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DYAD (2007)

David Thorne Scott


This track is special because I don’t think there are too many singer/pianist combinations in the world who could pull this off. The tempo is lightning-fast, but the feel is cool and relaxed.  We play with and stretch the phrasing but never lose the underlying beat.  Recording it was like riding a roller coaster: exhilarating, and I was sad to get off.  I chose the song because it is a masterpiece by a master, Jerome Kern, and I was singing my son to sleep with this song for a period of several months.

David Thorne Scott


Contemporary jazz instrumentalists are masters of rhythm.  Michael Brecker said a long time ago that the next frontier for jazz was rhythmic complexity: odd time signatures, quirky rhythmic phrasing.  I was frustrated with my lack of competence in this area, so I decided to write a song in 5/4 time.  I wrote this on a bus from New York to Boston, without access to any musical instrument.




Cut at the knees, I'm slowly falling over,

Diving like a swan

Toward you

Toward you


Out of the blue, this feeling of surrender,

Wind in my face, feeling gravity's embrace,

the inexorable race

to hold you closer than a lover!



Standing so tall for so long,

no need to stay strong, Time to give in

My soft heart doesn't need shielding,

No shame in yielding it's not a sin



I can't wait to fall right into you…

David Thorne Scott


My wife’s favorite artist is the country/folk singer Emmylou Harris.  She has a tone that can make you weep even before you know what the lyrics of the song are about.  This is one of my wife’s favorite songs by Emmylou, who co-wrote it.  It deals with the emotional truth of loss.  When you lose someone close to you, you would really walk from Colorado to Alabama just to see her face one more time.  Mark’s solo on this song sounds like a perfect country guitar solo.


I don’t wanna hear a love song.

I got on this airplane just to fly

And I know there’s life below me,

But all that you can show me is the prairie and the sky


And I don’t wanna hear a sad story

Full of heartbreak and desire

The last time I felt like this I was in the wilderness

And the canyon was on fire.


And I stood on the mountain

In the night

And I watched it burn, just watched it burn.



I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham

I would hold my life in his saving grace

I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham

If I thought I could see your face



Well you really got me this time

And the hardest part is knowing I’m so alone

I’ve come to listen for the sound

Of the trucks as they roll down that old 95.


And pretend that it’s the ocean

Comin’ down to wash me clean

Baby, do you know what I mean?




I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham

I would hold my life in his saving grace

I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham

If I thought I could see your face

David Thorne Scott


This is a samba written by Hal Galper.  I was fortunate to collaborate with Hal on a project called Swingsongs, which was a Brazilian-influenced jazz band with two singers, inspired by Hermeto Pasquale and other giants of that music.  The lyrics are my attempt to show how two parts of a duality desire each other, and how that endless chase makes the world go ‘round.  Mark’s job here was to be bass, drums and piano – a whole rhythm section by himself.  He honed his abilities playing latin music as accompanist to Luciana Souza.


Shadows fall from the branches to the street,

The darkness approaches, robs the air of its heat

Pushes the light's eager embrace back into space.

The struggle of colors,

The war of midnight blue with amber constitutes a samba...

When you were leaving me I  begged you to stay

But you turned your head and walked away and

I thought of the night's affair with day



Daylight returns and gives the birds their song,

The bustle of people will be here before long,

Changing the world's lingering fears to souvenirs

The trees and their blossoms

Unfolding now hold back the sorrow of yesterday's tomorrow...

I know that next time my heart you'd not betray

If you would just meet me at halfway 

And restart the night's affair with day

David Thorne Scott


On my block lived a Chinese couple who had moved to the states for a year to help their daughter and son-in-law take care of their baby boy.  They spoke no English, and I no Chinese, but we grew to be friends, always seeing each other around the neighborhood and through the translating efforts of their daughter.  I wrote this melody as a going-away tribute to them, with the attempt of fusing a Chinese and American style melody.  Later, I added lyrics which depict three intense encounters with nature I had growing up in the Great Plains.


Down the riverbed, the cranes are skimming low,

Deciding where to land

Their wheeling and turning don't help them know.

This I understand

When the morning mist is hanging in the air,

concealing things below,

There's longing and yearning to find somewhere,

someone to call my home.


Cast  a line   into the stillness of a lake

and look to see it move.

The watching and waiting keep me awake,

Nothing else to prove.

As my mind reflects the stillness of the scene,

one thought keeps floating by:

I am what I do, and I do no thing;

So then, just who am I?


The thermometer says minus five degrees,

the sun is burning cold,

my body behaves like its under seige,

Closing off the world.

If I ever wondered what it means to live

as human, selfaware,

my heartbeat, resisting that five below

Told me all I need to know


David Thorne Scott


I wrote this song on a piano which I owned for 2 weeks before lightning struck my home and damaged it.  The melody is inspired by Horace Silver’s “Peace” and the lyrics by the birth of my first child.  This is my favorite track on the CD.


Plant a seed in the ground,
Tend it often and well,
Soon a speck of green will be found
And the tender shoots of life and care come up in parallel.

It arose in me:
And it will soon arise in everyone that I see
Who's alive, awake, in the know;
Then we all will grow.

David Thorne Scott


In a recording studio, my hand brushed the keys of a fantastic Petrov piano – in fact, the very piano used on this CD.  The notes my fingers touched were E – C# - D# - A.  It sounded so good on that instrument that I had to make a song out of it.  I have yet to memorize the lyrics to this one, because it is such a laundry list of frustrations.














It's little wonder why my hair's turning gray!
















I didn't notice when I melted away!














I can't believe that all this happened today!

David Thorne Scott


 I like John Denver.  There, I said it.  Perhaps looked down upon in some quarters as corny, I am powerless to resist my pleasure at his songs.  I took this song of his which I enjoyed very much as a child and reharmonized it to show the energy and drive it possesses.  I hope that a listener will not recognize the tune until the chorus comes in, and by that time they will have already decided that they like it, so that when they discover that it is a John Denver tune it will be too late for them to dislike it.  The lyrics reflect perfectly my experience of transformation from adolescent to youth to man.


He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year,

Comin’ home to a place he’d never been before.

He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again,

You might say he found a key for ev’ry door.


When he first came to the mountains his life was far away,

On the road and hangin’ by a song.

But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care,

It keeps changin’ fast and it don’t last for long


But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high,

I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky.

The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby.

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain High


He climbed Cathedral Mountains, he saw silver clouds below,

He saw ev’rything as far as you can see.

And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun,

And he lost a friend but kept his memory.


Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forests and the streams

Seeking grace in ev’ry step he takes.

His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand

The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.


And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high,

I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky.

Talk to God and listen to the casual reply.

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain High


Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear

Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend.

Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more

More people, more scars upon the land


And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high,

I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky.

I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly.

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain High

David Thorne Scott


Another song which I sang as a lullaby to my child.  But because of the ascending interval of fourths in the opening melody (a very hip structure), I decided to start modulating the song upwards in the first half of the song, and descending in the second half.  The result is something that should make a non-musician newly appreciate the shape and melodic beauty of the song, and make a musician say “Wow!”  Mark and I have worked together for several years, so we have a good sense of the push-and-pull that makes for a good rubato interpretation.  Not many pianists can really do rubato.

David Thorne Scott


An emotional ecumenical appeal to the idea of God.  I had been working on a vocal technique called a “fry” which I wanted to incorporate into a chant that would set the stage for this Bernstein sacred piece from his “Mass”.  I had done this in live performance several times and always got a strong reaction from the audience.  Since I released the CD, this is the song that gets the most comments from people. The drone, using the vocal “fry”, sets the stage that the music is going to be transporting us to a different state of mind.  Then the music by Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz do the rest.  The song sings itself, as long as the singer is committed to the meaning of the words.  A friend, hearing the rough mix of the session, hated this recording at first.  Now it’s the first one he plays.

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Next appearances

  • February 14, 2018
    Arsenal Center for the Arts ,  Watertown, MA
  • February 17, 2018
    Parish Center For the Arts ,  Westford, MA