WE ARE STILL HERE – OR IS ALL THIS JUST AN ILLUSION?
(a newsletter of gigs and gab about the past, present & future)
“I’m against endings. I’m against things being over. Being finished should be stopped! I am Comrade-in-Chief of going on. I support furthermore and etcetera!”
~ Saša Stanišić
JAN 25-27 Miami, FL – South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center
JAN 29 Washington, DC – The Hamilton
JAN 31-FEB 3 New York, NY – Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
FEB 20 Yekaterinburg, Russia – Ural State Variety Theatre with Sergey Pron Quartet
MAR 28 Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival
APR 25 Arcata, CA – Redwood Jazz Alliance
APR 27 Edmonton, AB Canada – Yardbird Suite
MAY 4-15 “Spotlight On Jazz” Cruise – Oceania Cruise Line with Christian Tamburr Quartet
JULY 21-28 Port Townsend, WA – Centrum Jazz Festival & Workshop
AUG 23-24 Johannesburg, South Africa – Joy of Jazz Festival
DEC 22 Richmond, VA – Landmark Theatre LIVE ART! Concert Presented by SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community)
first off, i am grateful for the lesson my oldest brother, claude, impressed upon me, not while he was alive, but after he transitioned on january 8, 2011. he’d written this book, see? and, i’m not gonna lie, i skimmed it with the intention of going over it in detail with him and asking him all kinds of questions. and because i thought i had all the time in the world to do that, i put it off and consequently that time never came. but my main point is that on the inside cover was a quote by arthur ashe, “start where you are; use what you have; do what you can.” claude lived by that – he was (still is, most likely) always pushing his personal boundaries, showing others how they could do the same and offering himself to help them as well. i am one of the many grateful recipients of his generosity and expansive vision as it is continuously proved to me that we can keep our energy shifting by ‘starting where we are, using what we have and doing what we can.’
i’m grateful for meeting so many gifted new musicians this year! of these, there are three standouts with whom i had the pleasure and honor of sharing the stage for the first time: dr. john in march during a louis armstrong tribute, fred hersch on may 27 at the jazz standard, wynton marsalis and the jazz @ lincoln center orchestra for a xmas concert in the rose hall, and gregory porter at that same concert. as we still say at my mama’s house sometimes, “not bad for a little colored gal from warrenton, virginia!” at every corner turned this year, doubts and thoughts of inferiority assailed me constantly. i used to think they would eventually dissipate with time, but it seems it is not to be. i suppose i shall have to view those bugaboos the way i’ve learned to view fear: embrace them lovingly as part of my creative process.
i am certain my brother gave to me one of the songs i wrote this year. it had its inception while he was in the hospital and was completed just 2 weeks after his transition. its title is “blessings”. we played it at nearly every concert i did with my group, ‘experiment in truth’. though it’s not yet been recorded, i have special plans for it which will be revealed in another newsletter.
i am grateful that elias bailey has joined ‘experiment in truth’ as our new bass player. and though he is new to the group, he is not new to me. elias was the first bass player with whom i began singing in earnest when i quit my day job. we met in richmond, virginia and played together for several years. then we went our separate ways, but always stayed in touch. and now, we’re making music together again and i couldn’t be more pleased. welcome back, elias!!
our new bassist elias bailey! (photographer: lloyd stone)
i’m grateful to the national coalition for the homeless in helping us to identify homeless shelters we could play at while on tour this year.
with your help, i hope to increase the number of concerts in such shelters in 2013. take a look at our itinerary and if you know of homeless shelters or womens’ shelters in any of those cities, please let me know. we LOVE doing free concerts at shelters!
me and todd barkan singing “smile” as a duet at dizzy’s feb 2012
i’m grateful for the continued loyalty shown by clubs such as dazzle, the jazz standard and dizzy’s club by inviting us back regularly. there is so much talent out there, so many phenomenal musicians who are turning heads and ears. and every year there seem to be fewer jazz venues at which to play. so my thanks goes out to all the venues that continue to deem us worthy enough to grace their stages.
photo by leroy armstead at the rosslyn jazz festival
there were several venues who invited us to perform for the first time and for that i am truly grateful. the charlie parker jazz festival at marcus garvey park in harlem was a standout among them. take a look at the reason why:
our friend, ramon jove, brought us back to spain again and we visited bogota, columbia (hola, tigre, toby y andrea!) for the first time! and what fun it was to revisit venues we’d not seen in a while: modlin center in richmond, va; renfrew jazz festival in waynesboro, pa.; dillard university in new orleans, la.(where my mother-in-law met my late father-in-law!), and the gorgeous international house of music in moscow.
quentin in spain (photo: fernando aceves)
working on some exciting stuff for the upcoming months, not the least of which is a new CD whose theme shall remain on the downlow for now. i can reveal this much: this is so very different from any recording i’ve ever done that i can hardly believe i’m doing this. up until a month ago, i thought i was sure what my next project would be but this idea seemed to come out of nowhere, got all bodacious and shit and just elbowed itself to the front of the line! it could NOT be silenced and, puzzled as i was by its insistence, now that we’re in the midst of working it out, i can see why! how’s that for being cryptic?
trying my best to remain a vegan. i do very well for the most part. but every once in a while, like every 7-9 months or so, i gots to have me a hotdog. ain’t that crazy? here’s one of my fav go-to vegan snacks. the name of it is an acronym for its ingredients: cucumber, avocado, basil, onion and tomato.
the CABOT sandwich
ingredients: bread of choice; tofutti cream cheese spread; spike seasoning; cayenne pepper (optional); cuke sliced very thin diagonally; avocado sliced thin; fresh basil leaves chiffonade (5-10 leaves laid atop each other and sliced very thin and long); onions (red, yellow, green or white – your choice) sliced thin; tomato sliced thin
directions: toast the bread (or not). spread the tofutti on both pieces of bread. sprinkle with spike and cayenne. layer the sandwich with the CABOT in whichever order you choose. mash it together and eat or eat as an openface sandwich. this tides me over really well until a good hotdog comes along.
it’s my intention to include a recipe in every newsletter from here on out. after all, to eat is to live and to live is to dance. to dance we need music and to make beautiful music we need to eat!
podcasts; video workshops; name changes; soon-to-be confirmed gigs. i know, sparse ain’t it? well, darlings, it’s crazy to write too much about the future, now isn’t it?
kevin bales and his pic of the future…