October: Looking back, looking ahead

I’m writing this from my couch, where I’ve been laid up for the past few days, sniffling, coughing, and generally feeling crummy.  This cold has been a doozy, and I am grateful to be on the mend.  The silver lining, I suppose, is that I’ve had a few days to slow down and get some rest.

October simply flew by, and little wonder: between my CD release gig at Birdland and DUCHESS’ jaunt to New Orleans, to say nothing of the general busy-ness that fall always seems to bring, there wasn’t much time to catch my breath.

Left: "New & Noteworthy" on iTunes; Right: DownBeat "Players" feature

Left: “New & Noteworthy” on iTunes; Right: DownBeat “Players” feature

The Great City was released on September 30, and iTunes showcased the album in their “New and Noteworthy” section on the jazz homepage.  Early press for the album was fantastic: the Seattle Times, All About Jazz, and the NYC Jazz Record all had great things to say about the record, and DownBeat magazine not only made the album an October Editors’ Pick, they gave me a “Players” feature in the December issue!  My head is still spinning.

"The Great City" CD release at Birdland Jazz Club.  Top photo and bottom left photo by Takehiko Tokiwa.  Bottom right photo: the band!

“The Great City” CD release at Birdland Jazz Club. Top photo and bottom left photo by Takehiko Tokiwa. Bottom right photo: the band!

The CD release party for The Great City was held at Birdland on October 5, and it was a blast.  I was fortunate to be joined by Ehud Asherie, Elias Bailey, Jerome Jennings, and Jason Marshall, all of whom played on the album.  My DUCHESS cohort, Amy Cervini,  joined me for a duet, too. The crowd was great and a good time was had by all.

DUCHESS had a busy October, too.  We had the pleasure of sitting in at drummer Matt Wilson’s run at Dizzy’s Club (Jazz at Lincoln Center).  We performed a snippet of “Que Sera, Sera” and then sang backgrounds on Matt’s tune, “Feel the Sway.”  A scant few days later, we hopped a plane and flew to the Crescent City, where we performed at Snug Harbor with the brilliant clarinetist Evan Christopher and a burning New Orleans-based rhythm section.  We were also honored to be part of the Boswell Sisters Revue at the Old U.S. Mint, singing and swinging with girl groups from around the world.  You can read all about our NOLA adventures over on the DUCHESS blog, and I wrote a post here about our culinary excesses.

Clockwise from top: DUCHESS guesting with Matt Wilson & friends at Dizzy's club, singing with Gene Bertoncini at All Nite Soul, with trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon and NYC hot jazz impresario Michael "Misha" Katsobashvili, with bandleader extraordinaire Vince Giordano.

Clockwise from top: DUCHESS guesting with Matt Wilson & friends at Dizzy’s club; singing with Gene Bertoncini at All Nite Soul; with trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon and NYC hot jazz impresario Michael “Misha” Katsobashvili; with bandleader extraordinaire Vince Giordano.

DUCHESS flew back to NYC on October 12, and we went straight from the airport to St. Peters in midtown Manhattan, the “jazz church,” where we were part of All Nite Soul, honoring legendary guitarist Gene Bertoncini.  Gene’s beautiful spirit and musical brilliance were inspiring to everyone in attendance; it was such an honor to sing with him.  We closed out October with a guest appearance at Iguana, where we sang a few tunes with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.  Vince was as welcoming and gracious as ever, and the band was unbelievably swinging.  Wycliffe Gordon was also in the house, and he blew the roof off the joint with his version of “Lazy River.”  Heaven!

Looking ahead, I have one goal: to kick this cold to the curb so I can get back to being busy!  I’ve got a couple of recording sessions on tap this month, a handful of fun gigs, and—of course!—Thanksgiving preparations.

In October, I…
Blogged About: Autumn in New York.  Singer-Friend Melissa Stylianou.  Eating in New Orleans.

Watched: Keep On Keepin’ On.  RUN, don’t walk, to see this beautiful, life-affirming documentary about the friendship between nonagenarian trumpet legend Clark Terry and 20-something pianist Justin Kauflin.

Read: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole.  I began reading this book on the flight to New Orleans, and finished it shortly after we got back.  The rhythm and cadence of Toole’s New Orleans dialogue brought the city to life for me more than any tourist guide ever could, and his unforgettable protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly, is a character for the ages.

Listened to: Still Runnin’ Round in the Wilderness, by Matt Munisteri.  Munisteri’s recording of “the lost music of Willard Robison” is a mélange of jazz, Americana, and blues.  His playing and singing are dexterous and witty, and his liner notes reveal that he’s a musicologist, too.  This is a fascinating project by a thoughtful, curious artist.

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