Making music is no longer the centerpiece of my daily schedule. It used to be, when I was in Berkeley. And I'm still fortunate to have some people do it with me sometimes.
"Down Here Below" is a dark and cavernous ballad, one of the many songs written by the amazing Abbey Lincoln. It was released on her 1995 album A Turtle's Dream, and later on Abbey Sings Abbey in 2007. As director of the Harvard University Graduate Student (Dudley) Big Band, I curated a program of songs by women singer-composers in jazz, invited three other singers and jumped in myself. Chase Morrin, pianist, composer, and one of the many brilliant Harvard-NEC brain-talents, arranged the pieces for our group. Dudley House, May 2016.
This piece from the 1992 album Natural Affinities led by the inimitable singer-composer-improviser Jeanne Lee, is another from the Dudley concert. This mega-collage piece, with lyrics by both Lee and Lao Tzu, includes poetic musings as well as anecdotes prodding at capitalism and militarism in the aftermath of the Cold War. Joshuah Campbell is one of the more moving singers I've gotten to hear recently, as is superevident from his stunning text-based improvisation on this performance. Dudley House, May 2016.
Erika Oba is an awesome pianist, composer, and human. Here we are doing a duet of the Jimmy Van Heusen standard "Like Someone In Love," inspired a little bit by Björk's version with the harp on her 1993 album Debut. Jazzschool, Berkeley, CA, Nov 2011.
On top of loving the gorgeous richness of this John Coltrane ballad, I think I've always had an extra soft spot for it because of the nod to one of the women in Coltrane's life, and also the evocative double-meaning the title has in Hebrew , both "gentle" or "pleasant" and, as such, a "tune" or "melody." This was a little arrangement I wrote. Jazzschool, Berkeley, CA, Nov 2011.