. In addition to a charcoal rendering of their smiling faces, the cover art features their warmhearted mission statement: "Remember
the CAREFREE California days ... and then REAL LIFE! Now ... hear their latest and greatest ... THE FRIENDSHIP PROJECT.
There's a sweet traditional, even old-timey flavor throughout, encouraging listeners to time travel along as they bridge past and present, alternating vocals and then harmonizing on gems like the romantic and whimsical "It's Been A Long Long Time" (featuring violin and accordion), the buoyant, trumpet laced "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter," the wistful yet hopeful Jimmie Rodgers classic "Any Old Time" and the gently resigned "I Wish You Love," whose graceful accordion harmony reflects earlier, more hopeful times. Bisantz and Morrell's repertoire here includes the Gerry Coffin/Carole King classic "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," rendered with a brass-tinged embrace of sultry Latin energy. Though the duo wraps the collection with a minute long coda of "Happy Trails," here's hoping this isn't goodbye but an invitation to keep smiling until they actually do meet (and record) again. "
"When a musical connection happens it can be a magical thing - musical talents that complement each other so well that music can flow for decades. This has been the case with the longtime musical partnership and friendship of June Bisantz and Gordon Morrell. They have returned together again for a new album "It's Been A Long, Long Time". Their voices meld miraculously. The vocals are truly impressive, as they bring me to a smoky music club, sitting back with a nice cigar. Nothing better!"
In general, there are two categories of song covers: straight ahead, conservative retellings, and covers that use parts of the tune in a different style. Fortunately for listeners, June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell have chosen to do the latter with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" , putting it in a completely new, fantastic light. Originally recorded in 1960 by the female Pop group The Shirelles, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" has become an American Classic that is known worldwide. This version lays out its core elements and wraps them in an envelope of Latin stylings. The nylon string guitars instantly spur gorgeous feelings of warmth, and are reinforced by the cabasas and drum groove. Bisantz sings with a beautiful tone and captivating delivery. Her vocal lines are often answered by the trumpet, creating a mesmerizing musical conversation. As the tune progresses, the trumpet grabs the spotlight with a convincing solo. Overall, this cover of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" should be on playlists all around the world.
Bisantz and Morrell delight with their new version of "I Wish You Love". Based on a French song by Chauliac and Trenet, "I Wish You Love" has been captivating audiences for decades. This new version features some terrific guitar playing and harmonies by her collaborator and friend Gordon Morrell, as well as attractive stylings from the accordion and violin. Bisantz leads through the colla voce introduction with a strong command and big presence. She sets the listener up for a joyful change in feel as the groove kicks in. This joy is felt throughout the entirety of the tune. Considering it was made as a tribute to Bisantz' and Morrell's friendship, it is all-too fitting. The lyrics beam with positivity, and the vocals mirror their enthusiasm. This is the sort of tune that you always keep nearby, just in case you need a pick me up. All in all, Bisantz and Morrell have a wonderful version of "I Wish You Love" on their hands, and fans should keep their eyes out for their new album "It's Been A Long, Long Time", soon to be released.