“It is jazz music that called me to be a musician and I have always sang the songs that moved me the most.” – Harry Connick, Jr.
The month of April was Jazz Appreciation Month in honor of jazz as an original American art form and I have been spending time basking in some fine jazz music. Not that I need an excuse to appreciate or sing jazz, I love it. Give me a jazz song with a sultry sax, a funky bass or marvelous piano solo and I’m transported along with the artists!
I relish the unexpected twists and turns in jazz. It’s free and adventurous. I remember discovering Al Jarreau and his music many years ago and thinking, “he can do that with his voice, awesome.” His vocal acrobatics fascinated me but Al also has tremendous pop crossover appeal.
Ella Fitzgerald has a stamina for riffing that is incredible. Her recording of “How High the Moon” from the highly acclaimed “Ella in Berlin” album is considered one of the best jazz scat solos ever. Her “One Note Samba” live scat is pure genius!
Dianne Reeves is another favorite jazz singer of mine, amazingly talented, her vocal artistry shades and colors her songs beautifully.
“In memory everything seems to happen to music.” ~ Tennessee Williams
Music recreates the feelings that marked significant moments in my life. The album, “A Change of Heart” from 1987 brings back bitter sweet memories and emotions. I loved that David Sanborn album. Besides David’s smokin’ hot sax and the R&B jazz fusion, “Chicago Song” was my favorite cut off the album. Another reason this album stands out in my mind is because it was playing a lot during a difficult time for me and it helped lift my spirits.
After the disappointment and pain of having two miscarriages, one of them being a life threatening ectopic pregnancy, I turned in a different direction and put together and performed my first solo show at the “Gardenia” in Hollywood. The show was very well received, a dream come true, but as fate would have it God chose that time for me to finally become pregnant with my beautiful daughter, Lindsay. I abandoned my musical dreams for a while for a new vision of raising a family, a very joyful prospect.
That particular season of life taught me to be flexible, improvise and go with the flow. It also taught me to be alert and ready. Life, like jazz is unpredictable but when I seek God, He provides the grace and strength for all life’s ups and downs.
As a child, when I got stuck or out of tune, my parents would say, “change the channel.” In other words, we create our own internal ‘radio station’ by the music we make in our heart. What music is playing in the soundtrack of your life?
“Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.” – Chick Corea
The bible says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks.” Life is a continual prayer and my life is a prayer of thanksgiving set to music. I’m a Christian so there’s a lot of praise music playing in my heart for the gift of Jesus and his amazing grace but there’s jazz too, and friends and family, whose wisdom guides me and keeps me grounded.
“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” – Dizzy Gillespie
Gratitude for the New Generation of Jazz
“Jazz is reborn” with the stellar Esperanza Spalding. I don’t know of any young ladies that can play a stand up bass the way she does. Love her raw, earthy vocals. She is positively energizing! Her uniqueness is a treasure.
Dirty Loops is a favorite young jazz fusion band of mine. They created a cool new sound but you can hear their roots to the jazz greats that came before them. They do an amazing job reinventing, “Rolling in the Deep.”
With a voice is as smooth as silk, Jane Monheit with Les Paul Trio does a fantastic job with this standard, “East of the Sun (West of the Moon).” I had the good fortune to hear her perform live recently in Hollywood, a very sweet and talented lady.
A play list with links to the music of the artists I mentioned will be at the end of the blog. There are some outrageous improvisational grooves on it! Be sure to check it out!
“I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That’s all I know.” – Billie Holliday
This Moment in Music
In addition to being a wife, mom, a fitness instructor… today, I am glad to be singing with the LA Winds Jazz Band along with my sister Maria Lauren. Our group consists of men and woman of all ages from their twenties into their sixties. We’re a diverse group of musicians with a mutual passion for jazz, big band swing and a desire to support music education.
Maria’s daughter, singer-songwriter, Marianna Riccio also lends her dynamic vocals to the group from time to time.
˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜
A friend of ours helped put together this short Youtube. It’s a fun collection of video clips from some of our performances starting with a Dean Martin Show TV Special, taped in the late 1970’s (a parody of the ‘Roaring Twenties’), to our recent performance at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza with the Pierce Jazz Band under the direction of John Mitchell.
Life is like jazz with interesting and unpredictable changes. Some chords are dissonant and some ring true. Whether we’re taking chances or playing it safe, it’s all music to God ears when gratitude for His infinite and wonderful love prevails.
Stay jazzy with a song in your heart to God. ~ Linda Eichberg
§ § § § § § § § § § §
Link to a play list of the jazz greats noted in this blog. (Click on the playlist tab to see the separate artists & titles.) Enjoy!
§ § § § § § § § § § §
My prayer for you:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1Thessalonians 5: 16-18
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.” Psalm 147: 7
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal advice. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.