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Take Five With Ava Lemert

Ava Lemert By

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What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

My emotion, my soul and earthiness. I like to know that when people listen to my singing or to my saxophones it touches them. That means everything to me and lets me know my music is connecting on a personal level with listeners. I don't use the term "fan," I think of my listeners as friends. Friends know each others' ups and downs, their emotional needs and I try to use music to fulfill the voids that this digital world leaves us all. I'm a real person, this is my real voice and I think the genuine-quality of my music is the lasting impression I want to give.

Did you know...

That I hated the sound of my own voice so much, when I would play one of my own songs for family or friends, I'd leave the room!

CDs you are listening to now:

Los Straitjackets, The Velvet Touch of Los Straitjackets (YepRock);
David Bowie, Young Americans (RCA);
Lenny Kravitz, Are You Gonna Go My Way (Virgin);
David Sanborn, Here and Gone (Decca);
Fats Domino, Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans (Capitol/EMI).

Desert Island picks:

The Beatles, White Album (Apple Records);
The Beatles, Revolver (Capitol/EMI);
The Beatles, Abbey Road (Apple Records);
Stan Getz, Cool Velvet (Polygram);
Prince, Sign 'O' The Times (Paisley Park/Warner Bros).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

A state of identity crisis, but hasn't it always been? As a contemporary artist, I feel pressure from both sides: pressure to be more of a backdrop or soundtrack, all smoothed out and very produced on one side. The other side is the traditional/purist side that doesn't observe fusion, contemporary or progressive music as jazz at all. Why can't jazz be a model of open-minded expression as I feel it is? There is a snobbery on one side and a pop image, slick side to jazz today and I'm not sure I feel that freedom of expression that turned me onto jazz as a fifteen year old jazz band student.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

The last statement above is a segue to this response: resist the temptation to over categorize music, my music doesn't fit into one category. Keep experimentation free and don't look down upon another person's sensibilities and style. For all we know, that kid who likes contemporary jazz might be the one kid in your class that keeps playing and let's music grow within because their first taste of jazz was easier to digest. Be open to other music forms, why can't jazz have a rock, pop or vocal. Fusion can mean many things to many people, be open and free to consider them in your library. Expose children to instruments other than those toys from Rock Band!

What is in the near future?

I have a CD signing tomorrow, a Valentine's Day show with my friends at Eskaton Gold River. More interviews are being scheduled on internet radio for March and April. The "big" thing coming up is my first morning television show appearance on Sacramento and Company, the Sacramento ABC affiliate station (KTXV news10.net) when I will be the musical guest! Something else that I am very honored and excited about is the chance to play and sing to the kids at Cambridge Heights Elementary School, I have been invited by their new music teacher, Mr. Parr, and I am so happy, I don't have details other than possibly a Beatles medley with the 5/6th graders and some fun stuff with the little ones! I might have to bring my homemade instruments I kept from childhood!

Beyond that, I have a few shows lined up at various retirement communities and at a few country clubs, but I'd like to try to have some public venue shows, anyone out there in Sacramento looking?

By Day:

Mom, graphic designer, and volunteer at my son's elementary school. Last year I was an art docent, this year I am enjoying being a librarian!

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Graphic designer, illustrator, but I always wonder what I could have done with my music if I had only been brave enough to try,

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