Friday, September 28, 2007

De Anza Hotel Tonight

It feels like it's been so long since I performed live and I am really looking forward to tonight. I also haven't played at the De Anza Hotel for awhile and it will be very nice to return to such a wonderful spot. The ambience is plush and cozy and the audience tends to be very receptive and warm. I also am looking forward to playing with Murray, Peter and David Flores. It should be an electrifying evening with lots of explorations of sound and rhythm.

I've been stressing all week about the photo shoot I'll be doing this coming Sunday for the CD cover. I get so uncomfortable in front of the camera and I can't seem to figure out how to relax and just act natural. My firend Gea and I went shopping the other night for the perfect dress for the shoot and I think we found it! It's sexy, elegant and screams, "Look at me!" :) I also finally found someone to do my makeup that day and so feel a bit more relieved about some of the aspects of this shoot. I found the perfect location setting for the cover of Azucar de Amor. But the photographer will only do one location so I have to create a more intimate setting at this spot by bringing a chair and lots of fresh flowers in order to create the right kind of feel for the rest of the CD. I'm sure it will go just fine, but honestly, I'll be glad when it's done.

I went up to Ken Lee's house on Wednesday (full moon) to master the CD. It's almost complete. I think there needs to be a couple of tweaks to the mastering but I'm going to wait until Wayne and Gary Mankin listen to it before I contact Ken with changes. All in all, though, I think the CD is really good! The more I listen the more proud I become of what was accomplished by everyone involved. There are some spectacular arrangements by both Wayne and Murray Low that give the CD that special something I was hoping for.

Lots of stuff going on right now but it's all really good stuff and I am feeling very excited about all the concerts coming up and especially BRAZIL!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mixing Complete!

Yesterday marked the final tweaks to my new CD, Azucar de Amor. I honestly don't want to listen to it again until I go and get it mastered next week (But I know I will!). I want to let it go now and let it be the body of work it is. I could be tweaking until kingdom come and never be completely satisfied, so I will leave it the way it is. And honestly, I feel it's a really good CD; I chose an interesting and engaging/exciting repertoire of pieces and I am proud of the way each song is presented. I think my insecurities lie in the fact that this is the second CD and I get concerned about how it will be received. If I could just separate myself enough from what everyone else might think and consider how I feel about the CD, then I know I have produced a CD of which I can be truly proud. Does that mean to hell with everyone else? No, not necessarily, but I do need to stay strong and stand up for the music that was created. There is always the possibility that it won't be well received, but then again, it might be a huge hit. One just never knows and can never predict how people will react to new art. So, I will state here with truth and complete conviction that Azucar de Amor encompasses another piece of my soul, just as Birds in Flight does, and I am proud exposing this aspect of myself to the world!

Now I have to come up woth the artwork for the CD. This is proving to be a bit more of a challenge. I have a strong idea of how I want to present myself and now I need to convince the photographer to go in that same direction. We do our photo shoot a week from next Sunday and I'm looking forward to how those images can be used for the CD, and other promo materials.

Okay, time to get ready to go and teach. Week 2 of teaching and I am excited and thrilled at this new challenge of working with these very intelligent and creative children.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Jewish New Year!

Things have become extremely busy, but all good stuff so I dare not complain!! The fundraising for the Leukemia Society is going much better than I expected and I only need a couple more hundred dollars to reach my goal of $4800. This has been quite a challenge for me to raise this kind of money. Thanks to the guys and their generous donation of playing for free, we played a house concert/fundraising event that brought in a bunch of money for LLS. I am so touched that my musicians would donate their time like that. Such good guys, as well as incredibly talented musicians.

I'm also in the middle of the mixdown of Azucar de Amor and I think it's going pretty well. It's hard to get enough distance from the music to know if its really good or not. But then there are those moments where I hear one of the songs on the CD and I think to myself, "yes, that's exactly how I wanted this song to sound!" I am proud of the efforts put forth with this next CD. I had to finally realize that making a CD is like raising a child; at some point you just have to let it go and allow it to find its own way. That's how I have to think of these songs -- I think they are ready to go out into the world and stand on their own at this point!

The other exciting thing is that I started teaching at a new school yesterday. The children are very creative and full of energy. I'm definitely going to have to lay down some laws in order to keep them from walking all over me, but I feel that I will have a lot of opportunities to explore teaching methods that I wasn't able to do last year. I am encouraged--encouraged!!!--to be creative and experimental with the students. Yipppeee!! I'm really excited about teaching music this year and I really hope it goes well.

So, now I need to go and work out before going back up to San Francisco to continue the mixing of the CD. I've got to get/stay in shape for the 9 hour hike that will be happening at the end of this month.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Levi's Plaza This Wednesday

This Wednesday my latin/world jazz group will be performing at Levi's Plaza in San Francisco from 12-1:30pm. This will be a fun lunchtime concert that will feature Murray Low on piano, Masaru Koga on flute/sax, Peter Barshay on bass and Paul van Wageningen on drums--and of course me on vocals and some hand percussion. This is part of the SJJazz Summerfest series and it's quite an honor to have been chosen as part of this lineup. I'm really looking forward to performing and continuing to hone the new songs that have been added to our repertoire. The guys did a great job presenting the new songs at the San Jose Jazz Fest and I can only imagine it will just get better and better. I am so blessed to get to play with these amazingly talented musicians. We all work really well together and have a good time playing together. There are always nice surprises that add even more depth and vitality to the music.

This week I will also be in the studio beginning the mixdown of the songs that will go on the next CD. I am glad to finally get to put the finishing touches on the music. I feel really good about the songs and how they have turned out and I can't wait to see what kind of magic will occur during the mixing. Wayne always comes up with fantastic ideas on how to really bring out the sounds that have been recorded.

Life, from here on out, is going to get insanely busy for me. I have taken on two teaching jobs that will require a good amount of my time. I am really looking forward to both jobs and think I can bring a lot of new and creative ideas to the classroom. I am so happy I will finally be in an environment where I can experiment with some of my ideas. The elementary school where I will be teaching music to 3-5 grades encourages creativity both from the teachers as well as the children. This is so exciting to me and has opened up the floodgates of possibilities. The other teaching gig will be working with preschoolers and their parents, teaching them music in Spanish. It will be fun to introduce these little ones to music and games in Spanish.

Although life will be crazy busy, I am happy I will be working again. I think it will help me focus more on my music and be more disciplined with composing and practicing. At least that is my hope!!