On April 28- tomorrow, that is!!!- I’m launching my second jazz CD, Two Kites. The title of the CD comes from a fabulous song written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Fred Hersch calls Jobim one of the great composers of the 20th century, and I couldn’t agree more! It was an honour to record this tune of his.
Two Kites also features Mike Murley on sax, George Koller on bass and Nick Fraser on drums. It was produced by George Koller and recorded by Jeremy Darby at Canterbury Music in Toronto.
There are some major thematic threads that run throughout the CD. First, there is the notion of flight: the birds ‘keeping our hopes alive’ in Distance, the whimsical, flighty flirtation of Two Kites, the laughing winds and the swallow flying freely in Dona Dona, and the images of being carried off by the wind and the heart riding on wings of eagles in Yam Lid. Similarly, Yam Lid (Song of the Sea) uses the sea as a metaphor to represent abandoning oneself to the embrace of the ocean, while Grey Green is about being lost in the sea of someone’s eyes, and Basin Street Blues speaks of taking a boat to the land of dreams. We even did our photo shoot on a beach by Lake Ontario where I could dance, run with kites and feel the wind blowing crazily through my dress.
Here then is your tune by tune guide (with a few brief excerpts)
1. Distance- composed by Glauco Venier with lyrics by the wonderful Norma Winstone. It deals with alienation and the distance between people and all those places “it is best not to go. Not to know. Keep your distance…” Yet when the song starts we are gazing upward at the birds freely flying high in the distance. As we witness these “weightless wanderers” our spirits and hopes are kept alive as we are reminded to “be here now.”
2. Two Kites- Jobim wrote these flirty and playful lyrics in English! They are not a translation from Portuguese. How can anyone resist a song that begins, “..and by the way have you forgotten to say where you live, what’s your name, what you do?…” It only gets sillier and more delicious!
two kites excerpt
3. Moon in the Sky/My Romance- Maybe Rodgers and Hart don’t need a moon in the sky or a blue lagoon standing by for their romance, but as far as I’m concerned, it sure wouldn’t hurt! “Moon in the Sky” is my own comment on their lyrics.
moon in the sky
don’t need a blue lagoon for my romance.
but I really wouldn’t complain
for a castle rising in Spain.
I kind of love cashmere,
candlelight, merlot and oysters- have no fear
that I’d return
some Tiffany heart, diamond ring, not that I need a thing-
for my romance
could be quite lovely in a cafe in France.
there’s a small hotel
the music is playing, I know it so well
we could be dancing on the ceiling
my valentine and me
for our romance is not some chance…
4. Dona Dona- Take a beautiful old melody, add a dash of Nicholai Medtner and a hint of Maria Schneider and let it simmer. I’ve tried to evoke some of the song’s images — “the calf on a wobbly cart” with an asymmetric 11/4 ostinato, “the swallow high in the sky” through Mike’s gorgeous, soaring soprano saxophone lines, and “the wind laughing” with a shift to 4/4.
5. Grey Green- For me, it all started with Bill Evans. His Portraits in Jazz is one of my favorite records. This original composition was inspired by Blue in Green. The lyrics deal with how we see reflections of ourselves in another person’s eyes. “Can we ever see beyond love and loss dappled in grey green light?”
6. All Fall Down- this is another original composition and the only instrumental on the CD.
All Fall Down excerpt
7. Basin Street Blues- a slow and sultry stroll down steamy Basin Street
8. Ate Quem Sabe- pronounced ah-te kay(m) sabee. Until one day, Until Perhaps, Until who knows? I first heard this gorgeous Brazilian song on a cassette recording of Gal Costa. I still have it! Portuguese is a beautiful language to sing in.
9. Yam Lid/LustigeChasidm/Balkan Bellabusta. Yam Lid. Song of the sea. I have forgotten my loved ones, my family. I abandon myself to the sea. And west wind carry me off to a distant land where my heart can ride on wings of eagles. And on your way back tell my loved ones how happy I am… Yam Lid is followed by the gorgeous Yiddish melody, Lustige Chasidm and wild abandon of Balkan Bellabusta.
10. If He’s Ever Near- A beautiful song written by Karla Bonoff. I like the way it brings the album to a quiet close after the boisterous klezmer medley.
If He’s Ever Near
You can find Two Kites on itunes
or at cdbaby
Its available at HMV and at Indigo Manulife in Toronto as well as L’Atelier Grigorian.
It was a pleasure to record this CD. Please enjoy!
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