Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Season for Celebration

With the holidays gearing up, it is time to celebrate. Frankly, anytime people come together in the spirit of camaraderie to make music is cause for celebration. In the last four days, New York offered two very different music related parties, but a good time was had by all at both.

I first heard TOMOKO at St. Peter’s leading the congregation through Ellington’s “Come Sunday” and was totally impressed by her voice. Friday, she launched her debut CD Organically Afro Asiatic at the swank 230 Fifth. While she is actually more of soul or R&B singer, her CD was co-executive produced by Wycliffe Gordon (the jazz trombonist who first came to prominence in Wynton Marsalis’s group and the Jazz @ Lincoln Center band), who also plays on two tracks. TOMOKO has an amazing voice and is a poised performer. Strongly influenced by Stevie Wonder, fans of the Motown legend should definitely appreciate her music too. (You can watch her new video, which definitely should sell a lot of CDs, here.)

Then last night, the Jazz Foundation of America held its annual Thanksgiving party for friends, clients, and supporters, in the vastly different setting of Local 802, featuring the famous and the should-be famous jamming together to create some fantastic music. Wendy and the Foundation do the Lord’s work, looking out for sick and elderly musicians who have dedicated their lives to the music. They worked tirelessly in the wake of Katrina, when their client rolls expanded exponentially. JFA also has a new CD available of the 2007 Great Night in Harlem, which you can purchase here to support their efforts.

Unfortunately, the Foundation will have another, more somber celebration this coming Sunday. Their co-founder Herb Storfer and Chairman Dr. Leo Corbie passed away within weeks of each other, so the Foundation will pay tribute to their lives and gifts in a joint memorial. Taking things full circle, it will be at St. Peter’s at 7:00 PM. Again, supporting the Foundation would be a fitting tribute to both men. Happy Holidays.