For Lenny: Episode 9
This track, this simple song, represents everything I am hoping to express about Leonard Bernstein and about American music - about inspiration and collaboration, tradition and innovation.
Thomas Hampson began his career under Bernstein's guidance, learned and performed Bernstein's music under the Maestro's baton, knew LB as a mentor and a friend, and took from him inspiration for his own life in music.
I first saw Tom perform when I was a student in Vienna, and I recognized him immediately for what he is: an American original. Like Leonard Bernstein.
American music brought us together. Way back when I was putting together my album American Ballads, I happened upon Tom's Song of America project, and I fell in love with a new world of music. American songs, the American vernacular, our history, our story, told in music... And a light went on for me. You could be an artist, a great performer, a scholar, a teacher, an explorer... Like Thomas Hampson. Like Leonard Bernstein.
And all these years later, Tom and I are making music together, and it's magic. What he does with A Simple Song began back in the day with LB. I feel so lucky, so blessed, to be here today with Tom.
And this is our journey - American music, American musicians - passing a torch, sharing a story, walking down this long road of history, singing a simple song.