All posts tagged: LaurieEarly

Random Things About Me

So, hello, hi there! Here is something a little unexpected, a summer “fluff” post that you will hopefully find entertaining and maybe even educational about what memories are stored in my mind. It is a list of 16 random things about me. They are in no particular order, *smile*. 1. When I worked in a corporate setting, at approximately 3 PM, almost every day, I hiccuped.  Usually just one, and then it was over.  I have no idea why.  At the office, a colleague who sat next to me always noted the time and commented on how close to 3 PM I was. (Since I began telecommuting a few years ago, the 3 PM hiccup is no more. I still hiccup now and then, but not on a strict schedule.) 2. My favorite TV program is Eastenders. “Trials and tribulations impact lives in a close-knit community in London’s East End”  I love it!  I have been watching it since 1987.  I found it on a UHF channel before I had cable – it was one of the few things I …

Poems for Billy Strayhorn (III)

In the early morning of May 31, 1967, Billy Strayhorn made his transition to another realm. In honor of him, and his musical legacy, I would like to share “Lotus Blossom”, the third poem from my series inspired by his compositions. I was deeply moved by the recording of Duke Ellington playing this piece as an impromptu tribute to Billy. I understand that it was accidently recorded after the session for Duke’s album “And His Mother Called Him Bill” was supposed to have concluded.  In the background, you can hear the other band members talking and packing up as he begins to play this intimate solo. Oh! I listened to this recording many, many, many times while I was writing the words below. You can also listen to it here: “Lotus Blossom” on YouTube*. I wanted to compose a piece where the lotus not only described how I personally feel about Billy Strayhorn, his life, the man, the artist, and how he inspires me and countless other musicians, but one that would also describe the natural life cycle of this mystical plant. It was the juxtaposition of these two metaphors that inspired …

Trying to Get Through Spring

There are so many beautiful songs about Spring–songs that cover different aspects  of the weather, the flowers, themes of renewal, loss, and love. I think that the seasons resonate with everyone, at least everyone who lives in an area of the world where they set the schedule for planting, growing, harvest, and fallow. Anyone who has experienced these shifts in temperature, these quarterly phases and physical reminders of life, death and re-birth can appreciate the metaphors of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. The song I want to talk about today, analyze in a way, was written a few years ago. At the time, I was learning many jazz standards, all new to me, while also grieving a loss, so I happened to write a song that reflected my deep sadness, yet reminded me of all the lovely things Spring has to offer. I was especially focused on flowers I had been singing about in the other standards, or flowers that had personal meaning to me from my childhood. So, I will attempt to dissect and explain the song lyrics a little and to indicate …

Prelude to Spring – Singing & Learning

Oh man! I have been singing in Rome and having so much fun! It has been especially gratifying this month because I was able to sing a couple of original songs/lyrics that had never been performed in public before. At one of the Barry Harris Jazz Workshop jam sessions, I was asked to sing a Bossa and chose to debut the English lyrics (called “Happiness”) that I wrote for Jobim’s A Felicidade. A couple of people approached me afterwards to tell me how much they liked my English interpretation, so that made me feel really good. It was a difficult song to transform as Portugese is so light and soft, English so harsh. I am glad people still connect to the story in English. Early Thursday morning, before the piano class began, I was able to test out my new lead sheet for a totally original song called “West of the Sun“. I am very grateful to Tomasz Bialowolski on piano and Luca Peruzzi on bass for their gracious assistance. They made the song come to life for me …

Happiness

I am always pleased to help when someone asks me to create English lyrics for a new song, but when it is a song I have never heard before, a song that really speaks to me, really touches something in my heart, then I am thrilled. This happened last year when I was approached by a friend-of-a-friend, a wonderful New York City singer who wanted English lyrics for Jobim’s A Felicidade. Some of you may be aware that this is the song that opens the 1959 film, “Orfeu Negro” (Black Orpheus). So when I struggled a bit to find a suitable lyric for the last phrase, instead of interpreting the original lyrics, I took a risk and tapped into the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice instead, as the film is a modern telling of their sad love story. It is set in Rio de Janeiro during Brazilian Carnival but perfectly matches the original Greek tragedy’s plotline. I am in love with this song, so beautiful and heartbreaking when you think about the story behind it. Live in the moment! Love now! …

The 7 Deadly Sins – A 2016 Resolutions Exercise

Wow! It has been a very full year–travel, music, friends, family and many creative moments. One of the things I am most proud of is that I was able to post at least one article here each month. Starting and maintaining a personal website was one of my 2015 resolutions and I intend to keep going! Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact me with encouraging comments. For 2016, from the many possible promises I could make to myself, I decided to focus on resolutions I could commit to that would nourish me as a person and as an artist /musician. I started by contemplating my 2015 achievements, and analyzing my attempts at achievement (otherwise known as brooding over my mistakes and failures.) Then, for some reason known only to my subconscious mind (is that redundant?) in the middle of this thought process I remembered something I saw recently about the “7 Deadly Sins”. Now, totally sidetracked by this concept, I will share a few random thoughts on these sins to close out 2015. Hopefully, at the end of …

9/11 Tribute Song – This Unforgiving Town

This Unforgiving Town (My Lagan Love – 9/11) ©2003 Laurie Early/ASCAP The Hudson flows along the shore Where orchards of steel grow. Each gleaming bough contains a tale Of lives and loves below. And every wave sings out its song For shattered hearts needing repair. Who will be dressed in sorrow’s gown In this unforgiving town? As sunlight wakes the morning sky Our innocence a memory. An axeman wears a selfish smile As he fells another tree. The city’s armor takes the blows But yet the human damage shows. Who will be saved? And who will drown In this unforgiving town? When twilight rolls upon the day A dusty night time looms. A flood of tears won’t wash away The pain caused by these wounds. And so we’re called to higher ground Because it’s there that love is found. Who will be brave? And who’ll be brought down In this unforgiving town? My Lagan Love, the melody that inspired this song, is over 500 years old. I have changed the Irish Traditional up a bit …

Let Me Sing This Dance With You

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to sing a few jazz standards accompanied by Murray Wall on double bass (contrabass); he’s a wonderful musician. It was so much fun. No microphone, no piano, no drum, and a no distractions.  We had a small audience who also seemed to be sending out the “no judgments” vibe which was very sweet. It was a showcase-style performance with four other women, and we had a ball singing in this simple rotating format. It was conceptualized by one of the performers, and dubbed “Beauties and the Bass” by another.  A lovely group dynamic. After the performance, I spent a few moments talking to another friend. She was part of the audience, but had also assisted a couple of the singers with their choreography (suggesting hand gestures, slight movements to try while singing, and other things like that.) She is a very graceful person, and we spoke about her possibly dancing to one of my original songs sometime in the near future.  As we were talking I was immediately reminded of the following song that I wrote …

Straight to You

Wherever you are…is home. Straight to You [Written for Leonid Volskiy on his piece “Clearing the Cobwebs Away”] ©2012 Laurie Early This train, rocking me gently, glides on metal rails that will not take me to you and so I ride until I reach the ocean, and a crossing dangerous and blue This train, only goes so far and now that I’m aboard for love I’ll never go back I’ll stay on course for I must hold you though the sea will end this track Now, I’m flying, I’m floating, I’m rising, I’m soaring, my heart’s above the water headed home, love, straight to you I’m flying, I’m floating, I’m rising, I’m soaring, I’m heading home now, straight to you. I know you will be waiting when my loyal heart has crossed this ocean so vast we’ll lie in sunlit fields of tall grass and I’ll hold your face at last Yes, I’m flying, I’m floating, I’m rising, I’m soaring, my heart’s above the water headed home, love, straight to you. I’m flying, I’m floating, I’m …