mhasasMusic has filled my house – and my life – since I can remember. Although I consider myself primarily a visual person, I find I best measure and reexperience the rhythms and cadences of my life by the music I’ve heard, sung, and danced to. Like virtually all American children, I’m sure I was taught all the toddler standbys, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Three Blind Mice,” but the earliest song I can recall with any accuracy is “Goody, Goody” as vocalized by the jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. When asked what songs I preferred as a child, I can say with perfect certainty that, along with the Ella, I was weaned on Broadway show tunes. My father, an avid pianist, enjoyed an enormous repertory of songs from the 1930s and ’40s, which he played, and sang, at every opportunity on our family piano. When my sisters and I were little and we still lived on Long Island, New York, my parents treated us to an annual outing in New York City to see a new musical. We collected the long-playing records of our favorite shows and we learned their lyrics.

The year I turned II, we moved into Manhattan so my father could pursue a career in music. Soon he was playing jazz piano in local clubs, an occupation that consumed his nights for four years. For me, these were the years of learning the scores to