I suppose I should be disappointed, sad, or perhaps even a little angry, about all the unusual circumstances that recently came together, all at the same time, like a “perfect storm”, thwarting my first professional gig (as well as a separate CD recording session.) But, I am not; I feel none of these things. All I feel is grateful. How lucky am I to be working with these amazing musicians in such a beautiful country as Italy? My heart literally pounds from the joy when I think about it! And, if you catch me crying when I talk about it, that’s because I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it all, not because of any sadness.
These two events, a gig in Latina and recording session in Rome, involved a lot of planning over the last year or so, but this arc of creative activity actually began in 2014 when I chanced to meet bassist, Nicola Borrelli, at a house-party in the hills of Rome. (Is there really such a thing as “chance”?) After a couple of additional conversations with him about songwriting, sporadically spaced over the years, Nicola shared some of his original compositions with me and I was blown away! He writes terrific melodies, and so far I have written lyrics for four of his pieces.
The culmination of all this creativity was my trip last month to Latina. I scheduled a week to work with Nicola and his trio, “Triology” in preparation for the performance and recordings. We spent a few days rehearsing and arranging the original tunes, and had some fun deciding which standards to play. And, as I have already said, these are precious days I will always remember.
Yes, I am cherishing the memories of my writing process, our rehearsals, and still enjoying the songs we have created together. I am grateful for all the preparation and scheduling that Nicola coordinated. I am grateful to Erasmo Bencivenga and Tommaso Tozzi for their time, musical creativity, and patience with me and my poor Italian language skills. And, although there is a lot of flux and uncertainty in Latina right now over where live jazz will be able to flourish, I am hopeful that we will be able to professionally record these tunes in the near future. In the meantime, Nicola has given me permission to share some clips from our recording sessions here on my site and I will be including links as I discuss each song.
If you are a regular visitor here, you may remember my post from last March, “Prelude to Spring – Singing & Learning”, I included a YouTube link to The Big Mystery, a video of our 2016 performance at Démodé restaurant in Rome. This was the first melody Nicola shared with me. He had already entitled it “The Big Mystery” and because of that intriguing name, it took me quite a long time to write the lyrics. First I had to figure out what the lyrics should say, and then I needed to reveal the mystery (in the lyrics and also really, to myself!) The full lyrics are posted on YouTube.
For this month’s post I would like to feature another one of Nicola’s melodies as it inspired the title of this post: “Stay in the Now” because that is what I am trying to do, while still looking forward to more creative collaboration in the future. “Stay in the moment, stay in the now” is a line from Nicola’s piece, “The Rest of Your Life“, a bluesy tune that took me more than 6 months to conceptualize–I kept throwing away stories (lyric ideas) that did not fit Nicola’s title. I finally settled on lyrics that are almost a self-guided meditation. And I feel as if I have given myself some good advice too.
The Rest of Your Life
Lyrics ©2017 Laurie Early
Music ©Nicola Borrelli
Close your eyes
now just imagine all the things you love,
picture everything you’ve ever dreamed of,
every face you adore;
this is what life is for!
Breathe in slow,
and think of everywhere you’d love to go.
When you open up your eyes, you will know
it’s your world/time. Go explore!
See what’s outside your door.
If you stop to wonder why? or how?
there’s a chance the blues will knock you down
so don’t forget to stay in the moment,
stay in the now.
Baby, don’t hurry,
you have the rest of your life!
Baby, don’t worry,
you have the rest of your life!