The Voice

Linda always mentions on stage how lucky she is to work with the best musicians in the business (and often jokingly adds, “They couldn’t be here tonight!”), and her audiences are always in total agreement. David Finck is an incredible bassist, who so effortlessly and skillfully backs Linda in her stage performances. He is such an important part of a small trio of equally talented musicians as well as a full orchestra. We have enjoyed catching up with David again after ten years.

Linda and David Finck!

VOICE: The last time you were featured in THE VOICE was in 2003. We recall being impressed by your extensive discography at that time, and it has continued to grow since. Please tell us about working with Rod Stewart on THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK VOLUME THREE (2004) and THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK VOLUME FOUR (2005).

DAVID: Truth be told: Rod was only there for one of the sessions. Most of the time we recorded the tracks in New York and then Rod did his vocals in Los Angeles. We did do one session in L.A. which was fun. These recordings sold like crazy, Platinum and Multi-Platinum. They were very well marketed. I heard them everywhere… airplanes, elevators, restaurants, doctors’ offices… The list goes on.

VOICE: While we are on the subject of The Great American Songbook, were you part of Michael Feinstein’s PBS specials on this subject? What impresses you most about Michael’s efforts to preserve this music for future generations?

DAVID: I was not part of his special though I may have been in a clip or two accompanying a singer. Michael is doing something very important. He is someone who really cares about this music. He collects songs, scores, tapes, LPs, 78s, whatever he can get his hands on, and his library is incredible. As someone who is interested in songs and songwriters, I can tell you that Michael is a great resource of information. We live in a time where things have unraveled; where the talent and skills of people like Rogers and Hart, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane, Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, even Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Webb, Carole King, and others have become less a part of American culture and of our musical landscape. Michael recognizes the importance of this music and it is a great thing. Additionally, these songs, the people who wrote them, and the singers who made them famous are uniquely American. I have always believed that the preservation of this music is good for us as Americans because our music is a big part of who we are.

VOICE: In addition to Rod Stewart’s two CDs, you were part of numerous other recordings in 2004 and 2005, including Linda’s CD, BY MYSELF. What were some of the highlights for you during that two year span as you worked with such a wide variety of talented musicians?

DAVID: I really enjoyed the work that I got to do with the late Phil Ramone. His recordings were always fun and involved special artists. Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, George Michael, Elaine Paige, the list continues. I also thoroughly enjoyed the work I did with Christine Ebersole. She is a super talent.

VOICE: Please tell us about your own recording, FUTURE DAY (2009).

DAVID: I was happy to have been able to put together a Jazz CD with some of my favorite musicians from both coasts. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Joe Locke, is featured on this record. Along with Joe on Vibes, I have Tom Ranier on piano, Joe Labarbara on drums, Jermy Pelt on trumpe, and Bob Sheppard on saxophone. I hope to do a follow up soon.

VOICE: Recording UMBRELLAS & SUNSHINE: THE MUSIC OF MICHEL LEGRAND (2011) must have been a great experience. Can you tell us a little about that CD?

DAVID: The pianist Roger Davidson, is a Legrand fanatic. It was just great to simply play those great songs. 

VOICE: Can you share your thoughts about the kinds of music found on BOTH SIDES OF THE EQUATOR (2012), a project you worked on with Joe Carter, and how the music reflects the title?

DAVID: Joe simply mixed some of his favorite songs from Brazil with some of his favorites from the American songbook. He has always been involved with Brazilian music. As an American, he of course knows standards as well. This project was a nice combination of both of his interests.

VOICE: In February, 2013, you joined a group of musicians to record 12 tracks in 24 hours with Lauren Kinhan. What was that experience was like?

DAVID: It was terrific. One of the most memorable parts of the whole thing was reconnecting with Elliot Scheiner. He is an incredible engineer. Both Andy Ezrin, who was the pianist on the recording, and I felt it at the same time. We have both recorded at that studio hundreds of times, in the exact same room, same piano, same equipment. But with Elliot, it was suddenly easier to play. It was a fantastic experience. And since Lauren’s music was challenging, the sound allowed us to focus on the music without worrying about how it was going to be coming out of those speakers. We all had a great time.

VOICE: Ten years ago, we talked about the special relationship you have with the great Andre Previn. Were you part of Michael Feinstein’s CHANGE OF HEART THE SONGS OF ANDRE PREVIN, released on April 16, 2013? If so, please tell us a little about the music Michael chose to record.

DAVID: Yes, I was a part of that recording. I co-produced it with Michael and played bass on a few tracks. Michael chose some songs that most people probably don’t know as well as some of Andre’s standards. We had a great time working on this material. Michael, as always, was well prepared. He had really studied these songs. It made it very easy to focus on the music.

VOICE: What are some of your performance highlights over the last decade?

DAVID: I’ll just make a short list: Playing the Gershwin Awards at the Library of Congress has been great. I have done it for two years in a row. The first included a White House performance. I met President and First Lady Obama and got to play with Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, and others. This year they honored Carole King, who is one of my all time favorites. I did some work with Patti Austin.  I did some recording in L.A. with Rick Braun and Philippe Saisse, a very well received record with Joe Locke, and two European tours and a CD with George Michael.

VOICE: Have you traveled to Japan in recent years? What brought you back there?

DAVID: I was in Japan a couple of years ago with the great guitarist Chuck Loeb. I plan to return in December with Mika Stoltzman, who plays marimba. We will be joined by her husband Richard Stoltzman, John Tropea, and Steve Gadd.

VOICE: You wear many hats besides that of bassist. Have you been doing some producing and songwriting over the last 10 years?

DAVID: I have produced two recordings for guitarist John Basile, two for vocalist Carol Fredette, two for Tom Wopat, a CD for violinist, singer, pianist Janice Martin (who is also an aerialist!). I co-produced two CDs: one for Joe Locke and the aforementioned recording with Feinstein and Previn. I have written a handful of songs… two with lyricist, Marty Panzer (who writes with Manilow), three new ones with Wilma Classen, and a few with my music and lyrics.

VOICE: Let’s digress for a moment. Do you still enjoy cooking? What’s your favorite dish to make these days?

DAVID: I still enjoy cooking. I make a very nice salmon, as well as a garlic chicken with roasted potatoes. And a new pasta dish with crab meat. I wonder if those are the same dishes I described last time.

VOICE: We definitely remember you talking about salmon! While we are digressing, let’s bring in our very special guest reporter who has a few questions of her own for you.

LINDA: How old were you when you first knew you wanted to be a musician?

DAVID: About 10 or 11 years old.

LINDA: Did you ever wish you had picked a “smaller” easier to transport instrument? 

DAVID: Every day!

VOICE: When we last spoke, you were on stage with Linda as part of a larger band and sometimes a symphony orchestra. How are you enjoying being part of a trio of musicians backing Linda these days?

DAVID: I enjoy both instrumentations. I always love the orchestra concerts because it offers a chance to hear Linda in a really lush setting. I miss the concerts we used to do with the late Marvin Hamlisch.

VOICE: Do you find there are different challenges when playing with only two other musicians?

DAVID: There are indeed different challenges. Depending on who is playing and if there is a drummer or not, I make adjustments to find the best way to accompany her.

VOICE: Do you have a preference as far as the size of the band is concerned?

DAVID: I like the orchestra shows. And at times I miss the old band with two keyboards and three horns.

VOICE: Does using just a few musicians play into Linda’s decision to do or not do a particular song?

DAVID: You have to ask Linda that question. But my observation is that she basically does the same material. We have done most of the songs with different combinations of instruments.

VOICE: Do you have a favorite song or style of music Linda is performing today?

DAVID: She has not performed it years but I really loved the way she sang “It’s All For You.” (hint hint) Recently she was singing “Theme From Valley Of The Dolls” written by my friend Andre Previn. I thought it was great.

VOICE: Was Linda’s gig at 54 Below your first time performing there? Did you enjoy that venue?

DAVID: I have performed there a few times. It is a lovely venue. The staff is really nice as well.

VOICE: You’re going to be off on the high seas in 2014 on a Jazz themed cruise. Please tell us a little about that and the different combos you will be part of while on the cruise.

DAVID: I don’t know with whom I will be playing. Last year they just assigned me to various groups on different nights. It was a great deal of fun and certainly nice to be in the Caribbean in January.

VOICE: You recently were part of a tribute to Carole King at the White House when she was honored as the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. We’d love to hear about that experience.

DAVID: All I can say is that it was incredible and emotional to be playing “You’ve Got A Friend” and look up to see Carole King at the piano smiling at me. Her songs were and are a very important part of our lives. 

VOICE: Do you have any current or future projects you’d like to share?

DAVID: There is talk of another recording with Linda. I will spend a week in Italy in July working with a wonderful operatic baritone- Paulo Szot. We will be at the Spoleto Festival. I am planning to produce another recording with Tom Wopat, though I am not at liberty to say more about it. And there are a few other irons in the fire.

VOICE: Is there anything you’d like to do that you have not yet done… a career bucket list?

DAVID: I would love to record with James Taylor. I will, of course, continue to write and produce. I love doing that.

Linda and David Finck -- always having fun!

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(c)2013 Linda Eder