Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

2006 has been an incredible year! I’ve experienced some near devastating lows (most particularly, the diagnosis of my dear niece Naomi with Leukemia), but overall it’s been a year filled with extraordinary highs! Here's a basic summary of my musical year:


The year started with a lovely trip to San Diego. I needed a break and decided to get away on my own. I stayed in a cute, little boutique hotel (Bristol Hotel San Diego). I had a great time visiting Sea World and hanging out with a few friends. The weather was gorgeous.


My music was featured in a film on Showtime TV (“Jumping The Broom”).
I was interviewed and broadcast on the make-over program “What Not To Wear”, which aired on TLC.


I recorded a demo with my friend Elaine Romanelli.


Naomi was diagnosed with Leukemia. Though she must deal with the difficulty of chemotherapy, Naomi’s prognosis is excellent and we expect a full recovery!


I performed with the Oakland Opera in X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, by Anthony Davis. The music was challenging and required every bit of my sight reading and improvisatory skills. It’s being staged again in 2007 in another venue. More about that soon!


I had the opportunity to audience for Beyonce. Despite not being hired, I’m practicing more than ever as a result of the disappointment, and am expecting my career to take off in a big way in 2006 as a result!
I met and played for India Arie!


I was a substitute pianist for Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco. I had a great time playing piano, camping it up in my sexy ingenue wardrobe!


I was filmed in a Keith Urban music video! Only for a couple of seconds, but I’m there! lol
I performed in New York City for the first time and had a BLAST! I played at the Cutting Room, and the audience was packed full of record industry executives.


I celebrated my birthday with friends and family.


Naomi's fundraiser, held at the Emeryville Cold Stone Creamery, was a great success! We had a great turn out raised funds and awareness for Naomi and for Leukemia.


I went to LA to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and the party was crashed by Britney Spears and Paris Hilton!


The busiest month of the year. I’ve had all manner of performances, as an accompanist and soloist. Some musical theater, choral, spirituals, gospel, R&B and of course classical! Check out my 2006 calendar for an idea of the range of my performances.

On a personal note, I’m in the best shape of my life! My life is filled with family and friends who encourage, support, love and inspire me. My pets are the best doggies on the planet! (Ok, I'm biased!) I am grateful to all of the people who help me stay strong, fit, energetic and looking great! I highly recommend my trainers at Ice Chamber, my yoga teachers at Hot Box Yoga, my aesthetician Maisha of Skin by Maisha. They all keep me on my toes and I love the results!

I am blessed beyond measure, and am grateful for the gifts I am able to offer as a pianist, teacher, woman and friend.

May this season remind you of all that is beautiful in your life. Here’s to the best year yet for me and for each of you: 2007!

Abundant blessings and peace to you,


Tilly Key at Maxwell’s

Last night I performed with Tilly Key at Maxwell’s in Oakland. The band consisted of some of my favorite local musicians: Troy Lampkins (bass), Dante McClinton (drums) and Ken Harrill (guitar). The show went well, despite my having had a headache all day and feeling utterly exhausted. Somehow, my energy came up to do the show. Tilly’s got some great new songs, and the audience reaction was strong. So much so that they wanted to hear her single twice in a row!

In the second set, Bay Area legend D'Wayne Wiggins joined us onstage to perform Tilly’s song “It’s Up To Me”, a rock-influenced ode to self-determination. Dwayne also brought his talented sax player Rodney to the show, who played on several tunes with us. It was a fun night!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Recital with Lauren Michelle Criddle

Tonight I had the pleasure of accompanying soon-to-be-superstar soprano, Lauren Michelle Criddle. The recital went exceptionally well, especially considering that we'd only met 2 weeks ago! The program included a range of musical styles, from aria to lieder to spirituals, Christmas songs and pop tunes.

  • Exultate Jubilate: "Tu virginum" and "Alleluja" - W. A. Mozart

  • Nacht und Träume - F. Schubert

  • Wir Wandelten - J. Brahms

  • Morgen! - R. Strauss

  • I Wonder As I Wander - J. Niles

  • City Called Heaven - H. Johnson

  • Eccomi in lieta vesta...Oh! quante volte - V. Bellini

  • Oh! mio babbino caro - G. Puccini

Ms. Criddle is an incredibly talented, charming, engaging young woman. In addition to all of that, she's so beautiful that she could vie for "America's Next Top Model" and win! I am so grateful to her cousin, Luqman Frank, for recommending me to accompany her. Luq also performed on the program, two very heartfelt and expressive renditions of Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" (accompanied by Shannon, a talented 13 year old harpist) and "Visions". Luq and Lauren also sang an beautiful medley of "Silent Night" and John Lennon's "Imagine". Lauren's brother Taylor also performed 3 classical guitar pieces. What a talented family!

I enjoyed myself tremendously tonight. Lauren allowed me the space to freely improvise on the contemporary pieces, and chose pieces which allowed me to indulge myself pianistically, while still providing her support as a singer. I look forward to accompanying Lauren in premier venues around the world. She's a graduate of Julliard and has already performed at Carnegie Hall. I'm quite certain her future will be stellar. She's awesome.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gig with Jeanette Harris

Tonight I played at Shanghai 1930 in Downtown San Francisco with sax player Jeanette Harris and her band (drummer Mike Harris and bassist Patrick Olvera). Jeanette and met a few months ago in line at the Beyonce audition (she didn't get hired either...oh well!) Here's the comment I left on her myspace page:
Hi Jeanette,

I had a GREAT time performing with you, Mike and Patrick last night. You guys are awesome! Mike and Patrick held it down, allowing me to playing freely, to be expressive and creative. They were EXACTLY what a pianist hopes for in a complete rhythm section. And you, my dear...WOW! You play with such passion, musicality and love! Your playing is an inspiration. I can't wait to play with you again on New Year's Eve!

Have a great show in LA and see you in a couple of weeks!

She will be releasing a new CD in 2007. Keep your eyes on this rising star!