December 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s time to toast what was and what will be …
It happened again.
Oh so quickly.
Another year flew by.
Let’s raise a glass
to the year that’s ending
and to a fresh a new beginning
And since I can’t ever start my new year without first acknowledging the past, here’s a little recap …
In 2013, I performed at Piedmont Piano Company, Zingari Jazz Lounge, the Music Box at Pasta Moon, The Jazz School, Bird’s Nest and more accompanied by so many great Bay Area musicians who shared this journey with me – Dave Austin, Benn Bacot, Bob Blankenship, Shanna Carlson, Mike Greensill, Alan Hall, Tom Shader, Cathi Walkup, Benny Watson, Joe Wicht, David Udolf (and if missed your name, oops!). You all have my heartfelt thanks and gratitude.
Perhaps, next year, I’ll have the wherewithal to give more focus to “getting the gig”. Always the challenge.
If you’re in the Pacifica area, you can watch me on Kathy Holly’s Spotlight show being aired on Pacific Coast TV Channel on December 30 at 8:00pm. If you can’t catch it on TV, you can watch it live or watch it now. I’m in the first 15 minutes of the show. Thank you, Kathy.
Much of my musical life this past year was spent creating MY NEW SHOW – after 3 years researching and collecting, the JOHNNY GREEN SHOW is up and running. The first presentation was at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland, and now we are just a few weeks away from the next iteration “Easy Come, Easy Go: the music of Johnny Green” [composer of Body and Soul, & much more] at Society Cabaret in San Francisco on January 17 & 18. I hope you can make this one. TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW.
I plan to go into the studio to record the Johnny Green repertoire in February, with an April release date. May the music gods be on my side!
Although we only taught one performance class this year, it was one of the best. Cathi Walkup and Benny Watson and I hope to do another (or 2 or 3) in 2014. And CD Recording classes with Dave Austin are also in the mix for 2014. Stay tuned.
I am now an expert on how to get unhacked! That’s right, when all your bank accounts and credit cards are attacked, I know how to get out of it without losing a dime. I am going to write book. Note to all: I don’t recommend that you use free wi-fi in any hotel or coffee shop. Clearly they are not all secure!
My husband has been generous enough to “share” his family with me and ergo, I have 3 “children” & am “grandmother” to 4 – three in Dallas (2 grandsons, 5 & 7; 1 granddaughter, 2); and 1 granddaughter in San Francisco. We went to Dallas to visit in November and although we see our San Francisco family all year, we spent Thanksgiving/Hanukkah time with our granddaughter who’s 11 going on 25. As it should be. Oh yes, all the parents of all the grands are cool folks, too!
Christmas was spent with my brother’s family in El Granada, and yes my baby nephews are no longer that – they are wonderful and successful young men who have been lucky enough to each have a smart & beautiful woman, pick them. I feel blessed to have them so close.
We lost our beautiful dog Bruce to cancer this year; he was just shy of his 11th birthday. A few weeks later we adopted Augie the Borzoi, who now plays golf (that’s a much longer story; you will have to ask and I’ll tell). He and Hakem seem to get along, if ignoring each other is considered getting along!
Several dear friends of ours are each dealing with difficult health issues, and all are are hanging in with grace and determination. We are grateful they are still with us. We love you all.
To end this year, on December 30, I will be officiating at the wedding of my friends Bryan and Mark. They currently live in Chicago and are back in the Bay Area for their ceremony. I am so honored.
Steve and I are healthy, happy,
& grateful to have a really good life.
This is a good thing!
From my heart to yours, here’s to an excellent 2014 filled with prosperity, joy, good health and creativity galore!
August 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
This review by Don Heckman contains so many “teaching” moments for the vocal performing artist – singing from the heart, engaging your audience, telling the story – all of it. Enjoy the read.
By Don Heckman
Bel Air, CA. Robert Davi’s appearance at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. Sunday night was my third opportunity to hear the talented actor/singer in action. Once again, the program was devoted to his Frank Sinatra tribute. And no one does the Sinatra catalog, in all its entertaining essence, as well as Davi.
But the Sinatra catalog, for all its appeal, is only one aspect of a Robert Davi performance. As in past appearances, he sang most of the Sinatra classics – from “Fly Me To The Moon” and “I’ve Got the World On A String” to “My Way” and “It Was A Very Good Year.” Each was delivered with prime musicality by Davi’s warm and pliable baritone voice.
And he didn’t stop there, singing a wide ranging program of Great American Songbook tunes – “Day In, Day Out,” “Nice and Easy,” “The Best Is Yet To…
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December 31, 2012 § 4 Comments
It’s that time of year again – a time to reflect on the past year – the happenings in my life and environs, what I created or didn’t create, what I fell victim to or rose above – the big summary … a completion if you will, so I can move forward into the next year or cycle or phase, with a clean slate!
However, this end-of-year really snuck up on me. I guess I expected more by now.
There are years when by year-end, I have been clear about my successes, failures, upcoming goals. Yet 2012 seems to have come and gone so quickly and with just a few personal blips in the road – both up and down – that with apparently no major breakthroughs, I can barely recognize that the year is over. And that assessment of this past year, leaves me a little uninspired and seemingly with no vision to move forward.
I have work to do to change that.
Intellectually, I know that we all have the opportunity to “reframe” our own past. We can’t change what happened, but we can change how we think about it; even change its effect on us going forward.
With that in mind, my “work” today is to begin to redefine 2012 as perhaps the year I took a break from rushing forward, and took the time to refocus. I like that. That feels better, don’t you think?
So here I being to summarize my 2012 – piece by piece so I can unravel it and say, “Yes, I did that” or “That took more time than I anticipated” or … It’s a worthwhile exercise. I recommend it.
I will keep adding to this, but here is a start to my list of achievements and under-accomplishments for 2012 … in no particular order:
- I had about 30 gigs/shows in 2012 including a couple of benefit performances and pro bono work with Bread & Roses and at the Jewish Home in San Francisco (my mom’s last residence).
- I really love “the show” and in 2012, I did not create or book as many of them as I would have liked – that is now on my agenda for 2013.
- At the beginning of 2012, I thought my new project would have been near completion. It isn’t, but it is moving forward. A lot of work has been done in spite of what I think I should have accomplished! For this project, based on the work of a long under-appreciated composer, I have collected both public and personal stories, sheet music for over 70 pieces of his work – all graciously and generously given to me by some amazing people, all of whom will be revealed later this coming year. And since most of this music is unrecorded, I had help from colleagues who played down these tunes and helped me sight-read them. I am also close to engaging a pianist/arranger/producer to forward this project with a June 2013 opening and CD release in mind.
- Politically, I was engaged in my own way, to say the least, and I appreciate all my like-minded friends in real time and on Facebook, who carried me through! I expended a lot of my creative energy on this. Never knew I was a political junkie until now. From this, I am taking a break in 2013!
- My husband and I will be together 12 years in February and married 3 years in April, and this is my greatest accomplishment. Our families are terrific – we are blessed with caring children, siblings, nieces, nephews, grand children, step-people, dogs and turtles and chickens and fish – in this life, I am happy!
Yet there were the real losses in 2012 of dear people in my life who passed …
John Kroner, songwriter, musical director, pianist, husband, father and very dear friend, died this past February. Suddenly. Leaving behind his husband of over 30 years, Jeff Martin, his young son Marcus, and so many friends and colleagues in music and theater in New York. John and Jeff have been my friends and neighbors (when I still lived in New York on the Upper West Side) since 1980. They have been avid supporters of my life and my musical journey.
Paul Van Wageningen (“Paul VW”) amazing drummer, passed this November after struggling with a cancerous brain tumor and its effects, for 2 years. Paul played on my CD, “Long As You’re Living – the stories & poetry of Oscar Brown Jr.” which won a Backstage Magazine Bistro/BMI Award for Outstanding Recording and for which I received 2 MAC Award Nominations (Best Jazz Recording and Best Female Jazz Singer). Paul also played many shows for me. His memorial service – one of the best concerts I’ve been to all year – was just last week, and included some of the best musicians in the Bay Area both in attendance and on stage. I was lucky to have met him.
Richard Nickol, voice teacher, theater coach, friend and mentor to many. I never studied with Richard, but the ties between the San Francisco cabaret & theater communities brought us together many times to collaborate on events and shared goals. San Francisco is sometimes a very small town so we would cross paths many times over the past 10 years. His memorial service was a musical event he would have been proud of.
Ruth Kurtzman, member of the MAC Board in New York (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) who I met several years ago – Ruth came to every one of my New York shows over the past 5 years; we would have lunch or dinner each time I was in New York – died earlier this month from a short bout with an extremely aggressive cancer. Ruth and I met and became fast friends. We’d send each other short little email hellos during the course of any year. I considered her a dear friend even though we hardly knew each other. We had that immediate connection you infrequently have with another person, and in a moment you know that this person is your true friend. Ruth was that for me.
I miss them all. They each have made a difference in my life and have a permanent place in my heart.
I wish each & every one of you
an amazing 2013
filled with love, health, prosperity
and inspiration to create!
December 22, 2011 § 6 Comments
As has been my annual tradition, I have generally and enthusiastically assessed the year-ending in terms of my successes, my failures, where I am now and where I’m heading. But this year, somehow, I don’t have the “geduld” [that’s Yiddish for patience] to make the lists, to look at what I’ve done or not done, with the same excitement and fervor as I have in years past.
In my creative world, I have performed in new venues, shared the stage with many terrific artists and musicians alike, created new coaching classes, have co-taught with musicians and learned folks for whom I have much respect, coached singers and have been inspired by their enthusiasm and courage, met new audiences and made many new fans and friends. Yet somehow, it just doesn’t feel like enough.
In my personal world, I have a husband who I adore and who loves me unconditionally (when I’m not doing something that completely annoys him) and who is my biggest fan. His family. My family. Our little farm in San Francisco, including the dogs, the chickens, the turtles and the fish. All who bring me great joy.
Perhaps the “recession/depression” our country is in has also gotten to me. I have become much more politically attuned – and mostly don’t like what I see or hear. I did not grow up in a “dysfunctional family.” We were really quite normal. But I do believe our country is quite dysfunctional right now and it doesn’t make me feel good, nor do I know, really, how I can help. Worse than that is that I don’t see at all how our government is going to come back together in my lifetime. I feel alienated by so much of the “noise.” I don’t feel like I belong.
So I am left with the questions … “What is it that I CAN do?” “How can my music take me up and out?” “What difference can I make through my music and my teaching to my family, my friends, my fans, and to me?”
I guess my job over the next year is to discover more of the questions whose answers will guide the next phase of my journey.
2012, I look forward to meeting you head on
P.S. – Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Kwanzaa and I hope I didn’t miss anything!
October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Yes, apparently this is true. This week, my world lost three artists, all of whom made an impact on our world of music in one way or another …
- JULIE PARIS, San Francisco jazz & blues vocalist at the age of 56 from a long and debilitating illness. But up until she passed this week, she was still singing when she could, and as she has always done, supporting others making music. Her most recent “gig” was producing a bi-monthly volunteer singers’ showcase at San Francisco’s Jewish Home for the Aged. I’ve been singing at this event for the past year although Julie produced it for the past 6 years. Her husband, David Carillo, will be continuing to produce this event. Today was her funeral and might I say, she had a sold out house and a room full of loyal family, friends and fans. A tribute to her life.
- STEVE JOBS, also at the age of 56 who left a world touched by his gifts and genius. And in our music world, clearly his visionary products changed the way we sell, market and make music. His remarkable genius and how he chose to use it is an inspiration. You can read my blog on Mr. Jobs, here … http://tinyurl.com/3dyc6z2
- BOB GRIMES, San Francisco-based extraordinary collector of sheet music, died at the age of 89. Last year or so, Bob sold his enormous collection of Hollywood & Broadway sheet music to Michael Feinstein. There will be a Bay Area memorial but no plans as of yet. Here is an interview with Bob by Jonathan Frank of Talkin’ Broadway at http://tinyurl.com/452vmmy and a bio by Peter Mintun at http://tinyurl.com/452vmmy
May they all Rest In Peace.
October 7, 2011 § 3 Comments
I started to entitle this entry “Death of a Genius” and then I discovered he was a “Hero.” Of course, I am talking about the passing this week of Steve Jobs.
First let me tell you why I changed from “genius” – which of course he was – to “hero.” I went to the Apple website where they have a beautiful photo of Mr. Jobs. I thought I would copy and save the photo to paste here. When I clicked on the image, I discovered that the photo was titled “t.hero“. How perfect.
Steve Jobs did not just live his life as a “visionary and creative genius”, but he lived his dying with a grace and a knowing that can only be an inspiration to all of us. He lived an inspired life. He lived passionately. He didn’t stop. He kept moving forward. He knew what he loved and was passionate about those loves. And of course, he knew because he searched for what he would ultimately love until he found it.
The Stanford University commencement speech he delivered to the 2005 graduating class spoke deeply about who he was. This speech is a lesson to all of us since he explained in so very clear terms, what it meant to live, and to live knowing we are going to die. This speech is a teacher’s teaching. It is rich with meaning. SEE THE VIDEO & READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH HERE.
I have read and re-read and listened to and watched the entire Steve Jobs’ Stanford address many times this week. I am moved by who he was and so very saddened by his so-young death.
Yet, look at what he accomplished and the difference he has made in the world with his vision and persistence in so short a life. Quite extraordinary. I don’t know that we will see another like him in my lifetime but I hope one shows up in the next.
To all of us who keep pursuing our dreams, I say “amen.”
And as Steve Jobs reminds us …
“Almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs.
Thank you for your service to humanity.
September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
In response to an essay I recently read by Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline Online, entitled ARE CABARET WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES AND MASTER CLASSES WORTHWHILE?, I commented ….
As someone who has been “coaching, teaching, putting on seminars and workshops and master classes” for singers, and someone who has taken many, many, many of them myself, I really appreciated this essay. The most valuable aspect, I think, is that the “students” take what they learn out into the world, if in fact that is what they came to the workshop to do.
Since I work with folks at all levels, it’s also true that some participants would not be singing out at all and this is their opportunity to do their dream. For some, the concert at the end of the program is the dream. ”
And then there’s what I get from coaching others – first off, I’m like a mother-hen and am proud of my students as they grow week after week, and then shine in performance. You can often find me weeping with joy and pride as I witness their growth.
And magically, which all coaches and teachers know, there’s my own learning – I grow from teaching. I remind myself of what works so I can reincorporate that back into my own performance; and what doesn’t work so I can re-look at my own work to see if I am doing what I say to do.
* * * *
So now I go off to Seattle to co-lead a workshop with Arnaldo!
A performance workshop in the American Cabaret Style will have a concert on Saturday evening, October 1 with performances by the participants in the workshop and of course, Arnaldo! and me. Concert tickets: $20 + 2-drink min. Space is limited to reserve your seats now.