It’s the holiday season for sure. I played the part of the Virgin Mary in ‘Bending Toward the Light – A Jazz Nativity’ (Type-casting? 🙂 Got to hear and meet some new folks – NY Voices, Jackie and Roy, Slide Hampton, among others. Also Jon Hendricks, whom I’ve met (and actually sung with before, Cloudburst!) played one of the kings. I’m of course a big fan of his. I do many of his tunes. Bob Kindered, Ingrid Jensen, Virginia Mayhew sounded great too. I sat on a rock for much of the time in this performance as the Virgin Mary, sang a lovely tune written by Anne Phillips, then came down from my rock and sang a couple scat choruses on Deck the Halls. Interesting!

Since then I’ve been performing and seeing friends and family. (These things seems to go hand in hand for me more often than not!) Started out in KC with two performances at the Blue Room. Rod Fleeman joined Paul, Bob, Todd and I on the first night. Then Danny Embrey joined us the second. All of them sounded as great as ever. I think Bob Bowman has said that it’s always like ‘leaning back in a large comfortable chair’ (playing together) which I agree with! Nothing like it – they swing like CRAZY.

The second night at the Blue Room was partly a celebration of the LP version of ‘BALLADS’ – pretty exciting. I used to dream of making an ‘album’ – like my favorite artists used to, but of course by the time I ‘got around to it’ -CD’s were the thing. So it’s interesting to see BALLADS in this form. It looks really beautiful and impressive ’cause it’s so big! (I haven’t had the opportunity to hear it yet) So if this is interesting to you, check it out – it’s worth it (numbered limited edition too).

Saw lots of familiar faces that weekend (KC audiences swing hard too! 🙂 along with the Liberty gig – with special guest Bill McGlaughlin conducting string quartet arrangements he’s written for me/us. It’s been fun (and educational!) ‘honing’ those – though I wouldn’t say it’s a COMPLETELY different animal, it is different for us. Very enjoyable. Bill’s done a lovely job in making it loose enough for us jazzers, while making the classical aspect really soar too.

Then there was a private party in KC for some very nice folks – very appreciative and warm. And it was onto Omaha and Mpls for more family/holiday re-uniting.

We’ve also been planning the next project- due to record in Feb with a great band. I’d love to tell you more about this but want the whole creation to unfold for me a little better first. I am excited about it though! One never knows (at least I don’t) HOW it will all gel – one can only hope and work at it – then let it go… and work at it some more.

On to IAJE in a couple weeks to do a clinic with Danny Embrey called “Singers are Musicians too”(!) Also while there, playing the very fun club Steamers in Fullerton (LA) that weekend. Then onto Hawaii at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts and more family too. 🙂 So… for now – back to New York and I’m looking forward to that as I continue to really love this city which I now call home. All the best to you all – thank you for listening!

Until next time,