Bangkok Sunset

(Written and arranged by Reynold D. Philipsek 1994 copyright)
All instruments by reynold except
Drums by Steve Read Smith
Cellos by Dianne Tremaine
Horns by Zane Schaefer and Lowell Larson

This pandemic lockdown has given me (as many others) lots of time to ponder my life. I have been asking myself “why did I become a musician?” This question is especially relevant as I made this decision very early. I started playing guitar at age 5 and joined the Musician Union at 14. I will try to condense the answer.

When I was four years old a friend of my parents, a young man of 29, died suddenly due to a work accident. I was very close to this young man. When my parents would visit he and his wife it was he who always spent a lot of time with me. They were hoping to have kids and I think this was part of the reason.

His death was a shock to me. Very big shock and it still stands as a pivotal moment in my life. His funeral still makes me shudder. Though some of the women at the wake knew it upset me and tried to calm me by saying “he is only sleeping” I knew that this was not true. At that precise moment I became aware (for the first time) that this was the fate of all humans.

I became obsessed with this idea. “How can we create anything of permanence?” I wondered. A few years later I heard it said that Beethoven was “immortal.” Since I was already playing music (I was probably about 12 at the time) I came on a sort of solution. Composing music was a long-shot gambit at immortality but at least some sort of way out. So my love of music and this type of reasoning help me solidify this early life decision. I have not wavered from it.

My music is seldom very “Beethovenian” but the cello riff on “Bangkok Sunset” may have that type of grandiosity. I always admired the sense of nobility in Beethoven’s best music and also his undercurrent theme of triumph over adversity. At any rate, I apologize for boring you with this long story but wanted to share it. So I have, as always, attached a link to a tune.

Mary and I visited China, Hong Kong and Bangkok in 1994. While sitting in our room on the 20th floor of a hotel in Bangkok one night I looked at the sunset going over the river and for some reason was put in mind of a James Bond film. That is how the title and theme for the music came about.

Please stay healthy.

Music link below: