Welcome to my music blog - The Soundtrack of My Life!

Many of you have asked me “What’s with all the music, Dr. Weiss?” Well, as I’ve told some of you:

I personally call every surgery patient on the evening of surgery just to make sure they are doing well and have no questions that need answering. Occasionally, I would be at the piano and play a song that we had listened to that day. I gradually realized that I wanted to go through all the music that I had played during my life and at least start making a list of the songs that I had recently played.

Well, there are now about 600 songs on the list and I realized that it in a way it represented the ‘soundtrack of my life’! And that’s how I got the idea to record these songs and share them with my patients, friends and family. After I record them they will reside here, for easy access.

Music is truth. It’s honest. It’s really the first social media, where in a way, people could share their souls directly. And isn’t that what the purpose of social media is and why it’s so popular - trying to share who you really are, as completely and directly as possible?

Finally, it has been (and will continue to be) a genuine pleasure sharing these different songs with you and I really appreciate all of your positive feedback!!

Musical Genres

Im In The Mood For Love

I’m In The Mood For Love

February 14, 2024

I’m In The Mood For Love (1:55) Recorded 2/13/24 George Shearing   George Shearing passed away ON THIS DAY, February 14, in 2011. One of the jazz greats, Sir George Shearing was known for his incomparable and complex reharmonizations. Usually, in classical, pop, or jazz, a piano player may use (hopefully sparingly) the damper pedal (the one on the right) to blend adjacent similar chords, usually one or two measures (4-8 beats). However, for this arrangement, I’m changing the pedal literally with each beat!! Listen carefully and you will hear how Shearing makes the song his own. Thanks, George, for showing us a new way of playing and listening. Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy, Dr. Weiss

Mr Jelly Lord horizontal crop 2

Mr. Jelly Lord – Jelly Roll Morton

January 23, 2024

Mr. Jelly Lord (1:33) Recorded 1/21/24 Jelly Roll Morton, born October 20, 1890 in New Orleans, has been called the first great composer and piano player in jazz. Actually, Morton once confessed that his innovations resulted from his inability to remember and play ragtime pieces properly. He had to “fudge” the notes. His improvisations led him to create loose, swinging rhythms that were more informal than ragtime, and sounded a lot more fun. Morton was jazz’s first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential characteristics when notated. I can personally attest to that. How else would a kid from the Philadelphia suburbs be able to record this song 100 years later? His composition “Jelly Roll Blues”, published in 1915, was one of the first published jazz compositions. He also claimed to have invented jazz. I don’t know about that (Louis Armstrong and others might also take issue with that claim), but he was certainly foundational and very influential in the development of jazz from ragtime. Morton had an eye for the ladies and the charm of a snake oil salesman. To tide himself over, from time to time, he put his talents to use as a […]

Lush Life

Lush Life

November 29, 2023

Lush Life (3:29) by Billy Strayhorn “Lush Life” is a jazz standard that was written by Billy Strayhorn, who was born on November 29, 1915 and wrote the song when he was just a teenager! Despite being written 90 years ago, this song is ageless and has fascinated (and challenged) many jazz legends over the years. Strayhorn also composed the Duke Ellington orchestra’s signature song, “Take the ‘A’ Train.” For someone in their teens to write one of the most unique and sophisticated jazz melodies and chord changes, accompanied by such mature and world-weary lyrics, is almost unbelievable, comparable to other musical prodigies. I’m playing it with very little improvisation and many of the chords in root position. The song and the harmonics are so unique that the wandering melody almost demands that you listen to every note and chord change as written.  (Also, I can’t improvise like John Coltrane!)  There is a great recording by Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass in which Ella (one of the great jazz improvisers) also sings the melody almost note for note as Strayhorn intended. I agree with Jon Batiste (writing about Thelonius Monk’s ‘Introspection”, a different song but one with a similar uniqueness): “Sometimes […]



August 24, 2023

Photo credit: Rick and Dall-E Stardust I always liked this song by Hoagy Carmichael written in 1927.  But I didn’t realize just how beautiful the lyrics (Mitchell Parish) were (although I’ve heard them many times) until read them as I was posting the lyrics to my music video. (see below for full lyrics.) Others apparently have also liked ‘Stardust’, which has been recorded over 1,500 times by such diverse names as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,  Coleman Hawkins,  Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Tommy Dorsey, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Ringo Starr (who recorded the song featuring arrangements by Paul McCartney), Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan (in 2017). I promised to record this song for one of my patients who is getting eyelid surgery tomorrow. I hope that it evokes wonderful ‘stardust memories’ for her. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Dr. Weiss Recommends: If you are interested in Hoagy Carmichael and the period during which ‘Stardust’ was written, watch ‘Young Man With a Horn’ (on Amazon Prime or Apple TV), a film directed by Michael Cortiz, about the life of Hoagy’s best friend jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, starring Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael himself lending considerable authenticity. It’s worth a watch if only for […]

Charlie Parker

Donna Lee - Indiana

August 29, 2022

Charlie Parker – Father of Bebop Donna Lee – Back Home Again in Indiana Well, this is an interesting story (to me, anyway!) It started back in Boston – no, actually, it started back in Hartford, Connecticut during my medical internship when my new housemate ended up being a jazz disc jockey drummer who first turned me on to Charlie Parker, the highly influential jazz saxophonist father of bebop (along with Dizzy Gillespie) – no, maybe it really started in first grade when the gifted kids in playing the bells were called down to the music teacher’s office (who was also the gym teacher, something I had a hard time comprehending) to offer them opportunities to learn different instruments to play in the school band and when he asked me what I wanted to play I somehow simulated a jazz bebop sax lead (something that I must have heard in my parents LP collection), and then he started asking me about my mouth and tongue (questions which I have since learned have to do with embouchure, what you do with the front part of your mouth lips and teeth in order to play the saxophone) and being the smart aleck […]

Cow Cow Boogie

Cow Cow Boogie

March 16, 2022

On This Day (March 16) in 1909, Don Raye was born, who wrote the music for ”Cow Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)”, a "country-boogie"-style blues song utilizing the folklore of the singing cowboy in the American West. In the lyrics, the cowboy is from the city and tells his "dogies" (motherless calves) to "get hip." The lyrics were written by Benny Carter and Gene De Paul. The song was written for the 1942 Abbott & Costello film Ride 'Em Cowboy, which included Ella Fitzgerald in her first film role (a minor one). The first recording was by Freddie Slack & his Orchestra, featuring vocalist Ella Mae Morse in 1942. The record was just the second release by Capitol Records and their first million-seller/ number one on the charts record. Morse learned the song from hearing Ella on a soundtrack she had acquired, even though the song had been cut from the movie! Benny Carter, a pioneer on the alto saxophone, was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. Carter had an unusually long career. He was perhaps the only musician to have recorded in eight different decades. This one’s dedicated to my friend and patient Barbara J. See Ella [...]
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The Look of Love

January 25, 2021

Ursula Andress - the 1st 007 James Bond Girl (Dr. No 1962) and Burt Bacharach's inspiration for 'The Look of Love' "The Look of Love" was released today, January 29, in 1967 - 54 years ago! It’s a popular song composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and originally sung by English pop singer Dusty Springfield, which appeared in the 1967 spoof James Bond film Casino Royale (definitely not to be confused with the 2006 version with Daniel Craig.) It received a Best Song nomination in the 1968 Academy Awards and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. According to Bacharach, the melody was inspired by watching sex symbol Ursula Andress in an early cut of the film. I agree with Bacharach that the song works great simply as a stand-alone atmospheric instrumental, as you’ll soon hear. WARNING! Music theory discussion ahead! Proceed with caution! Thoughts on jazz improvisation. Talking about instrumentals, many of the songs that I’ve been recording are pretty ‘straight’ without much melodic improvisation. However, in the second verse of this recording of ‘The Look of Love’, I’m improvising using a jazz theory that I’ve recently discovered by George Russell called the ‘Lydian Chromatic Concept of [...]
Louis Armstrong

Them There Eyes (part of Happy Jazz Medley)

August 12, 2020

“Them There Eyes” is a jazz song written by Maceo Pinkard, Doris Tauber, and William Tracey that was published in 1930. One of the early recorded versions was performed by Louis Armstrong in 1931. This is yet another song made famous by sultry Billie Holiday, who recorded her version in 1939 for Vocalion Records. I know I used at least one of her turns of phrase in my simple version. I always have thought that this song would be a great background for a cosmetic eyelid commercial. Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
Fats Waller

It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie (part of Happy Jazz Medley)

August 12, 2020

It’s a “Sin to Tell a Lie” is a 1936 popular song written by Billy Mayhew and popularized by the great Fats Waller. Incidentally, it was said that shaking hands with Fats was like grabbing a bunch of bananas. This song was pretty popular: there are currently over 100 recorded versions of it! Oh yeah, I wanted to tell you how I learned this song. A few weeks ago I was diving deep on YouTube on one of my favorite artists – guitarist virtuoso Steve Goodman – and I came across a live version of Goodman doing this song. It reminded me of how much a guitar prodigy he was and how I first came across him sometime in the 1970s at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (but that’s another story.). Goodman’s version was so over the top amazing that I jumped up and immediately went over to the keyboard to figure it out. I didn’t think anyone could top Goodman’s energy on this song, but then I listened to Fats Waller’s version. Now I don’t know. If you’ve read this far, you probably have at least a passing interest in music. Why don’t you check out both versions on YouTube (make sure [...]