I last wrote at the end of last year, hard to believe we’re already in August now.
This year has been also been full of preparations for our new release “Many A New Day” on Motéma Records. I enjoyed finding new ways to do these songs… I’m often asked how I/we come up with arrangements– in this case, I sat down at the piano (much like with “Round Midnight” ) with lead sheets of about 30 favorite songs from Rodger’s and Hammerstein shows, one by one I weeded them out– always asking myself, ‘what can I offer that might be a new take on these very familiar songs?’ When you read the liner notes of the CD, there’s more info about the songs themselves, but I have long been in love with certain shows especially; South Pacific (I played Nellie Forbush in the musical as a teenager, many great memories) The King and I, The Sound Of Music and Oklahoma.
I got the box set of DVD’s and watched them many times… getting ideas and inspiration, with the chosen instrumentation in mind (piano, bass and voice) and my ‘dream team’ for this; the greats Kenny Barron and John Patitucci. My producer Michael Leonhart and I met several times to confer on arrangements – what a pleasure to work with him! We had 2 rehearsals at my house, and did the session in 2 days, total of 14 songs.
The very upcoming label “Motéma” is a perfect place for it, I feel so fortunate to be a part of that family! Many fun live shows along the way; in Feb, the California-based pianist and composer Dave Bass had a gig at Kitano in NYC and I was his guest… check his music out (“NY Sessions”) It’s an honor to do someone’s original material. We had hopes for getting our show in at Sculler’s in Boston for Valentine’s Day but the weather had a different idea… SNOW and more SNOW!! That had to be put off until the Spring. We did do the house party in Colraine MA at our friend’s Mike and Tony’s…. thanks to so many folks showed up through that weather!! Rod, flutist Nancy Janosen and I played a set of french and brazilian music– complete with delicious feijuoda from Michael.
We had a very successful NYC masterclass at Michiko Studios… thanks to Hiroko and all the students, then a house concert for them with myself and wonderful pianist John DiMartino. I got to spend some good time in Pioneer Valley, more teaching and seeing many friends.
In April I headed to Omaha to see Ardi and also visit the Platte River to watch the beautiful sandhill crane migration–!! astounding.
In April & May I did two concerts with the wonderful Houston Person; one in Northampton MA with Paul Arslanian trio and one with student big band and orchestra in East Amherst NY. Houston is the best!! And so were the students in East Amherst– what a fun experience! Also played our gig at Scullers, with wonderful trio; pianist Brad Hatfield, John Lockwood and Adam Cruise.
Onto Annapolis MD to see more family and quick couple days in DC – to see Dame Edna at National Theatre– what a fun show! “She” (aka ‘he’ Barry Humphries is the musical director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, where we later performed in May)
Played a fun opera gala in Cedar Rapids (and saw great friends Laura and Burt!) with Rod, Laura Caviani, Larry Kohut and Eric Montzka, then I went onto El Paso TX to sing with the University Big Band and faculty rhythm section (thank you Eric Unsworth) great fun.
Finally we recorded May 1 & 2 at Sear Sound NYC – I’ve recorded 6 CD’s there– great studio !
Onto the Green Mill in Chicago– always a great time, also got to hang with sister Elisa, and nieces Julia and Sonya while there, even got to take the Architect Cruise on the river–
A very early flight back to NYC to play at Brooklyn Academy of Music for Jonathan Schwartz’ Radio Love Fest– (you can hear a live track from this on home page of website) Lots of wonderful artists to hear that day.
Onto Minneapolis to see my Mom and sister, and back to Pioneer Valley for more of the same 🙂
Then, my favorite thing (ha!!) the photoshoot for the new CD. I had a GREAT team for this!! Photographer Ingrid, stylists Karen and Stephanie, and Fanny from Motema; they made it FUN. (You can check out new pics on our BIO page on website)
Then to Adelaide for the Cabaret Festival, an amazing event with a real cabaret feel, in the best sense of the word! Dame Edna out-did herself as usual, and it was an honor to hang out with Barry and Liz after.
Onto the Jersey Shore to see family and enjoy that beautiful area. Back up to Interplay Jazz Camp in Vermont MA to teach (stopped along the way to visit friend Susan and got to kayak / watch a beautiful pair of loons with their chicks on a lake– wow!) Interplay is always fun– so many different musical events for students … great setting (and thanks to Rosemary too!)
Back to NYC to attend the wedding event of the year! My good friend and wonderful singer Ann Hampton Callaway and her sweetie Kari got married and had an amazing soiree at Birdland… so many singers and players were there; what an absolute PLEASURE!!
My sister Tracy from Honolulu came to NYC – had a great time.
And had a lovely birthday celebration in Shelburne Falls with friends Mike & Tony (& Bill and Erin!) at their sweet restaurant Ponte Restaurant–
Now as I write, we are leaving Maine– such a special time in Stonington with Ron Watson entrepreneur extraordinaire (gWatson Gallery, attached to delicious lobster roll and ice cream shop ) Bill McG hosted a wonderful concert with talented string and piano quartets… I had a solo concert at the Gallery, lovely crowd. And …. the lobster! ….was outstanding, as was the coast line of Maine and our hosts Laura and Bob Watson. Also thanks go out to the lovely Irene.
Vermont Jazz Center Summer Camp was a great week! This is a special camp, and I met such wonderful people… faculty, staff and students… beautiful setting on the Putney VT campus — wonderful food (yay!) I learned alot working/ teaching alonside Ms Jay Clayton (she’s awesome– I subbed for the great Sheila Jordan) We were very proud of our students!!
The sweet venue at the Whatley Chapel with Steve Cardenas was a night to remember– our sold-out beautiful crowd was attentive as could be (especially given there was no “PA” that eve due to un-forseen circumstances…. oi vay!) But we made it work– got to try out new material and had a great night.
Onto New Haven Jazz Fest with Steve C, Ed Howard and Adam Cruz– played to 5000 people outdoors, beautiful evening, great energy– thank you to Craig and Ann for inviting us!
And if you haven’t pre-ordered our new CD “Many a New Day” yet (see homepage) please do– Kenny and John are amazing and I had such a ball working with them.
Many tour dates are happening starting in September; Kansas City, College of New Jersey, Birdland week (Oct 6-10!!) Northern California (Yoshi’s, Stockton), Seattle and beyond (Paris, for one) St Louis MO, …. dates are always being added, so please come visit tour page often.
Our Holiday CD is still going strong; Yuletide Hideaway– they make excellent gifts!
** You can see pictures of many of these events on Facebook.
Thanks for reading and for listening!!
Heard and saw many great concerts this year:
Sheila Jordan with Steve Kuhn at Birdland
Guitarist Jason Ennis @ Cornelia St Cafe
Carole Farley Masterclass (my awesome classical singer friend)
Kevin Mohagany at Birdland
Saw some wonderful modern dance in Chelsea
Eliane Elias at Birdland
Dame Edna!! at the National Theatre, DC
John Patitucci at Iridium
Freddie Cole at Birdland
Architecture Cruise on Chicago River
“The Tempest” at Dellacourt Theatre in Central Park (thank you Denice & Glen!) and Sam Waterston as “Prospero” – fun!
My pilates teacher Julia’s Dance Co. / Lower East Side Church
Chris McNulty at 54 Below– a really lovely concert.
Ann Hampton Callaway and Kari’s wedding !!
Ron McClure Quartet at Riverside Park / 4th of July !
Brazilian singer/guitarist “Joyce” at the Jazz Standard
James Argiro Quartet at the Loft in Northampton
Jazz in July faculty concert at UMASS –
Tony Hewitt Quartet at Kitano —