Hey Lori . . . What’s Cookin’?!

Lori-NJW-SmileIt’s always nice to take a little break and recharge the battery at Christmastime. Of course, I tend to overeat and indulge in too much partying, so it’s also always great to get back to a normal routine. Currently that means teaching five classes at the Nashville Jazz Workshop: two classes of the Music of Johnny Mercer and one each of the Music of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Ear Training, and Contemporary Vocal Literature.

All of these classes are fun, and I have some really great students. For my Mercer and Bergman classes, I continue to search for unknown songs that I think will be fun to add to the mix. I LOVE finding these little gems, and the students feel like they’re getting a gift when I present them in class.

As for Ear Training, since I’ve taught it for nearly twenty-three years, I can almost teach the class in my sleep. Of course, each class has a little different vibe, depending on the students. This session I have eight really fun people who are excited to learn, which makes my job much easier. Teaching is more fun when I can see the light bulbs go on.

I was born with perfect pitch, which can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I can transcribe tunes without a keyboard in front of me. In fact, my best transcribing happens when I’m taking a long ride in the car. The curse is that I generally think of the song in the original key it was written in, which can make it hard to transpose tunes for singers into weird keys. However, since I’ve been teaching the Vocal Literature classes, I’ve grown more confident with being able to transpose most tunes.

Besides teaching, I’m currently working on several other exciting projects, including the Jazz on the Move series at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which I love planning every year. This year the series is going to be especially great. We start in January with the Modern Jazz Quartet, featuring Bruce Dudley. February being Black History month, we’ll honor the 100th birthday of Billie Holiday with vocalist Connye Florance. March will bring a tribute to Tito Puente. April celebrates another 100th birthday, this time in honor of the music of Billy Strayhorn. I’m very excited about the April concert, because not only will I take on the role of Duke Ellington, but I’ll also arrange and produce the show.


Also in April, I’ll be performing with my dear friend Dorian Woodruff at the Metropolitan Room in New York City! Dorian is a very talented cabaret singer, and I’m excited to join him for this performance. In fact, he’ll be singing several of my original songs for this show. Of course, while I’m in New York, I hope to catch up with some friends and see a few shows as well.

I also have two other projects in the works. One is programming an ongoing project with Parnassus Books called “Jazz by the Book,” which provides an opportunity for our NJW students to perform out in the community. The other project is a personal one: I plan to record a CD of all originals sometime this year, hopefully starting production by March. Most of the songs will be tunes that have not yet been recorded, along with a few songs from other CD’s. I think it will be really fun to go back to some of my older tunes and redo them.

So stay tuned. It looks like a busy 2015, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride.


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