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Take Five With Laurie Antonioli

Laurie Antonioli By

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Meet Laurie Antonioli:
Whether interpreting American songbook standards, reinventing traditional American songs, or introducing contemporary melodies made vivid with her original lyrics, Antonioli brings her inclusive musical intelligence to bear on every tune. The result is a gorgeous tapestry woven from the raw materials of jazz, folk, country music, Balkan melodies and harmonies, and a style that is entirely original. She's worked and recorded with George Cables, Richie Beirach, and numerous other well known jazz musicians. A singer's singer that also transcends the jazz idiom, Antonioli is a unique crossover artist who appeals to audiences that like creative music.

Instrument(s):
Voice.

Teachers and/or influences?
Joni Mitchell, Betty Carter, Annie Ross, Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Richie Beirach (who she performs and records with), John Coltrane, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler and hundreds of others.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I was 12 years old and got my first guitar.

Your sound and approach to music:
Eclectic, genre-bending jazz

Your teaching approach:
Assisting each singer find their authentic voice.

Your dream band:
Keith Jarrett, Anouar Brahem, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Brian Blade, and Wayne Shorter.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Traveling in a van with a group of Slovakian musicians hitting every little town in Slovakia and parts of the Czech Republic with a crazy—now deceased—drummer, Dodo Sosaka. Wild, totally wild; glad I came out alive.

Favorite venue:
Porgy & Bess in Vienna, Austria

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
American Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010). It's the latest one and I always like the latest one the best. Looking forward to the next one, which is my favorite unrecorded album, Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light, a tribute to Joni Mitchell.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Tales of a Courtesan (Victor, 1976), Toshiko Akiyoshi.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Authenticity, originality, and soul.

Did you know...
I used to ride in the rodeo.

CDs you are listening to now:
NPR Talk Radio;
Joni Mitchell, Travelogue (Nonesuch, 2002);
Keith Jarret, Live (ECM);
Norma Winstone, Distances (ECM, 2008).

Desert Island picks:
Kenny Wheeler, Music for Large and Small Ensembles (ECM, 1990);
Keith Jarrett, Live (ECM);
Miles Davis, Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1958);
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Changing. Who knows where we'll be in the next 10 years?

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Education, finding and creating venues, making music that is accessible and interesting to the average listener as well as jazz listeners.

What is in the near future?
Recording a tribute to Joni Mitchell: Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?
That I will forget the lyrics.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
"Flamenco Sketches."

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
"Ask me Now" by Thelonious Monk.

By Day:
Director of the Vocal Program at The Jazzschool in Berkeley, California.

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

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