Portraits Drawn Without You

by Alexander Dubovoy

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about

"Your portraits are drawn without you/yellowed without your age"

Portraits Drawn Without You is a set of original compositions that I wrote for piano and voice during the past year. It draws from a diverse range of idioms, perhaps as much from Joni Mitchell and John Cage as from Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Even larger is the number of people who inspired moments in each work. It seems oddly apt to honor them with my first solo project. People I have known at various points in my life float in and out of the compositions freely. Each piece is a sort of musical portrait, an act of representation in which the true subject is conspicuously absent. The end effect, I hope, is like that of walking through the halls of a portrait gallery: You know that the figures on the walls know each other, but it is up to you to figure out the story of how.

"Let yourself go/there was nothing to begin/and not an end"

These songs are dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Babi Quetín. She always made sure I had a head on my shoulders and a piano under my fingers. This portrait, too, must be drawn without her.

"The warm light has fogged your old reminiscence/Years ago, did you know it would come to this?"

I wrote most of the compositions in either my old home in the San Francisco Bay Area or my new home in New Haven. I recorded them, however, during a frenzied April weekend on the Rhode Island coast in the living room of Jack Renner. Jack is the founder of Telarc Records and an 11-time Grammy-winner. I am hugely grateful for his mentorship. I am also deeply indebted to his wife Barbara for trusting me to not destroy her unbelievable piano. I hope that something of that weekend spent looking out at the ocean comes across to you.

credits

released September 9, 2016

Alexander Dubovoy – Piano/Voice/Composer
Jack Renner – Recording Engineer
Barbara Renner – Piano Technician
Hans Bilger – Post-Production
Annelisa Leinbach – Artwork

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Alexander Dubovoy California

Jazz singer/pianist and songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area

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Track Name: Ezhov
Your portraits are drawn without you
Yellowed without your age
All will go on about you
Others take up your stage

The staging of others' lives
The signing of others' crimes

What can you do but walk away and let it fall apart?
This logic had consumed you from the start
Your image fades
The writing's on the wall and in your pen
Confess it all again

Stop thinking that your secret's safe with those you called a friend
We've talked to them and know it's at an end
Your portrait falls
It's easier to give up now than stall
Confess it all again

Just sign this form and let your mem'ries drift away and die
The truth is just in some beholder's eye
Your image fades
The writing's on the wall and in your pen
Confess it all again

Your portraits are drawn without you
Gray with disgrace
Track Name: Do Not Disturb
Turn off your phone
I’ll be your landline for a while
Call the people who left you here

And all the things
You knew had needed saying
They’re already floating in the wind

Leave a voicemail greeting
There’s no more to say
They can’t disturb you anymore
You’re here; you’ll stay

Give me your hand
And let your cord unwind
There’s nobody knocking at your door
They’re not there anymore
Track Name: The Less You Like Yourself
Let yourself go
There was nothing to begin
And not end
Before you know
You're off to bed
And the figure of a past life haunts you
The less you like yourself

Before you go
Take a while to settle in
At least till then
When the silence of a drowned song
Holds you; never lets you go
Defines you
It all goes to show
The less you like yourself
The more of you there is
Track Name: Take the Money
Mortgage all your dreams
They'll interest you for years
Don't let any go
Keep them all right here
Do not as I do
But as I say and:

Take the money
And run a hedge fund

Know I value you
According to the price
And I'll never be
Like all those other guys
I won't fall in love
I'll kiss you and I'll:

Take the money
And run a hedge fund

Remembering the years gone by
I've no regrets
And all those things for which we fight
Are what we get
The system must be good
If it was fair to me
So then I'll:

Take the money
And run a hedge fund

Stocks are soaring high
Don't worry when they burst 
Nights are flying by
But sleeping is the worst
Hurry up and buy
Or sell me but I'll:

Take the money
And run a hedge fund

Simple always wins
When Florida begins
And I'll always bet
On your derivative
Never know how much
You have until you:

Take the money
And run a hedge fund
Track Name: Other Ways
You didn’t remember me but you listened
The notes off the page glistened beneath your fingertips

The power your hands once had has grown old
And I’ve ceased to hear the stories you told me young

And when you were my age
What did you think you’d do?
What were the other ways
That called you, but you’ll never see them through?

The warm light has fogged your old reminiscence
And years ago did you know it would come to this?

And when you were my age
What did you think you’d do?
What were the other ways
That called you, but you’ll never see them through?