All posts tagged: music

Moments of Silence

Silence can be the loudest sound in the world, especially if you are longing to hear the next note, the next phrase, the next part of the story. And…“Silence is PART of the SONG!” (Dr. Barry Harris shouted this pearl of wisdom at his classroom full of singers a couple of weeks ago.) It is such a simple thing to remember. So true! I saw a similar thought attributed to Thelonious Monk. He is recorded as saying, “Don’t play EVERYTHING (or every time); let some things GO BY. Some music [is] just IMAGINED. What you DON’T play can be more important than what you DO play.” A few years ago I touched on this idea in an introductory verse I wrote for my song, “I Lied to Myself”. It begins, “There’s a limbo in this world where the silence is so loud….” This phrase was my attempt to capture in words the desire to hear someone speak to me again, and that feeling you get deep in your heart when you miss the sound of …

A Burgundy Twilight

I feel a major shift in my life, starting today, October 1, 2017. Without going into details, a nine-year cycle ended yesterday for me. Yes, yesterday I learned many things: revelations about people I know, observations about how love is expressed (or denied), thoughts about how I am (or am not) respected, and a new confidence about my ability to keep going through extreme periods of grief, stress, and rejection. I sometimes see flashes of my future, I know certain things are coming, and I try not to judge them as good or bad. This ability is sometimes very reassuring as it gives me hope. But, there are times I am frustrated when I know something unpleasant is heading towards me and there is nothing I can do about it. And, sometimes, I am just plain WRONG and my “prediction” turns out to be just a negative fantasy. A small case in point, my lyrics for Barry Harris’ fantastic tune “Burgundy”. I wrote them the week following a class where we scatted syllables along with …

I am always singing to YOU

I love creating music; I enjoy the process, the experimentation, working with other musicians, and I really like sharing the final musical piece or song. This month, as I begin the second half of my life on this planet, I have created and now share something else…a new public “Laurie Early – Singer Songwriter Lyricist” Facebook page to showcase all the musical people in my life, projects I am involved in, and links to other things that interest me such as art, writing, science, culture, and creative expression. You will see that as my cover photo I am featuring the street art image below (and my epiphanic thought). My friends might recognize the image as it has already been posted on my personal Facebook page. I created it to accompany a song-clip of when I sang “You, My Love” in a recent workshop class. What especially touches my heart when I listen is hearing Barry distracting me (he sees me start to cry a bit) and encouraging me to keep singing, shouting: “BE in love! THAT’s right! …

Lorena Fontana – A Vision

A couple of years ago I was surprised and honored to get an email from Lorena asking me to review some of her original lyrics before her recording date. She is an amazing singer and composer I met in Rome in 2011. At the time I was surprised she had reached out to me because her English lyrics were so imaginative and grammatically correct (not easy for anyone, but especially when working in a second language) so I did not know how much value I could add to her work. She did not need any real corrections, but we did engage in a wonderful dialog about motivations in the lyrics and questions about certain phrases that she subsequently revised herself. It was such an exciting exchange of ideas and I am grateful to have assisted her in any way during her creative process. She thanked me in the liner notes and that was a nice little thrill to see. Lorena traveled all the way to California to record this CD and she produced a cool video about the trip entitled “The …

NY Sunset - photo by Laurie Early

Clark Terry Lives

Last month I was writing a post for my music page (something else I was going to share with you for the month of March,) but then, the unexpected happened…Clark Terry passed away. So, instead, I decided to write about him and to dedicate all my creative efforts in 2015 to his memory; a way of thanking him for the inspiration, education, and joy he gave to me and thousands of other people around the world. In terms of inspiration, I am certainly talking about his overall musical inspiration: his incredible trumpet technique; his unique sound; his original compositions; and his mentorship. However, I also include the inspiration he intrinsically exuded as a human being, as a man, as a nurturer, a teacher, as someone who freely shared his knowledge of music and life. He accomplished so many things in his 94-years on earth, and I believe that the energy and love he invested here will live on– through the recordings of his marvelous performances (that we are so lucky to have in this technological age); through the legacy of his compositions (which will forever be played …

Contrafact & Controversy

I would like to share my perspective on music-related things as I see them now, as I am experiencing them now, or as I have experienced them in the past, but I have to admit that I am fighting an urge to start my “jazz blogging” with a full disclaimer about my relative inexperience discussing this complex musical form. I won’t bore you with my issues about sharing my opinions in public, however, I will say that if I am not aware of the full-story on a particular subject, I am open to hearing the perspectives of others. From the outset, I freely admit that I do not know a thimble-full of the history and theory that other jazz musicians and music scholars have spent their lives acquiring. I wish there was a way I could go back in time, to have made more informed choices about my musical studies – but just like everything else in real-time, in real-life, there are no “do-overs”. So, if I am lucky, I will just be able to take …

Poems for Billy Strayhorn (I)

This poem is the first I am posting here from my series of poems inspired by specific compositions by Billy Strayhorn. As you read my words, I encourage you to listen to the Alessandro Vaccari Quartet* performing a lovely version of Strayhorn’s Isfahan that I discovered recently on YouTube. My Isfahan ©2009 Laurie Early Poets speak your name and sigh, ink in quill, for calligraphic lace, my love, cannot hold you still. A mystical poem can’t ever enclose, the fragrance of such a rose, your gardens harbor those, my Isfahan. Jasmine in the wind ‘neath saffron-colored skies. Tea served near the square, with Persian lullabies. Your tranquil flowing streams and mosaics gleam… turquoise, gold, and green, my Isfahan. You are half the world, my Isfahan.   Another poem in this series is:  (II) Chelsea Bridge *Alessandro Vaccari Quartet 17 giugno 2011 – PER LA RASSEGNA “EFFETTO JAZZ” 2011 Alessandro Vaccari – ten sax Emiliano Pintori – keyboards Roberto Beneventi – double bass Vittorio Sicbaldi – drums Località: Barchessoni di San Martino Spino, Mirandola, Modena, ITALY

YouTube, Barry Harris Workshops, and a Favorite Song

To initiate my blog here at WordPress I will start this first “MUSIC” post by sharing one of my favorite songs, Where is Love? by Lionel Bart, from the 1960 musical, Oliver!  The original Broadway cast album of Oliver! was one of my favorite records growing up, played it over and over, sang these songs all the time.  I include the full song lyrics below, as well as a link to my recording on YouTube. In 2009, I setup a YouTube Channel to share original songs, but it seemed like anything that I posted there was not safe. The honest truth is that I have had things stolen by pirating websites who then asked listeners for money to download. I never received a penny. Therefore, I am wary of posting anything else until after I publish a CD of my work. So…for the time being, on my channel there are a couple of songs to listen to and you will see a lot of playlists I have put together as I have been using the channel to create reference lists for myself and other students that study with …

Consider the Moon

Consider the Moon ©2008 Laurie Early Consider the moon reflecting the sun, asking nothing for herself but to share light where there was none. Consider the moon she’s scarred many ways, but stays true to herself as she moves along through each phase. And you know she has a dark side she keeps to herself, full of sadness, fear and anger, and a ton of self-doubt. But if you care to visit there she’ll surely let you see, so that you won’t make the same mistakes as she. Consider the moon, she’s so far away, illuminating our nighttime, but getting closer, closer, closer to the sun each day. She’s leaving us, she’s leaving us, she’s gonna leave us all in her dust Men have walked all over her and left their trash behind. consider the moon.   [Photo of the moon by Richard Williams © 2013]