SHERMAN OAKS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / May 6, 2020 / Leo Robin Music honors those jazz artists we’ve lost to the Coronavirus. It is with great sadness to watch so many influential jazz artists that were larger than life end in such a tragic way. The news has come as a crushing blow; among the victims are bassist Henry Grimes, saxophonist Lee Konitz, trumpeter Wallace Roney, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. – a band of angels performing together. “Thanks for the Memory” Oscar-Winning Lyricist Leo Robin was honored whenever these artists performed his songs. Although the Coronavirus has taken these jazz artists from us, it can never take away the wonderful legacy each of these artists has left behind for us to forever embrace. For all of these great jazz artists who have so many wonderful recordings, Leo Robin’s Oscar winning song says it best, “Thanks for the Memory.” In memoriam, we reflect on their wonderful contribution to the jazz world as we listen to Ella Fitzgerald recording of “Thanks for the Memory.”
Ella Fitzgerald recording of “Thanks for the Memory,” composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin, with André Previn and his orchestra in 1955,
released as a single and on Sweet and Hot album. Also, it was a track on her 1967 Verve release Whisper Not album, with backing by Marty Paich and his orchestra.
We echo the positive sentiment at the daily news conference of the White House Coronavirus Task Force where on April 11 President Trump said, “Faith is essential in America. The power of prayer is seen across all of America in this crisis, as our heroes fight this invisible enemy.” While our frontline workers are fighting against an invisible enemy, we at Leo Robin Music wish for a world less divisive where each and every hero gets the credit they deserve. With this sentiment in mind we invite the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to celebrate jazz heroes who have made an impact on our world. Robin helped these jazz musicians by providing them material that each performed in their own unique style. The Walk of Fame Committee recognized that Robin was a jazz hero and awarded Leo Robin a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 30 years ago but still has yet to be installed. When social distance is relaxed, it would be a good time for the Hollywood Chamber to unveil Robin’s star at a ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
More than 30 years ago, in 1988, both Cherie Robin, and actor, Bob Hope, wanted to see to it that Leo would be acknowledged for the legacy that Roy Trakin reported on in his Variety article,” Thanks for the Memory: How Leo Robin Helped Usher In the Golden Age of Song in Film;” to this end, Cherie Robin and Bob Hope sponsored Leo for a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tragically, Cherie Robin never received the good news about Leo’s star because she passed away on May 28, 1989, a little over one year before the letter from the Hollywood Chamber was sent out on June 18, 1990 announcing that her husband had been awarded the star. As a result of these ill-fated circumstances, Leo’s star was never installed. On July 6, 2017, Leo’s grandson discovered Leo’s long-lost star when he stumbled upon it on the internet. When, later that day, the grandson called the Hollywood Chamber and spoke to Ms. Martinez, he told her about his discovery of Leo’s long-lost star; she officially confirmed it was true and said, “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”
Almost two years later on May 23, 2019, Ashley Lee from the Los Angeles Times first broke the grandson’s serendipitous discovery in her story, “Leo Robin never got his Walk of Fame star. Now his grandson is fighting for it.” When, nearly 30 years ago, the acceptance letter was mailed to Mrs. Robin (deceased) and subsequently returned to sender, Ms. Lee reported what happened, “The envelope was returned to its sender and has since remained in the Chamber of Commerce’s records.” She also tweeted, “at first I didn’t believe that Leo Robin’s star had really slipped through the cracks” with a photo of that acceptance letter and the envelope stamped “RETURN TO SENDER.” The Hollywood Chamber made no attempt to notify the co-sponsor, Bob Hope, who has four stars on the Walk. In a press release issued by Leo Robin Music on June 26, 2019, the following was said about the Hollywood Chamber, “What the Chamber did after the letter was (marked) “Return to Sender” was not customary practice but smacks of disregard for the individuals honored by the Walk of Fame Committee.”
These great jazz artists left us so many wonderful recordings of their works including Leo Robin’s songs and now we at Leo Robin Music pay tribute to them. “Thanks for the Memory” of the versatile double bassist Henry Grimes playing to “If I Should Lose You..” “Thanks for the Memory” of the graceful saxophonist Lee Konitz playing to “Easy Living” and “Thanks for the Memory.” “Thanks for the Memory” of the impeccable trumpeter Wallace Roney playing to “If I Should Lose You.” “Thanks for the Memory” of the masterful guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli playing to “Please.” “Thanks for the Memory” of the legendary and beloved pianist Ellis Marsalis playing to “Easy Living,” “If I Should Lose You” and “Louise.”
Many children of these great jazz artists would themselves become great musicians and follow in the giant footsteps of their legendary fathers. Every jazz musician lost in this pandemic had a unique start that sent them on a distinct trajectory. Ellis Marsalis was an educator and a New Orleans jazz patriarch who – along with his four musician sons – formed a musical dynasty that championed jazz values. As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana, Marsalis influenced the careers of countless musicians, as well as his sons. Like their father, his virtuoso trumpeter son Wynton has played to “My Ideal” and “Easy Living” and his maestro saxophonist son Branford has played to “If I Should Lose You” and “Louise.” Leo Robin Music expresses its heartfelt condolences to Wynton and Branford and all of the families of these great jazz artists who have left the jazz community with their great legacies.
The jazz band Branford Marsalis’s Quartet recently toured appearing in November 2019 at Yoshi’s club for a three-night run.
Branford Marsalis crooned with his tenor sax on composer Ralph Rainger and lyricist Leo Robin’s “If I Should Lose You,” a favorite of jazz artists.
Meanwhile, in contradiction to its mission, the Hollywood Chamber is not doing justice to the nomination of Robin. Instead we are witness to the injustice of Leo’s long-lost star and the Chamber’s refusal to honor their commitment to Robin’s memory. Moreover, in a press release issued by Leo Robin Music on July 30, 2019, the following was said about the Hollywood Chamber, “What a strange twist in irony; the Chamber, which administers this famous sidewalk landmark and usually assists honorees, performed the opposite of its mission and public expectations. Instead of assisting, the Chamber obstructed installation by ignoring emails for a whole year and failing to honor its promise for the Walk of Fame Committee to consider the grandson’s request for the star to be placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
Throughout the past sixty years, the Chamber has successfully kept track of 2,690 honorees and has seen to it that each and every one of them received a star, which was then successfully installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – except for Robin. Unfortunately, one can’t help but conclude that Robin has been treated unjustly by the Hollywood Chamber. Upon the passing of Johnny Grant on January 9, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “Angelenos will always remember Johnny as the heart of Hollywood Boulevard, the dignified guardian of its gilded prestige and the human shine behind every one of its stars…” Johnny Grant, who was Chairman of the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee and signed the acceptance letter addressed to Mrs. Robin, must be looking down and crushed by the Hollywood Chamber’s spurning the decision by the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee to award a star to Leo Robin. It’s time for the Hollywood Chamber to respect the decision made by the Walk of Fame Committee and honor its obligation to put Leo’s long-lost star in its rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For more information, visit the Newsroom at the official website of Leo Robin at http://leorobin.com/.
About Leo Robin Music
Leo Robin Music owns the copyrights of songs written by Leo Robin, who was known as the “Dean of Lyric Writers.” He created lyrics that have inspired popular music and become part of the fabric of our culture. Considered to be one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th Century, he wrote many of the country’s most popular jazz standards including “Blue Hawaii,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Easy Living,” “If I Should Lose You,” “My Ideal,” “Prisoner of Love” and “Thanks for the Memory.”
Scott D. Ora
President – Leo Robin Music
Leo Robin (@LeoRobinMusic) / Twitter
SOURCE: Leo Robin Music
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