"I'm Amy Barlow. Come back tomorrow night and know your keys, and maybe I'll let you sit in."
"But I have a Top Ten Hit!" said he.
"Then you should use the money to buy some charm," replied I, walking away as his friends rolled on the floor laughing.
Favorite venue: Oh, I hate to brag, but Carnegie Hall. First time I saw it was from the stage, on tour, and I looked up and thought it was like being inside a wedding cake. It was a shame that the band had so much sound equipment, because on that empty stage, you could snap your fingers and hear the reverberation.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? "The Day I Saw An Angel Fly." It was one take with me on the keyboard. A song about the last days of my friend Jeffery, who was losing a long battle with AIDS. I sing it every year on World AIDS Day. It's about loss and about hope.
The first Jazz album I bought was: Billie Holiday: Columbia, The Early Years.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I've been a jazz standard staple in the club scene for years, but songwriting opened up new doors. I'm a woman, a real woman who's been around the block. I cashed in my 401(k) to finance my CD. It's not enough to be good at the artyou have to take that leap of faith and go for it, no matter your age. Hope is my contribution.
Did you know... I'm an activistLGBTQ ally; peace; racial, social, and economic justice; health care for all Americans; water for Darfur; fighting suppression of women's rights worldwide and the enslavement of children and women to the sex trades.
CDs you are listening to now:
Kate Bush, Never For Ever (EMI Music);
Billie Holiday, Lady Day (Columbia);
Bonnie Raitt, Souls Alike (Capitol);
Dusty Springfield, The Silver Collection (Mercury);
Eva Cassidy, Congbird (S & P Records).
Desert Island picks:
Barbra Streisand, The Second Album (Columbia);
Lou Rawls, Lou Rawls Live! (1966) (Capitol Jazz);
Tony Bennett, Greatest Hits (CBS);
Sinatra and Jobim, Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim (Reprise);
Billie Holiday, Columbia, The Early Years (Columbia).
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Cacophony. Diverse. Bliss. Savory gumbo. Too much scat, not enough attention to lyricists' intent. On the verge of extinction if audiences don't tend the garden.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Venues for live performance, and people to fill the seats. Audiences who don't act as though they are watching TV in their living room, jabbering through perfectly blissful music.
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