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Anjani with Leonard Cohen

A Conversation with Anjani (continued)

PM: So where did this particular collaboration begin? With the title song? [I've also just heard another version of this song, by Madeleine Peyroux, that was very good.]

ANJANI: Yeah, actually, that was the first lyric that I got my hands on. And he had just finished it, and he'd innocently laid it on his desk.


ANJANI: And he thought it was just ready for the treatment he was going to give to it. And I don't know why--I'd never done this. I've known the guy for so long, and I've never had the temerity to ask him for anything in that way.

PM: Really? All those years?

ANJANI: Really!

PM: Wow!

ANJANI: We did a couple of songs on Dear Heather, which he put out in 2004.

PM: Right.

ANJANI: But he asked me to do those songs. He said, "I want you to take a shot at arranging these."

PM: Quite a different thing, right.

ANJANI: It was nothing like when I went up and said, "I think it's my turn now, I need to do something."

PM: "In fact, I want this new one."

ANJANI: Yeah, right.


ANJANI: So I saw this lyric, and oh, man, I just was--I don't know what made me ask. Anyone who knows me now, I'm very--I just wouldn't presume to ask.

PM: Ah.

ANJANI: I don't know, I just said, "Oh, God, that's such an amazing lyric, I'd really love to just have a crack at it." He goes, "Well, I have something in mind for it."

PM: [laughs] "Well, never mind that."

ANJANI: And I said, "Oh." And he goes, "Well, you can have it--you can try something." I said, "Really?" He says, "Yeah, you can have it for--for a day."

PM: Yeah--my friend says, "You got two weeks." But Leonard says, "You got a day."


PM: And did it come right to you, the music?

ANJANI: Pretty much. I took it, and it was such a mysterious song.

PM: Right. Where do you begin?

ANJANI: I really didn't know where it was going to go, yeah, until I just sat at the piano and the thing kind of just fell out.

PM: It's a great ambience you got going for that song, it's just really magical.

ANJANI: It's different. And I know in retrospect, he later said he had a version where every time you heard "blue alert" there'd be this siren going off, like, "OoooOOOooo."


ANJANI: And I thought, oh, man. [laughs] It could have been a very different song.

PM: And I wonder, when I think about it, jeez, I wonder what he would have come up with? And it certainly wouldn't have been, as we know, the jazz treatment that you gave it.

ANJANI: It really wouldn't. In fact, I wasn't sure he'd like it when I played it for him.

PM: Because that's not his bag, right?

ANJANI: Jazz is not his bag, exactly.


ANJANI: But he likes jazz. And he's played with, oh, my God--

PM: Some good jazzers.

ANJANI: Played with some great jazz players.

PM: Yeah. But he didn't play jazz with those jazz players, right, he just played with good jazz players.

ANJANI: Yeah. He played his stuff, and they--Sonny Rollins, and yeah, Herbie Hancock got in touch with him and wanted to play. So he knows what it is. He likes good jazz, he doesn't like bad jazz--that's all I'm trying to say.

PM: [laughs]

ANJANI: But I played it, and he loved it. And I said, "Well, you can always do your version." And he goes, "Oh, no, no, no. I'm not going there now." I said, "Well, let me hear it. I want to hear what you did." And he goes, "No, no. No one is going to hear that version."

PM: Oh, that's precious. Thank you for sharing that.



PM: That's funny.      continue

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