So much has happened this year and my heart is full!
I started out the year with a reunion of sorts with two of my best NYC musical friends, as part of Kenny Werner’s Residency at The Stone, with the amazing Joe Lovano. We played solo, duo and trio with some fun and surprises along the way.
Then I played 2 nights at Birdland as part of Joe’s new Village Rhythms Band for the APAP convention. What a kick that was – Joe has written some amazing and compelling music and the band was killer! Look for his new recording on Blue Note out next year with all new music!
With my new CD just out, I had the thrill of playing several times with the amazing Michael Abene, first at Kitano, then Cornelia Street, the Falcon and then the fabulous new Mezzrow club! I had to work hard to find jazz rooms with Good Pianos for the Maestro to play! It was unique every time we played together and I am so grateful to Michael and Gretchen Abene for helping me realize this project of all Original songs. Michael certainly is an original himself and having him interpret my songs and improvising along with him was a big thrill – each and every time!
I also had an amazing year playing with my Zephyr Quintet which features guitar and sometimes horn… We played at the 55 Bar with Kenny Wessel, Adam Kolker, Peter Slavov and Anthony Pinciotti, at Nublu with Bruce Arnold, Oscar Noriega, Ratzo Harris and Lamy Istrefi, and then up in Beacon’s new Quinn’s venue with two guitars (Kenny Wessel and Bruce Arnold), Ratzo Harris on Bass and Bob Meyer on drums adding special guest Joe Lovano to the mix, which is always incredible! I also had a few gigs at the Why Not? Café reuniting with old buddy Tim Hagans on trumpet in June and with Claire Daly on bari sax in October before the club morphed into Dominique’s.
NEWS FLASH: I finally went into the studio and recorded this amazing Zephyr Band that I love so much!!!! We got 10 Original songs with new Original lyrics down, and although we have been playing a lot of the songs all year, there was also some brand new material that I brought to the session. With the amazing ears and enormous talent of Joe Lovano in the booth, the session ran smoothly and I could really focus on singing the challenging music that I had chosen. Exhausting and Fulfilled! So I continue to listen and work on postproduction details and hope to be able to release the new material in 2016!!!!
Other memorable gigs this year have been being part of the Arts for Art Pop-Up concerts that Patricia Nicholson put together at the Clemente Soto Velez center on the lower east side of NYC, Neil Alexander’s Joe Zawinul Birthday Tribute and having the unique opportunity to sing some of his amazing musical legacy, and also being part of a magical concert featuring the Songs of Mark Murphy as a love-letter to the ailing Master. It was a beautiful celebration including many vocalists who have been influenced by and studied with Mark through the years (including myself) and the high point was his dear colleague and friend, the amazing Sheila Jordan. Thanks to Ari Silverstein and Cha Cha for organizing the wonderful event. A film was made to document the occasion and shown to Mark, thankfully, before his sudden passing a few months later.
On the Art front… what can I say? I am still engrossed in study and passion for painting the world around me mostly in Oils and Watercolors this year with some of the area’s most accomplished artist/teachers. I have been part of many shows and exhibits throughout the year and enjoying the comradery and inspiration of the many creative and joyous people around me. I’ve been gratified to have sold a number of paintings which feels like people have generously “adopted” one of my children/creations. You can see some on my paintings page here on this website.
Our house is filled with art and music and love and I feel grateful every day! Thank you for being part of the experience! Happy Holidays to all!
by Judi Silvano