My Jazz Story
I love jazz because it is intimate, yet expansive. It evokes feelings, memories and creates new experiences. It unites people and provides a soundscape against which we live our lives.
I was first exposed to jazz without knowing that it was jazz. My aunts had a dance school and one of them played piano for all of the classes and shows. She used Standards, as well as her original jazz-inspired music, for many of our dance numbers, and I was often asked to sing these tunes with new lyrics that matched the theme of the show.
I have been fortunate to have met so many great jazz musicians, because I am in the business of jazz, as well as being a singer: Ted Curson, Houston Person, Paquito d'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Etta Jones,Toots Thielemans,Kenny Werner, Benny Golson, Gloria Lynne, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, Russell Malone, James Moody, Clarke Terry, Stanley Jordan, Bob Baldwin, Marion Meadows, Vitali Imereli, Enrico Granafei (my husband, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Anne Ducros,Patrick Saussois, Andreas Oberg, Dave Stryker, Vic Juris,Kate Baker, Rosanna Vitro, Mark Murphy,Gene Bertoncini, Charlie Byrd, Bucky Pizzarelli,Rio Clemente, Sheila Jordan, many of whom are personal friends.
The best show I ever attended was...honestly can't pick one, but Toots' 90th b'day celebration was memorable.
The first jazz record I bought was ..my uncle was friends with someone at Decca records and brought home a bunch of demos that I listened to over and over again.
My advice to new listeners is to realize that jazz is just a label that encompasses many different styles and other genres. What makes it jazz is the use of harmony and rhythm and the art of improvisation. Some of the best players in the world are jazz musicians. It is to be embraced and discovered, not feared and ignored.