Robbie Dupree & David Sancious
This is a very intimate recording featuring piano/voice duo performance. This is an Artist Exclusive release and will only be available in limited edition.
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WITH DAVID SANCIOUS
Produced by Robbie Dupree
01 | Carried Away
02 | Month of Sundays
03 | Walls Come Down
04 | This is Life
05 | Return to Her
06 | Wings
07 | Desperation
08 | In Real Life
09 | Sunny Day
Released: September 2003.
Robbie Dupree with David Sancious is now available for download from iTunes.
David Sancious, Robbie Dupree and the roads from Belmar and Brooklyn
Written by Johanna Hall for The Woodstock Times
When true artists collaborate, the resulting whole is always greater than
the sum of its parts.
Dupree, the Brooklyn crooner and Sancious, the keyboard genius from the
Jersey Shore, have been making music together for nearly two decades. Though
the two grew up miles apart, in some aspects, they grew up the same way.
Both were always the youngest, the smallest kid in class, tagging along with
the big boys. And music was a key to acceptance, a social equalizer.
Sancious started school at age four in middle-class Belmar, guided by a
school-teacher mother. Dupree skipped some grammar school grades and started
high school at twelve.
For Dupree, it was the older doo-wop singers on the street corner that he
studied and emulated; in a wise guy world not unlike that in A Bronx Tale.
Sancious had two older brothers and a father who took him to hear the top
players of the day in jazz and R & B, at the Orchid Lounge on the wrong side
of the tracks in Asbury Park.
The roads from Belmar and Brooklyn converged in Woodstock in 1985, passing
through fame and interesting fortune along the way. Sancious was an original
member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band and became the keyboardist of
choice for a host of artists from Sting to Clapton. Dupree headed a
succession of East Coast rock and soul bands until a California-made solo
record caught fire and earned him a best new artist Grammy nomination and
two hit singles — Steal Away and Hot Rod Hearts.
Their first collaboration was on Robbie’s This Is Life, a memorial to Robin
DeLisio that was produced as a public service anti-drunk driving video. Over
the years, Sancious arranged and played on many of Dupree’s sophisticated
CDs. It was natural evolution for the two to perform as a duo, reinventing
the music as an intimate nightclub act.
Interviewed separately last week, both artists said they feel lucky to
have been born in an era of cultural and musical greatness. Dupree cites
“Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, Coltrane, Hendrix... the reason I played, and
spent my life trying to be worthy of those standards. I was lucky just to be
there. Those were things that were laid down and stayed down.”
Over a sandwich and fries at the Woodstock Golf Club’s Cafe S, Sancious told
me, “I look back and thank God that I was not born a second past 1953! On a
curve musically and socially that was a great ride — the post-war vibe, the
New Deal and GI bill. People could improve their lives radically. Free
college education... My father took advantage and made a nice life for us.”
Belmar, he said, has the most beautiful beach in New Jersey and was a great
place to grow up. His father was an electronic engineer who taught radar to
soldiers at Fort Monmouth, and built and maintained missile systems. Also a
closet piano player, as David was astonished to learn one day when the elder
Sancious thought himself alone at home. By that time, both David and his
mother were intimidatingly accomplished players.
Indeed, his mother was a great classical player who began teaching him at
age six. She passed him along to a colleague later on and he continued to
study privately, eventually finding everything he needed to know in books on
orchestration, composition and theory.
He knew from age seven that his life would be in music. At nine, he had a
jazz band. He took up the guitar when he was eleven, under the powerful
influence of Jimi Hendix’s Are You Experienced?, and for a while, would only
play in bands that let him play guitar. At 14, he quit school to play music
full time. But, he emphasizes, “Do NOT quit school! I had a very unique and
not replicable situation! I played everywhere. Rock and roll in white clubs,
R & B and jazz in black clubs.”
One night he jammed at The Upstage with his friend, bassist Gary Tallent and
a new acquaintance named Bruce Springsteen. From then on, he toured and
recorded with the E Street band, making three records between 1973 and 1975,
culminating in Born To Run. But he was always writing his own music and so
he turned to recording it. Forest of Feelings, Transformation and The Speed
of Love for Epic; True Stories and Just As I Thought for Arista; then a solo
piano record, The Bridge, for Elektra. He toured behind the records he
describes as “my own blend of classical harmony and modern rhythm.”
Sought as a session player, Sancious recorded and toured with Sting, Peter
Gabriel and Seal in the 90’s. Formed by “everything from Mozart to James
Brown,” he says he’s never lost “the fun of it.” And he’s especially
thrilled by the work with Dupree.
“I’ve always loved supporting a singer. It started with Bruce,” he said.
“It’s an art to interpret a song and still be yourself. I really enjoy
re-interpreting hit singles to something more introspective and easy to
believe in... Those life elements we’ve all brushed up against.”
Dupree says the new duo versions of his music are “a distillation... It’s
all there. The beauty is it makes it sound like the genesis of a song.” It’s
no small feat to pare well-loved music down to the two instruments of voice
and piano with nothing lost in the translation.
The rich and subtle body of work Dupree has created over his 30-year career
has deep roots in the neighborhoods of his youth. It was a time and place
when, for example, boxing was as much a high school sport as basketball. “We
lined up by height in the gym. Hundreds of boxing gloves were handed out and
you sparred with the guy next to you.”
His grandfather was a professional boxer and it’s a discipline Dupree has
continued both in California and in a gym in his Woodstock garage.
“It’s part of my meditation,” said Dupree. “It signifies a lot of time
alone, working to a goal only seen in public for brief moments. It’s like
the loneliness of road work, and in that, has a correlation to art.”
Dupree is also known for his acerbic wit. Asked if that might have grown out
of being a boy among men, he said, “Without a doubt. You had to laugh your
way out if you couldn’t fight your way out.”
Though Sancious’ meditation is yoga and gardening and Dupree knows the zen
of boxing, they make beautiful music together.