Saturday, August 9, 2008

Downbeat Readers Poll

****** The deadline for voting in the Annual Downbeat Readers Poll is August 24. If you wish to vote, please click this. Hearty thanks to the Editors for making the ballot especially user-friendly. You may choose names from the drop-down menu or type in your favorite in any given category.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

July 31 In New York City

****** In days of yore, I'd have felt tense, anxious, even genuinely ill before a performance. However, through the miracle of modern chemistry, those demons have been tamed. So it was with confidence and eager anticipation I stepped on the stage of the Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd St. Y in New York City last Thursday (July 31) night. In fact, it felt more like entering heaven just to be on stage with such excellent musicians: Bill Charlap, piano, Frank Wess, tenor saxophone, Terell Stafford, trumpet, Mulgrew Miller, piano, Russell Malone, guitar, Peter Washington, bass and Willie Jones III, drums. The concert was the finale of the series "Jazz In July" directed by Bill Charlap, and paid tribute to Billy Strayhorn.


****** I sang "I Want Something To Live For", "My Little Brown Book", "Day Dream", and joined the ensemble for "Satin Doll" to close the show. I'd like to thank Bill Charlap for inviting me to be a part of the series, and also thank all the musicians for their kind support, not to mention the laughs we all shared in the Green Room. Sometimes it's good to be a jazz singer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Little Brown Book

****** As I prepare to participate in a salute to the memorable composer Billy Strayhorn, I am memorizing the lyric to "My Little Brown Book". Artistic Director Bill Charlap requested I sing MLBB, only to be somewhat startled to learn I've never sung it before. How I've managed to avoid it all these years is truly a mystery. However, on July 31st, I will enjoy the enormous pleasure of singing it with Bill and several other outstanding musicians. Here .

****** In all my years as an active performer, I have never learned to read music. I carry a small, battered volume which contains song titles and the keys in which I sing them. It is my portable library. It is in point of fact a Little Brown Book, but it does not have a silver binding.

****** I was unable to stay awake to view the All-Star Game last night. Frankly, I find the spectacle somewhat boring, and except for the chance to see some retired professionals whose playing days I recall with great fondness, it is a ho-hummer for me. My husband woke me with the news of the marathon it became, but more importantly, the not surprising (to me) news that the American League prevailed. Now let's get back to the real thing please.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Red Sox and Billy Strayhorn

****** The past week has been full of interesting meetings and discussions involving a new project. (Note: I am more inclined to enjoy the newly acquired title of Entertainment Consultant over actual performing.)

****** A new and rather spectacular venue is in the process of structural completion, and Buck and I have signed on to provide assistance in the selection of artists who may appear on its new stage. I will happily provide more details as they become available. (Sound like a CNN anchor.)

****** On a personal level, Buck's 75th birthday occurred on Friday, July 11, and a lovely family barbeque party was held at his son's home on the 12th. The arrival of his youngest grandsons (ages 7 and 5) visiting from Westchester County completely surprised him and fulfilled my intended mission: To see my husband surrounded by his entire family: five grandsons, son, daughter and their spouses. Lovely weather, great eats, beautiful birthday cake ... everything I dreamed it would be.

****** Boston Red Sox are back on top in the AL Eastern Division, and as we face the All-Star break, I do think summer is proceeding at much too fast a pace.

****** I am preparing to join an exceptional line-up of jazz luminaries on July 31 in New York (go here) The amazingly brilliant Bill Charlap is Artistic Director of the Jazz In July Festival at the 92nd St. Y, and I am extremely gratified to have been asked to participate in a program devoted to the music of Billy Strayhorn.

****** I hope you will continue to submit your comments. I very much enjoy reading them.