The Doctor Reviews Debora Galan’s – “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Written by Doc Hardy, Host of “Jazz on Ice” on WKBS Radio, Stratford, CT
The word reimagine means to reinterpret a work of art imaginatively or to rethink it in a different way. The word aptly applies to Producer Allan Phillips’ and Vocalist Debora Galan’s latest collaboration, the reimagination of the song “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” The original lyrics were written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and original music composed by Michel Legrand for the 1969 film, “The Happy Ending”. The song has been covered by such legendary vocalists as Della Reese, Dusty Springfield, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Abby Lincoln, Sting featuring Chris Botti and most notably, Barbara Streisand, to whom I have compared Ms. Galan, in past reviews about her recordings I have been privileged to write. It was a bold undertaking by Ms. Galan, and she approached it with the creativity and ingenuity she has displayed throughout her recording career.
As is my practice in reviewing a cover of any classic song, I listened closely to all of the various interpretations and then compared them to Ms. Galan’s recording. I listened through speakers, studio headphones, earbuds and even my iPhone speakers and was pleasantly surprised by the richness and fullness of the overall production. Ms. Galan’s vocals are fluid, crisp and pleasant as always. She infused a vibrant, soulful, Latin Jazz flavor into this song, breathing new life into it. Her Latin origins, her passion, and her vocal range shine throughout, providing an authentic Latin Jazz listening experience. I once wrote, “Debora Galan is one part Barbara Streisand, one part Sade and two parts Debora Galan.” Her performance on this recording reinforces and solidifies my viewpoint.
While previous arrangements of this song often feature piano, strings or acoustic guitar, the entire musical DNA of this recording was transformed and elevated by the masterful guitar skills of Ms. Galan’s favorite flamenco guitarist, Jose Carlos Gomez of Algeciras, Spain. Gomez, an accomplished composer and recording artist himself, blends flamenco techniques and rhythms with jazz chord sequences to produce a beautiful flamenco sound that transforms this “cover song” into something very different amazing. I closed my eyes while listening, and I could picture the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain performing the highly expressive, flamenco dance, with their hand clapping, percussive footwork and intricate hand, arm, and body movements. Moving in time with beautiful voice of Ms. Galan and lively guitar play of Mr. Gomez.
Flamenco music seems to parallel jazz as an improvisational art form that is influenced by the many cultures of the musicians who perform it. It is spontaneous and emotional like jazz. But the driving rhythms make it stand apart from jazz and when blended with a jazz vibe, creates a beautiful tapestry of sound. Notable musicians creating this vibe with Ms. Galan and Mr. Gomez on this single include: Tiki Pasillas of Arturo Sandoval, on drums, Nathan Brown on bass, Derek Cannon on Trumpet, John Rekevics on tenor sax and Jordan Marita on trombone. Producer Allan Phillips performs on keys, percussion, and background vocals.
I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Galan back in in 2018 on my radio show, “Jazz on Ice – The Sunday Brunch” on WNLK in Norwalk, CT. She has always prided herself in doing her own thing musically. Her debut recording, “All About Love” was unique in that it only had original tunes. She said during that interview, “I wanted to be different, by not having cover tunes.” When she told me that her new single was going to be a cover of classic song, I couldn’t wait to hear it because I knew it would not simply be a rehash of a familiar tune. I knew it would be different. Ms. Galan did not disappoint. Her reimagination of “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” is a completely different than any of the other versions I have heard. It is truly a sonic delight.
Debora Galan practices the discipline of prayer and meditation prayer and meditation and this often leads to what she describes as “divine inspiration”. “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”, a beautiful transformation of an original composition, with a touch of cultural diversity and originality should be a part of your musical collection. I urge you to purchase it today.