By Carolyn Lee Jones
It’s finally here and on October 27th I celebrate my ten year mark as a full time vocalist-bandleader. These past TEN blogs in 2018 have been a way for me to share my music projects and thoughts with you and to keep me inspired while I remember all that has been accomplished both this year and the past TEN YEARS.
Many of you know that I had a long, successful and creative career before as a luxury gift buyer traveling the world. Not many people have had that opportunity and I enjoyed every moment of retailing. Music has always been a part of my life in some way and I knew that one day I’d make the leap and do it full time. It is a business for sure and my marketing experience has certainly helped me. In 2000 I really got serious about this idea and began preparing by 1st throwing myself a big birthday cocktail party & singing with a live band for the first time. Thanks to Julie Bonk ! It was GLORIOUS and a little scary too!
So here I am, getting ready to have another great big evening to celebrate this occasion as I enter my 10th year. The Kitchen Cafe is such a great listen room and fantastic dining spot it’s reminiscent of the small lovely music cabaret rooms of NYC. I’ve put together a backing trio of some of my great musician friends whom I’ve made music with during these past years. Friends are invited to ” sit in” during the 2nd set to help celebrate
I’m releasing a new single that’s soon to be on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and all of the streaming sites. It’s my GIFT to anyone attending on the 27th. The song is titled “I Was A Fool”, written by world renowned bassist, conductor and arranger Johnny Pate. My good friend Jennifer Martin introduced me to him when she was recording one of his songs for her 1st CD.
Johnny arranged and produced Shirley Horn’s Travelin’ Light Album, wrote the music for Shaft In Africa in the 70’s, played with Ahmad Jamal Trio in th 50s and was the ABC- Paramount producer for BB King and many others. Joe Williams pulled him out of retirement in Vegas to conduct and arrange some of his final projects. Johnny is 94 now and I am so honored to have recorded this song (given to me in its original handwritten form ) upon my first meeting with Johnny a couple of years ago. What a thrill!
Thanks to all of you for your ongoing support these past TEN YEARS by coming to my various gigs, shows, house concerts, jazz festivals and on and on…… I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for me and look forward to being with you. Till then…see you around town and THANKS! Love , Carolyn
By Carolyn Lee Jones
Today is the last day of September ! As the song goes… see you in September ..see you when the summer’s through. I think this month flew by and I didn’t see many of you! From a vacation gone awry (yes we were at The Outer Banks of N.C.) and had to fly home a week early, to beginning a kitchen remodel, catching a cold from singing in the rain (the temperature dropped 20 degrees) and being laid up for a week with no voice well, all I can say is …it’s almost October. A NEW fresh start.
But the great news there is I’ve been COUNTING TO TEN and you know what that means! Yes, my 10 year anniversary full time in music. I have a wonderful evening planned for friends old and new but more on that later!
The highlight that ended this month was singing with a 20 pc. big band DCJB ( Dallas Christian Jazz Band ) for a musical Sunday morning church service. Quite different !My BFF is the pianist for this group and recruited me last year to join them. I told them straight out what my limitations might be but they have embraced me with open arms. This band is jazz all the way with great arrangements. From Woody Herman’s the Preacher to Andre’ Crouch or a little Gershwin to an inspirational arrangement I’m having done for the band of Johnny Mercer’s Ac-cen-tu-ate The Positive.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I went in to the studio and recorded 4 new tunes , 2 that I’ll be releasing for the big TEN party the end of October. My Fresh Vintage Jazz Ensembles are alive and well with lots of great events coming up for the next three months. That’s it for now!
I thought you’d get a kick out of a throw back VINTAGE photo of me from 1972! Till next month ….I’m COUNTING TO TEN!
By Carolyn Lee Jones
I had something else planned for August’s blog but this hit me instead so here goes. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED…The Beatles seemed to echo this sentiment and in today’s crazy world I think it’s true now more than ever. Love for one another regardless of our race, color, creed, political opinions, body size, hair color, religion, economic status or whatever, we need to seek love and see the goodness in people. I’m not one to blast my opinions on social media , it’s just not me, but I attempt to live my life seeing the good in all things. Yes, I am a blue skies kind of gal, optimistic in every sense of the word. So I felt like sharing this little piece LOVE and good word with you and for you …here.
Okay…so what’s all of this COUNTING TO TEN BUSINESS you say? To catch yourself up, feel free to read my other blogs 1 through 7 but here it is if you haven’t read this already! TEN is October when I’ll celebrate 10 YEARS as a full time vocalist and …October is my birthday as well! There will be a big evening celebration on Oct 27th at The Kitchen Cafe “After Dark “ with my Fresh Vintage quintet when we will have a night of fun, food, laughter and music. I’ll also be there on September 7th to kick off COUNTING TO TEN – Nine! If you’re so inclined show me some LOVE and join me then as well!
I’ve been working on a few projects that I’ve loved doing and are really coming together. LOVE LOVE LOVE… it has been a common theme and emotion since the beginning of time and runs rampant through music. Heart wrenching love, child like love, blissful love, requited love, innocent love and on and on and on. I love singing about LOVE and am going in to the studio in a few weeks to record a couple of songs about foolish love and wonderful love. Stay tuned for more about this…when we get to October and COUNTING TO TEN…Ten! There will be a special treat for you at the October show!
To close, here are some lyrics about love…You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart, then people gonna treat ya better …. TILL NEXT TIME CJ
By Carolyn Lee Jones
There’s an old expression …at sixes and sevens with you.”At sixes and sevens” is an English Idiom used to describe a condition of confusion or disarray dating back to the 1300’s. I guess that’s what happened to me in June and now, it’s July. Although, I wasn’t confused or disorganized, just busy and having a very good time.
The phrase appears in a few songs, including “ Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the musical Evita, “Raoul And The Kings Of Spain” from Tears For Fears, and “Playing With Fire” by Stereo MCs. The eleventh studio album from Strange Music front man Tech 9ne was entitled “All 6’s and 7’s”. The song “Sixes and Sevens” was co written and sung by Robert Plant. It also appears in the Rolling Stones’ song “Tumbling Dice”. There is an album by Norwegian gothic metal band Sirena called At Sixes and Sevens (including a song with the same name) where this phrase is used in several songs.
So now what? I’m looking towards TEN…October …the 10th month and it’s getting closer and closer to my TEN year mark in music. My friends ask me why am I so focused on doing another CD & recording it live. The answer is …I’m event driven. It could be due to my 30 years in retailing but honestly, I simply get a kick out of working towards a goal or an goal for an event that is unique. Call me crazy but I love it.
This blog has been a nice way to think about each month in life & music, focus towards the celebrations in October and November and set new goals for 2019 where I’ll be well into the 10th year. I still intend to take my cabaret – jazz shows on the road. There is no confusion about this scenario! It will happen.
Till then stay cool ….with the music and the summer heat! Cheers
By Carolyn Lee Jones
INTENTION BEGINS THE DREAM … THEN TAKE ACTION!
In 2000 I was having one of those “ big birthdays” and decided that before I was “too old”, I’d leave the corporate world to become a singer and lead a band. That was my INTENTION. For 8 years, I lead a double life working for luxury retailers while studying music and doing an occasional performance in NYC and Dallas.
For that “big birthday” I threw myself a grand party, sang with a band for the first time, hired the musicians (led by Julie Bonk aka Nora Jones’ jazz piano teacher), got 12 charts together to sing, bought two gorgeous gowns, recorded the evening, my niece videoed the show, invited 80 friends and family came and away we went. ACTION. Zoom forward to October 28, 2008 …I left the retail world – yep downsized – and I’ve not looked back! THE DREAM began.
What is my INTENTION now? Counting to Ten, October will begin my 10th year as a full time musician. Coming from a retail and marketing background, I’ve always been event driven, which gives me the perfect excuse to throw another party to celebrate maybe with one of the big bands! It’s also time for another recording session. Might be LIVE. These things take time to plan so I’ve begun this month to brainstorm. Four recording projects already sketched out sitting on my desk!
What intention do you have? What’s your dream? Take action!
Life’s too short not to!
By Carolyn Lee Jones
VARIETY Is The Spice Of Life!
Last month was so much fun singing with PECOS RIVER BRASS big band and The Women Of Jazz. It was a huge success and we’re planning to do it again in the fall !
It’s April and National Jazz Appreciation Month! In it’s 14th year world wide begun by the Smithsonian. In Dallas it’s called DJAM or Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month. I have had the privilege of performing with many great musicians in the Dallas and Fort Worth area these past 9 years and always like to promote this annual event within my own gigs too.
As I count to TEN, April of course being number FOUR, it shows me again why I’m in this business. With my FRESH VINTAGE DUO & TRIO this month alone I have a wide variety of venues and people to make music with and to make music for! From gorgeous independent living retirement communities, to a chocolatier, to a festival by the lake, it’s the variety that keeps me engaged and always thinking about music. Each event requires thoughtfulness on what music to sing. Each audience is different. Each venue has its own particular vibe!
I’m working on two possible CD releases for October and December to be recorded beginning in July! Pretty exciting and yes, a lot of work and planning to be finished.
One of my goals this year, as I count to TEN, is to become very comfortable performing with just guitar and bass. It’s such an open sound and requires all three participants to really be aware of each other. To give this a label I’m calling it my Fresh Vintage Trio. As a vocalist I have to be to be in solid control of my melody and its variations. I’ve been able to play with some wonderful guitarists and I’m well on my way to achieving nirvana. Did I say that ?
I’d love seeing you at one of my public events! It’s always reassuring to see my friends. That lake event I mentioned is an all day affair with over 12 various bands and musicians performing. You can check it all out here! Or if you love a variety of chocolates and nice wines check this lovely little place out! Here are the names of the musicians I’m performing with this month! What VARIETY! Tommy DeSalvo (p) Todd Parsnow (g) Troy Chun (b) Jeffry Eckels (b)Hans York (g) Peter Rioux (p) Corentin Le Hir (b) Brad Williams (p) Roland Elbert (p) Sergio Pamies (p) Lynn Seaton (b) no drummers this month hmm.. got to change that! See you soon & remember …VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE!
By Carolyn Lee Jones
CREATIVITY CAN NOT BE FORCED! Did any of you set lofty goals for 2018? It’s March already, I’m feeling a self induced pressure to achieve. Well…guess what? It doesn’t work for the creative process! Being able to take a step step back and let things flow is sometimes difficult, especially for us A types. Just Breathe! LOL ! OK, here’s whats been going on so far … as I take that step back for a moment I realize that I’ve really achieved quite a few of my “creative” goals for 2018.
Big Band Singing has been on my wish list for a while. I intend to do a lot more of it! HINT if you know of anyone wanting a big band or a big band singer for any event call me. I’ve got the players and the charts. The great Sarah Vaughn was happiest with 20 pieces or more behind her (including strings). In January I took the financial plunge and have a great beginning for my own “big band book” of arrangements. Including a few Julie London charts from her early recordings which I’ll be singing this month! I’m thrilled to say that on March 14th I, along with 4 other Women of Jazz, will be performing in a SOLD OUT show with the Pecos River Brass Big Band led by arranger John C Smith. With me or better yet I with them are; Sandra Kaye (back from 6 years singing in China), the remarkable Heather Patterson (a Sammons Jazz Performer of The Year), Pam Musgrove (Pop,Blues, Musical Theater Diva) and Diana Sharp (Pecos’ very own talented sultry lead vocalist).
Next …release new singles… last month in Counting to TEN …TWO you’ll see that I released SISTER SADIE. (check it out and download from my music page) and I’m working on two other singles to be recorded and released this spring. Really excited!
Record a new CD …in celebration of my 10th year in music. Get it? Counting to TEN… aka …this blog! The month of May seems to be wide open with only a couple of gigs so I think the universe is telling me that SPACE has been opened up to be creative preparing for a CD recording. I’ve visited new studios and met the recording engineers.
I’m grateful and happy to be doing what I love! Of course it takes some focus and a certain amount of organization to keep things moving but CREATIVITY is a beautiful thing and should be allowed to happen when it’s ready! Till next month…“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein
By Carolyn Lee Jones
It’s February and Valentines Day is over but love continues! I recently had a show all about love… good,bad and indifferent. It was a wonderful evening and the audience had a good time with a bit of call and response to Alright,Okay You Win and Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t Ma Baby. Then to really mix things up, I sang a few pop jazzed tunes from my current CD such as Midnight At The Oasis with an R+B groove and Moondance in a very fast latin style. I let our Latin Mexican American drummer Lupe’ set the groove and tempo WOWEE. It was burning!
As I look forward, I also look back. I thought in celebration of counting to ten …TWO …and it being Valentines month, you might enjoy a new single release. THIS IS A PREVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT! It’s a jazz tune from Horace Silver with solos sung by me and my pal Ev with the group I mentioned last month, The New Collection. We never released any of the album in 2015 as singles or downloads. When I was developing my ideas for the year, I decided this would be the perfect song for February. SISTER SADIE was a mean chick and she thought that she was real slick. Then she met Alfonso Brown & naturally, I hope you will visit this song on my web site, CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon or you can stream it from Spotify! It should be up and running on iTunes and Spotify in a few days till then check it out on CD Baby. MUCH LOVE & BIG HUG as we continue to celebrate LOVE, Carolyn
P.S. Do you like me as a blonde? It’s a wig!
By Carolyn Lee Jones
I’m counting to TEN and as January comes to a close it’s ( # 1 ) of course. Why am I counting to TEN you ask? Because, 2018 is a celebratory year. To be more specific, October 28, 2018 ( Month #10 ) is when I begin my 10th year as a full time jazz-pop vocalist. Yes, I’m living my other dream of singing full time. This is after a very rewarding career as a buyer traveling the world for Neiman Marcus and other fine retailers. When I traveled to NYC as a buyer, I sang in some wonderful cabaret rooms and entertained my business associates in the evenings. I loved and still love the creative process. Whether it was then creating exclusive merchandise or now planning my music events, CD covers or brainstorming on how to sing a particular song being creative is what makes me happy.
I hope that you’ll share in this creative process with me each month. I’ll put you on my email list for performances, events , announcements and special recording projects.
( Just go here to sign up ) No spam I promise!
In the mean time, as I begin to count to ten
here is a 2012 CD release from the a cappella group I was privileged to be in for 5 years. THE NEW COLLECTION I have only a few physical copies left $12.00 each.
(GO here to listen and hopefully purchase). You’ll be helping me fund my new CD this year! Looking forward to seeing you at some of my shows as I count to TEN. Big hug! Carolyn