Every WordPress release is named after a jazz musician. I didn’t grow up listening to jazz and still don’t have much of an ear for it, despite significant exposure through college (I did terribly in required jazz classes, but I still went to concerts!). So when it came time to pick a musician for the release, I wasn’t quite sure where to go. As a pianist, I felt torn about my bias – Art Tatum came to mind almost immediately, but didn’t immediately feel right. I would also have loved for it to be Ella Fitzgerald for some hometown pride, but she’s already got a release named after her.

Then I remembered that there is a jazz musician whose work I know a little better and have loved: Benny Goodman. He’s known for quite a bit in the jazz world, as well as in pop culture – if you’re familiar with “Sing, Sing, Sing”, it’s probably this version:

In classical music, Benny Goodman is known for commissioning and premiering some of the most significant chamber and concerto works for clarinet in the 20th century, such as Bartók’s Contrasts and Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Being married to a clarinetist, I am deeply familiar with these works and their lasting influence.

When I settled down to work with Michael Pick on the release video, we chatted about what the style and tone of the video should be like. You can see his genius in the end product – it’s absolutely everything I wanted, and more:

If you listen carefully to the background music, you’ll notice that it’s classical music with piano and clarinet; specifically, the third movement of the first Brahms Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, a piece that Benny Goodman never recorded, although he did record its sister sonata. What you might not know is who’s performing it, and I’m really pleased to reveal that it’s actually my husband and I playing!

Pick and I think it worked out beautifully with the visuals and the tone of the video, and I love that I was able to add just a little something extra to a release that I’ve been so proud to lead. I hope you all enjoy 🙂

11 thoughts on “WordPress 4.0: An Easter egg

  1. After hearing the piece some couple of hundred or so times in the course of production, I love it a little more each time. It sets the tone of the video – and the release – so beautifully.

  2. Great job, Helen! I’m excited for the new features. 🙂 Personally, I’m holding out for a “Sun Ra” release dedication some day. That would be SOOOO awesome.

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