I’ve been writing lots of new music and playing it with different musicians over the last 6 weeks, to try out a new sound (new for me;) on my next CD, coming out this Spring/or Summer sometime.
For this CD, I’m going places I’ve never been- creatively, personally, musically. Creatively- this will be a collection of original jazzy blues songs that are more jazzy than bluesy like early jazz of the 30’s/40’s era. My turntable has been spinning almost constantly with Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Ella Fitzgerald. While I’ve always listened to early jazz (especially when it rains 😉 I’ve never really tried to write anything close to this. So this time, musically, I’ve challenged myself to write a jazz swing, a bossa nova shuffle, a stomp, a jazz tango, 2 jazz ballads…
On stage lately, I get asked to sing more jazz & especially torch songs, (i.e. Fever, Black coffee, anything by Peggy Lee, Connie Francis). I could do these, but am not really drawn to the lyrics or to incorporate the songs permanently into my repertoire. So this project has given me the opportunity to write my own torch songs. And for the first time (in my 5 cds) this project will focus on voice. So the style seems a natural fit. I like the hope & positiveness of early jazz.
Emotionally, I want this cd to sound like innocent anticipation mixed with dangerous excitement. Like when you’re all dressed up & looking for something to do, and don’t have a plan, so there’s an element of danger because anything could happen!
The anticipation of anything & celebration of everything. A sweet night, a backdrop of tall buildings, fire escapes & boiler room smoke venting in the distance. Downtown San Francisco, or NYC, or Chicago, or Oakland in the ’30’s.
This is such a departure from my last wild west adventures across the desert! This time, for this project- I emphasize vocals, and play only some ukulele, and accordion- on a Tango. Happily, I’ll be backed by a full jazz band (Charles Hearn Quintet from Texas) and some bandmates from our home here in the SF Bay area (Az Samad, Paul Eastburn). Woo-hoo!! I’m excited.
Though I’ve always soaked up the early jazz tradition from my parents records, my mom took me to my first jazz show in a cool bar in Deep Ellum, Dallas when I was 15 or 16. It was a 2-story club, long & narrow, with brick walls, and a small stage. I don’t remember the band’s name, but the music was like nothing i’d ever heard (I was into hard rock & punk;) ) But this music was fun, bright & refined & a little crazy at the same time. I’d never seen horns played before. I was entranced.
I remember my mum was beautiful- all dressed up, and she smiled the whole night long. She ordered me a Shirley temple with extra cherries which was placed next to her vodka Collins. 😉 The place was packed, people were dancing & there was this buzz like electricity in the air. It felt exhilarating, and a little dangerous too, for reasons I couldn’t place.