dick grove, rob birdwell, composing, arranging, program, CAP, studio city Audio from Rob Birdwell's time as a Dick Grove School of Music Composing and Arranging Program (CAP) student at the age of 20-21.

Sometime Soon

Track Cover Art for Sometime Soon

This is Dick Grove performing my song, “Sometime Soon”, in one of our composition classes we CAP students took with him every week. He’s reading it down completely cold. He embellishes it wonderfully in his own style - it’s just a lead sheet after all. At the end of the recording you can hear him say “A couple little things…” I’m sure he went on to offer some constructive suggestions. I love how on the last verse he takes the melody up an octave - that’s Dick, orchestrating on the fly!

I brought my tape recorder to class whenever there was any sort of in-class playdown or even when there was a guest speaker (like when Bill Conti, composer of the music for Rocky and many other films, came to visit us). I think we were assigned to not only write a tune that employed some of the harmony or melodic ideas Dick had been teaching, but to also copy it out in calligraphy pen so it would be easy to read down, much like any “fake book” tune. I also wrote lyrics, but I doubt this was part of the assignment. I was missing home, my parents - probably a girl too:

Sometime soon
When we have the time
We’ll share a love
That we can call both yours and mine

Apart for a while
Till then we’ll share a smile
And think about sometime soon

Sometime soon
When the winds have gone
We’ll fly away and sing
That ol’ familiar song

But I’m alone in the day
And I’m sharing the night with the moon
So for now I’ll resume
My dream that sometime soon
I’ll be with you

At times I wonder
Will we ever be together
Is it you or is it me
Is there something I can’t see

Then all at once
I am feeling that our love will grow
I hear the words you say
And that’s all I need to know

Sometime soon
No one really knows
We’ll sail the sea of love
And find just where it goes

Apart for a while
Till then we’ll share a smile
And think about sometime soon

In addition to his spoken lectures (which often followed his written text) we CAP students were privileged to listen to Dick play piano in class almost every day. His playing had a way of lifting our spirits. Listening to the music he played, many of the concepts would become tangible and make sense. Dick’s mastery of jazz piano and his ability to codify complex concepts via his textual writings were a double whammy of educational excellence. That he usually did so with a cigarette in his hand made it that much more authentic in my eyes. He’d play standards and show tunes and demonstrate chord progressions, turn-arounds, and melodic ideas. We would be hypnotized with joy on the days when he really got into it and played an entire tune - some in the class imploring him for more when he finished. It seemed like there was absolutely nothing he couldn’t do on that piano.

There were pianos in almost every room of the Studio City school and multiple keyboards in the room he taught his keyboard students. Ironically, he would often let us CAP students know that playing piano was not required to be an arranger/composer. This was a comfort to me, being a trumpet player, but I was getting better at being able to paw out my ideas on my own keyboard, a Casio 7000 at the time - slow and clumsy, I’ve managed to maintain my amateur status at piano playing. In the months and years following Grove I would own a Prophet 600, Ensoniq Mirage sampler, Kurzweil and Roland MT-32 tone modules, and many more toys, tools to assist me in the creation of music. Today I have the new toys of the day to assist me in creating music - computers, software, soft synths, and keyboards. But the mind, inner ear, voice, and imagination will always remain the most important tools for composing and arranging.