Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World"

Ken Burns said, “Louis Armstrong is quite simply the most important person in American music. He is to 20th century music (I did not say jazz) what Einstein is to physics.” His music has that ability to influence a person’s playing and their mind.


He was a native New Yorker who lived in the Corona section of Queens, NY and one of the most significant things about this jazz great to me was that of all the thing is life (the music, the traveling all over the world, his family), what made his world wonderful were the children in the neighborhood running to him and greeting him as Uncle Louis when he came home from touring. After hearing that story at one of the many tours offered at his home, now a museum in Corona, NY, “What A Wonderful World” became one of my favorite tunes.


My story is a little different though. I was invited to perform at a Leukemia Foundation Fundraiser hosted by Roxanne Productions and it made me consider a few things.  To have everything and complain is selfish. When I say everything, I mean good health. Once you lose your health, you lose everything. But then to not be in the greatest of help, having to deal with hospital visits and radiation therapy everyday and to make it a cause to benefit others, is going beyond yourself and instead not just drowning in the effects of something but becoming a cause for change. 


To see an event like this and to know that people are so beautiful to do things like this, in my opinion, makes the world wonderful. For that reason, I performed and dedicated to this song for the fight and for the cause. What a wonderful world it truly is to still be able to raise up the name of Jesus and bless him the only way a person knows how, in good times and in bad. Thankful, for the opportunity of being part of this awesome event.
Please check out the video here:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cover of "Take the A Train"

A cover song is a song that was created by and performed by another artist that is reinterpreted by someone else.

Jazz artists created blueprints of what jazz music is and decades later,  singers and musicians remain entrenched in history when sharing tunes, many of which are known as jazz standards,  with an interpretation of one's own.

There are so many jazz standards that can be added to a repertoire, some of which I am just discovering as I read the book "Jazz Standards" by Ted Gioia which is sort of like an A to Z guide of
standards. Gioia shares the best versions that were ever released and performed of each.

The last few months have been very interesting. I have always loved to sing and always sang with a passion within, but had very little vocal or music training. I guess there is a stubbornness that goes along with a genuine love to sing and liking how the sound is released but without any structure or true knowledge of the theoretical values of music. Then I came across Jazz Mobile and found that musicology is fun.  It is eye opening and really has enriched my life.  So thankful for the opportunity. 

A few things I learned:

- I do not know everything about music
- There is more to singing then singing
- Knowledge is power
- Theory in music is important
- I need to listen more than sing
- Listen a lot to other artists
- Jazz has so much history and I am a part of its culture

In listening more, I have found that there are no limits to versions and interpretations of a song. Not one person sings it the same. And with every version, there is something to love so much that you may even add a bit of it to your way of interpretation.

Such was the case for my performance of "Take the A Train" at the Jazz Mobile Student Recital/Award Ceremony at the end of the three moth jazz workshop I was blessed to participate in. I admit; I find myself listening to on singer more than any other. And in that listening, I lack knowledge on how other singers did it.  Then I nominated myself to sing a song at the recital and the student rehearsal, I took it upon myself to listen to five different versions back-to-back and on repeat mode.  I listened to both instrumental and vocal jazz versions.

Still not a perfect version, but glad I as able to try it and do some improv. Please watch my performance with the students of Jazz Mobile, performed at Wadleigh at our end-of-program recital. How cool that even our recital performance was still somewhat in rehearsal or preparation mode with guidance and direction from our teachers.

Thank you for checking out my blog post!