A week of Jazz immersion

Jam at the CoHo Coffeehouse with Dana Kennedy, Larry Grenadier, Eric Harland and Joshua Redman

Just back from a week at my first Stanford Jazz Residency. Studied with Madeleine Eastman, Dena De Rose and Fred Harris. I sang a lot and listened more. Every night there was an amazing concert with people like saxaphonists, Joshua Redman and Andrew Speight, pianists, George Cables and Taylor Eigsti, bassists, Larry Grenadier and Reuben Rogers, and drummers, Eddie Marshall, Clarence Penn and Eric Harland.

I was lucky enough to be able to join the Latin Jazz big band under the direction of the great flutist, John Calloway and after three days working really hard to memorize Dos Gardenias Para Ti, which most remember from the Buena Vista Social Club film, I performed it in the courtyard outside of the Stanford cafeteria and coffeehouse. Holding one’s own in the midst of about nine horn players, two drummers, marracas, piano, and bass really required focus and determination. Glad to have had that experience and look forward to trying that again one day soon!

I’ll be singing tonight at the Villa D’Este and am curious to see what the experience is like after a week of intensive immersion in the music of Jazz.

Posted in performance, singing on August 9, 2010 – 4:16 pm | Comments (1)

Singing in the garden one lovely autumn afternoon

I was invited to sing at Deborah Tabroff’s garden jazz party this past Saturday at her lovely home in Mountain View.  Deborah is a landscape artist as well as a talented vocalist, and the gardens are sweet.  There is a coi pond, trompe l’oeuil mural of Cabo San Lucas, lovely trees and flowers and a great stage set up under redwood trees.  I sang Autumn Leaves because I always think of that song this time of year  and Alright,  Ok, You Win, a new dance song I’ve been working on after hearing it recently when I took the Free Linda Hop class in Golden Gate Park.

 

Posted in performance, singing on November 17, 2009 – 12:13 am | Comments (0)

What a Wonderful World

what a wonderful worldThe gifts of life are so unpredictable. Recently, I was at a state wide conference of Staffing Professionals leading a speed networking event in Sacramento. At the opening night mixer I met a woman named Patricia Drain, the Keynote speaker, and during our conversation she learned about my singing. When she heard that the type of music I perform includes standards like “What a Wonderful Life,” she wanted me to sing for the group. She said that she and her husband love that song so much that they play it at every anniversary. At first, I deferred, thinking that a business conference wasn’t really the right kind of place for my singing. She persisted and said that she felt the opposite were true and that it would actually be something special. Finally, I agreed.

The next day, right before lunchtime there was a representative from The St. Johns Homeless Shelter there to receive the proceeds of the Conference’s Raffle ticket sales. She spoke to the conferences and described the work of the center and described the life of the children of the homeless there. It was sad to hear the actual disadvantages the kids experience. She listed the simplest things that most other kids expect from their parents, like rides to after school sporting events or birthday parties that these kids wouldn’t have it weren’t for the generosity of groups like ours. After her speech, I was introduced. I was very moved by her speech and realized that the song I was set to sing, “What a Wonderful Life” should be sung in the children’s honor. I didn’t expect what followed. People stood and cheered and I saw tears in the eyes of so many of my business peers. Several came up and hugged me. The woman who had just spoken thanked me for the song and told me that that song was one of her favorites and in fact was the song she’s chosen for her ringtone on her mobile phone. I know it wasn’t about the quality of my singing that day but that I was there at that moment and that the singing of that song juxtaposed with the story of the homeless children touched a chord in people. I felt like everyone received a gift that day, the children, the people in the audience and of course, myself. I received a wonderful lesson. I learned that by getting out of my own way and offering what I have to people, I can allow real magic to happen.

Posted in life, singing on October 12, 2009 – 3:35 am | Comments (0)

Singing for the elephants

This July, I stayed at the Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park (www.elephantnaturepark.org) in Thailand with a group of women from the Threshold Choir (thresholdchoir.org). We sang to elephants, which are amazingly sensitive animals and they seemed to appreciate it. I had the opportunity to play with a little elephant calf and like a cat, he loved being scratched under his chin so much that he fell asleep leaning right up against my cheek. Moments like that one make life extraordinary!

Posted in life, singing on August 13, 2009 – 5:30 am | Comments (0)