Sunday, June 23, 2019

Yesterday, I returned from a very special seventy-two hours in Chicago singing two shows on Friday night in a beautiful, intimate space called Winter's Jazz Club, renowned for its appeal to audiences who are prepared to listen.  And listen they did, allowing me the chance to explore the lyrics as freely as I wished.

None of it would have been possible without the persistence of Chicago native Paul Mikos, a dedicated and loyal fan of The Great American Songbook, who also happens to like my singing.  He is a regular patron of Winter's JC, and thought the room would be an ideal setting for me if he could organize an engagement.  Well, organize he did, with grace and kindness.  We have been friends for many years, and now we are bound together by a new set of parameters.  

Winter's Jazz Club is guided in its "We want you to listen" policy by Scott Stegman, a true gentleman who has established WJC as a unique place, clearly focused on the Artist and his or her presentation.  He has been rewarded in his effort, and Winter's Jazz Club is a cherished landmark in Chicago.  Bravo, Scott, and thank you for giving me an extraordinary memories.

I admit I approached Friday night with some trepidation because I would be singing with musicians who didn't know me or my style, and in fact, would meet them for the first time on Thursday afternoon, minutes after my plane landed at O'Hare.  I knew instantly we would form a sympathetic trio, and I am ever grateful of how sensitive they were to me. They were most certainly listening to me!  Thank you Jeremy Kahn, and Patrick Mulcahey.  Isn't it nice we are such good pals so quickly? 

* * * * * * * * 


My next engagement is at Birdland in New York City, September 20 and 21.  Show on Friday starts at 5:30 PM, on Saturday, I'm on at 9:45 PM.  

I happily announce that legendary musicians have agreed to share the Birdland stage with me: Mike Renzi will play piano; Jay Leonhart will play bass, and fellow Rhode Islander Scott Hamilton will add tasty tenor sax flourishes.  Wow, huh?  Yes, I am eager for this one.  It will all be recorded, both as video for "Sloane, The Documentary" and an eventual CD.  

Life is good.  






Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Latest News And The Loss of a Passionate Jazz Scholar

   Here's where you'll find me in the near future:

   June 14 - BILL CHARLAP - REGATTA BAR BOSTON *
                      Peter Washington, Bass
                      Kenny Washington, Drums

   June 21 -  ONE NIGHT ONLY 
                    Winter's Jazz Club, Chicago
                   465 McClurg Court
                   312.344.1270
                    
   Sept. 20-21 - Birdland, New York
            Mike Renzi, Jay Leonhart
            ****Special Guest Scott Hamilton***
            A live recording for new cd

   Oct. 11 - The Clayton Center
                  Clayton, NC - Time TBA
                  "A Jazz Duet Recital" -
                        Carol Sloane and Mike Renzi

*  No, I'm not singing with Bill.  Just want to make sure you mark his date as a "MUST".  I will be in the audience, so I say that counts as one of the places where you'll find me in the coming months.

                                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PASSIONATE JAZZ FAN

Gary Shivers and I, seeking funds during a drive at WUNC in Chapel Hill, in the early 1980's




      On February 2nd this year, a jazz scholar you never heard of quietly passed away without fanfare.  Those of us who loved and admired him were not shocked because he'd been ill for such a long time.  We all cried genuine tears of sadness, tears blended with a sense of relief as well because we knew he was no longer suffering.  Here are some of my fondest memories:

I remember the night I met Gary Shivers at a club called The Frog & Nightgown when it was located in the Cameron Village Subway in Raleigh.  He was new to the Triangle having just become General Manager at the NPR affiliate WUNC-FM, broadcasting from cramped studios on the UNC campus. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he inaugurated a Saturday morning program called “Gary Shivers On Jazz”, from 11 AM to 2 PM.  

At The Frog that night, he told me, with a broad smile: “I have all your albums”.  I was quite impressed because there were only two at the time, gathering dust in all sorts of unknown places, but obviously not at his house.  His compliment was genuine and sweet, and predictably we became best friends, sharing our love of jazz, good food, pretend vintage wine and classic black & white movies.  

After he left North Carolina to return to his birth place, we enjoyed marathon phone conversations between my home in a Boston suburb and his digs in Kansas City. These precious link-ups continued until the last one, about two weeks before he died.  Over the course of time he had shifted his focus to classical composers, having lovingly archived his enormous vinyl and cd jazz collection in a sort of cryonic state, maintaining his passionate focus on music, but now from Bird to Bach.

I can tell you with vivid memory that at precisely 11 AM every Saturday morning, I could hardly wait to hear what the opening GSOJ sounds would be: Five minutes of Sonny Rollins?  Phil Woods? Thelonious Monk? Bob Brookmeyer? And then his soothing, gently authoritative voice identified the artist, telling us why it was important that we spend the next hours enjoying and learning as he explained with undisguised glee when the recording was made, who all the sidemen were, who wrote the arrangements, how the musicians interacted, and whether it was raining that day … well, you get the idea. It gave him enormous pleasure to share his extensive knowledge with his loyal Saturday morning audience.

After three full hours of inspirational, fascinating, extraordinary improvisations, made easier to comprehend because of his concise explanations, one came away enlightened and refreshed, always wanting more. 

“Gary Shivers on Jazz” awakened neophytes, satisfied die-hards, and nourished thousands of starving jazz fans in the Triangle. May I say, without Gary Shivers, the lines of devoted jazz fans outside the doors of The Frog & Nightgown in Raleigh, or Stephen’s, After All in Chapel Hill would have been significantly diminished.

Gary Shivers died in Kansas City, MO on February 2, 2019.  R.I.P.

-Carol Sloane
Boston, March 31, 2019
                           
                                    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


When I drove into my parking space yesterday, I spotted the pair of morning doves who call to each other every morning outside my bedroom window.  They were engaged in gentle fore-play, preening each other, and eventually kissing.  I was fascinated to see the stuff of television nature programs, and didn't have anything better to do anyway.  Eventually, this activity signaled she was ready to mate, and he accomplished the act with lightening speed, quickly returning to his position beside her.  She seemed decidedly unimpressed with his performance, and hurriedly flew away, presumably to shop for baby clothes. He, on the other hand, hung around for few minutes, visibly congratulating himself.





"Gertrude.  You know you're the only one for me."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Here's a sweet memory: It's near the end of 1967.  I am at my hairdressers at Revlon in Mid-town Manhattan when word sweeps through that Barbra Streisand has just arrived, and it's "Everyone on alert and at the ready".  My man, Mr. Edward, becomes slightly crazed, and begs me to arrange a meeting for him.  I haven't seen Barbra since our initial meeting in 1962, when she came to hear me sing at The Village Vanguard.  She did not identify herself, wore jeans and a t-shirt, with no sign of a purse.  I had no idea she was stopping the show every night playing Miss Marmelstein in the Broadway hit "I Can Get It For You Wholesale".  

I do remember she asked "How do you do that"?, referring to those few improvisational elements which were becoming part of my developing style.  We talked about that, and I told her how jazz singing was my life's dedication, happily trailing along behind my favorite legendary jazz singers Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.  Ours was an amicable chat, and away she went. 

Because I didn't want to disturb her while she was being beautified, I decided to send a note into her private room at Revlon.  She flipped the note to write her sweet response on the reverse, and it was delivered to me in the midst of my own beautification:


Love the part about how she envies me a trip to LA!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

I WAS UNAVOIDABLY DETAINED ...

Carol Sloane
October 30, 2018


I am resuming my writing exercises which were interrupted by a series of prolonged, annoying events, producing an unavoidable and decidedly unwelcome breach in the proceedings.  After hours of conversations with the tech-articulate, I believe equilibrium has been restored. Yet again. 


* * * * * * 
Table of Contents

The Rant

Duke University Residency
Snow Creams
Steve Cosentino
The Boston Red Sox
Birdland Appearance



I have been publishing this Blog (sporadically, I admit) since 2007, scrupulously avoiding political comment of any stripe.  However, the current occupant of the White House has forced my hand. 

Possibly you feel as I do: dismayed, appalled, disgusted, dangled precipitously at the end of an extremely frayed tether.  

I think what exasperate me most are not the outrageous assertions, blatant lies, narcissism, fiery rhetoric igniting the parched tinder of prejudice, or even that lousy looking hair. Uh-uh.

What truly frightens me is the vociferous outpouring of hatred and intolerance which he encourages, even deliberately inflames, sentiments which frustrate, sadden and embarrass me as an American.

I wish I possessed the magic formula to transform the Democratic Party into a vibrant majority in Congress, but I don't sense, let alone hear, a distinctly clear voice of leadership and sanity around which we, The Perpetually Jangled*, might whole-heartedly rally.  (Thank you President Obama for emerging from the shadows recently, providing a measure of hope. Please stick around, will you?)  

I sometimes get the impression the Democrats are rudderless, reluctantly prepared to continue up-hill battles with less than a majority in Congress until 2020 because there will be no alternative.  I believe a gain of even a few seats in both Houses will be beneficial,  but I also believe we will all be forced to face another two years of Trump-induced misery and trepidation. Please God I'm proven wrong. 

All I know is that I long for a restoration of civility, intelligence and clear reasoning which should be the guiding principles of the next POTUS, whoever she may be.  

This will not become a reality any time soon, so please cast a vote on Nov. 6th against this despicable man and all he stands for by electing educated, sensible, mature, candidates to fill those important Congressional seats.  

(That "educated, sensible, mature candidates" riff rather emphatically eliminates every Republican running, if you ask me. I just don't trust any one of them.  Not afraid to say it either).


* * * * * *
Snow Cream anyone?


On my most recent out-of-town trip, I spent a thoroughly stimulating week in Durham, NC participating in a Visiting Artist Residency program at Duke University's beautiful campus.  I conducted several Master Classes, presented a mini lecture/Q&A on "The Art of Jazz Singing", and joined the fine young members of the Duke Jazz Ensemble in a concert conducted by Professor John Brown. 

I loved every minute of the week: The vocal students were gifted, open to gentle criticism, and just plain fun to be with. Prof. Brown (who very closely resembles Oscar Peterson in the 1960's) couldn't have been more accommodating and kind.  My old friend Stephen Barefoot was my exceptionally gracious host at his beautiful home with its huge garden filled with flowers and bird feeders. All of my activities on campus were video-taped for "Sloane, The Documentary". Visit this site for updates.

Yeah. Okay.  But what about those Snow Creams?

Oh yes.  Sorry.  

A fascinating writer named Georgann Eubanks gave me a copy of her lovely book "The Month of Their Ripening" (pictured above) which describes, among other delights, foods related to their availability at peak freshness throughout the year in North Carolina. January, the first chapter, deals charmingly with the ingredients and preparations for Snow Cream, a confection hitherto unknown to me but cherished by Carolinians. I will live to taste the treat.  It's a wonderful book.


* * * * * *  
In 2017, I was introduced to an artist whose talent was so immediately evident, I became instantly devoted.  His name is Steven Cosentino, and you can see his work here. City scapes, sea shores, portraits and still life - all of his art is filled with the pulse of life, vibrant, whimsical, profound and moving.  I am pleased to introduce you to him today.



* * * * * * 

End Notes

Need I say how proud I am
to boast of my life-long
allegiance to the
Boston Red Sox
Congratulations, Gentlemen!

* * * * * * 
BIRDLAND

315 West 44th
New York
212.581.3080

November 21-24

7 PM

Carol Sloane
Mike Renzi
Jay Leonhart

 * * * * * * 



You are welcome to comment about any or all portions of this Post.  Write me at slocolmixx@gmail.com 
Or leave a comment below ...



*-Carol Sloane 
The PJ's CEO






Wednesday, August 22, 2018



August 3-5, 2018

I was treated to the exuberance
of the young and gifted who
were in residence at
The Eugene O'Neill Center
(see below for details) 



I look a little like E.T., I know,
but I wasn't the star of the show.
These singers were so much fun to hear!
Thanks once again to John McDaniel
and the entire staff.
You made me feel so young!


The Launchpad of American Theater, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the stage.
Founded in 1964 by George C. White and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O'Neill has launched some of the most important voices and works in American theater and has revolutionized the way new work is developed.

From its campus in Waterford, Connecticut, the O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Writers, directors, puppeteers, singers, students, and audiences alike take their first steps in exploring, revising, and understanding their work and the potential of the theater they help create. All focus remains on the writer and script: Performers work with simply rendered sets and costumes, script in hand, revealing for the first time the magic of a new play or musical, puppetry piece, or cabaret act.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Sloane (Center) & Friends
(L-R) Carol Fredette, Marilyn Maye, Sandy Stewart,
Daryl Sherman, Helen Merrill
Birdland, July 15, 2018

I was so pleased to sing for the audience at Birdland, and to see old and treasured friends at the end of the performance.

 I'm back for more November 21 to 24

With the wonderful Mike Renzi an Jay Leonhart

Come and share the music and the cranberry sauce with me!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Someone in Argentina loves me!


"Jazz Is Also A Woman ..
Nothing More Sensual"

Fabricado por Marcelo E. Albala
Bajo Licencia Alldisc Brasil


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

HOW EXCITING IS THIS!

SLOANE, THE DOCUMENTARY

Is currently in production 
with a projected 2019 release date


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In 1959 I lived in New York, and a good friend was a booking agent who often invited me to accompany him to various clubs and other venues to check on some of the artists he represented.  On this occasion, we were seated in a small studio which contained a piano and no other instruments.  I recognized legendary jazz producer John Hammond in the control room.  A young woman arrived and sat at the small Steinway.  I was very struck by her amazing facial resemblance to the majestic gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.  The young girl sang a handful of standards with formidable strength, although in her interpretations of Gershwin and Berlin, she was unable to conceal her own gospel roots. Yes, she was of course Aretha Franklin, with John Hammond in the sound booth clearly assessing where and how to steer her recording career at Columbia.  Her first recording for the label was released in 1960 with the Ray Bryant Trio.  



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I have been dreadfully remiss, I know, but computer problems, which seemed almost insurmountable, caused me considerable stress.  For a time, even my very skilled tech man was bewildered too. But, time and tenacity prevailed, and I believe all systems are restored, along with my sanity. Remember how crazed Gloria Swanson looked as she made her way down those stairs?  That was me, ready for my close-up, tossing the PC out the window.  Probably wouldn't have caused a lot of damage since I live on the ground floor but, you know ... I was crazed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And finally tonight: 

Mr. Wonderful wanders in and out of my orbit at will, and I have accepted his "can't we be friends" request because he has made it clear there can never be an alternative.  He's a very special man, and I am reconciled to the relationship dictated by his rules and restrictions.  

It's nice to have another pal, of course ... but then again, he is a Yankee fan.

-Sloane