Two-Bowl Piano Cookies
Do you ever get the urge to go deeper, and learn more about music? There are lots of great resources out there, but one of the simplest ways to get started is to log on to the Boston Public Library’s website to access their electronic resources. You’ll need a library card, but anyone who lives or goes to school in Massachusetts can get one online. If you are outside the state, investigate the nearest high-quality library near you.
If you just want to listen, Music Online: Jazz Music Library has the largest collection of jazz streaming available online. It’s mostly public domain works from 1924 to the present and labels that have a special arrangement with the publisher, so no, you won’t find Yoko Miwa or the Trio on there, but with over 10,000 albums, we’re willing to be you will find something to listen to.
Alternatively, from a mobile device you can use Overdrive Music, which lets you check out certain albums and collections electronically (they have audiobooks and ebooks too!). After the lending period is up, they will expire on your device, but if you check them out again, most books will “remember” where you were in your listening.
If you play, Music Online: Classical Scores Library is not just for classical music. It features all kinds of gems in all kinds of genres. For example, here’s a book of simple Christmas music done as jazz duets for clarinet and piano.
For general music reference or for deeper music research, you’ll want your first stop to be Oxford Music Online, which contains Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and The Oxford Companion to Music.
In a year in review article at the end of 1989, the Boston Globe’s Fernando Gonzalez said that the then brand-new Scullers Jazz Club “looks like it’s here to stay.” Also in 1989, the Globe’s Steve Morse wrote, “Need a retreat to hear some of the best jazz in town? You can’t go wrong with Scullers, a superb new club with a panoramic view of the Charles River and Boston skyline. The atmosphere is warm, the ambiance low-key and the bookings a breath of fresh air. The intimate, 110-capacity club [has] marble tables, deep-cushioned chairs, Honduran mahogany walls and an upscale but not uppity feel… This club’s a welcome addition — and long overdue in the local jazz world. ”
When Scullers was founded, it filled a hole in the local music scene – while Cambridge and Somerville had several lively jazz spots, Boston had not had a major jazz venue since the Starlight Roof in Kenmore Square closed in 1986. Several other important venues, such as Jonathan Swift’s and Charlie’s Tap, had closed earlier in the decade. Boston needed something like Scullers.
Since the now iconic club will be celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday next year, it’s safe to say that Fernando Gonzalez was right when he said Scullers is here to stay. But why wait until a big anniversary to celebrate Scullers? The Yoko Miwa Trio’s annual Scullers show is next week, November 20, at 8 pm, so get your tickets now.
Singer Rebecca Parris is known by some as “The First Lady of Jazz.” That title was first given to pianist Mary Lou Williams, but more famously, Ella Fitzgerald. Parris is more often called “Boston’s First Lady of Jazz, but Marblehead also claims her as their own first lady of jazz. They may have the right — she has been a headliner at the Marblehead Summer Jazz festival for all 29 seasons it has been running.
It’s always a delight to share the stage with a living legend, and the Yoko Miwa Trio has had the pleasure of working with Rebecca Parris on several shows in the past. However, we have never had a guest for our Scullers show, which will make November 20a first. Perhaps Rebecca should be dubbed “The Charles River’s First Lady of Jazz” as well!
… Does this make the Yoko Miwa Trio the cabinet of jazz? The peerage?
If ghosts were real, we imagine that anyone who has performed at a top-quality jazz club would choose to return after death. Here’s a partial list of people who would have haunted Scullers Jazz Club for a few years or more:
- Singer and songwriter Lou Rawls
- Singer and pianist Bobby Short
- Pianist George Shearing
- Singer and Pianist Shirley Horn
Do you have your tickets yet for the Yoko Miwa Trio show on November 20?
- Take a short class or workshop together. If your friend enjoys expanding their horizons and learning new things, but has been hesitant to go to a concert with you, it may be because they think they won’t understand jazz. A short class at a local community education center will introduce them to some music principles while showing them that there’s no need to be intimidated by jazz!
- Just like with teens, enjoying a movie with jazz in it can be a great way to increase a friend’s exposure to jazz. Stay tuned for more news on the independent film Midlife, which Yoko Miwa herself composed the score for!
- Think about their tastes and choose a venue where your friend will be sure to have a good time. Think about their tastes. You can see the Yoko Miwa Trio at the upscale Les Zygomates and relax with fine French cuisine and wine, or at a laidback American-style brunch at Ryles Jazz Club, or in a funky Asian fusion environment for some sushi or tempura at Thelonious Monkfish.
Introducing a friend to jazz isn’t about evangelism, it’s just about sharing joy, so you don’t want anyone to feel pushed. For more thoughts on sharing joy through music, see our earlier blog post “When “Listen to This!” is a Gift.”
Since last week’s blog was about listening to jazz with your young kids, this week is about older kids and teens. By middle and high school, kids have their own taste in music – and typically, there’s some overlap in taste with their parents, and some musical interests that do not overlap at all! If you want to share your love of jazz with your teens, here are some ideas for getting started.
- Listen to what they have to say about music. Propose a trade, and go to a concert they are interested in together, then take them to a concert of music you like.
- Make sure they don’t feel left out at the venue you go to. Choose a venue in which not everyone will be drinking, or one in which the bartender will make the teens an elegant virgin cocktail.
- Watch movies with jazz in them together, such as Chicago, All Night Long, Sweet and Low, and the many great movies out there profiling individual musicians, like Bird (Charlie Parker) or Lady Sings the Blues (Billie Holiday).
- Invite your kid to bring a friend when going with you to jazz shows. They’ll have more fun, and who knows, maybe you’ll inspire more than one teen to get interested in jazz.
The Yoko Miwa Trio has fans of all ages, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you have kids, or if you spend a lot of time with friends’ kids, you may have thought about how to get kids into jazz. There’s no way to guarantee they will share your tastes in music, but there are lots of ways to explore and enjoy music with young children.
- Head to your local library and pick up some kids’ books with jazz themes. A lot of the kids books on jazz that are out there focus only on the jazz scene from the 20s to the 50s, but still, they’ll be introduced to some legends. Picture books like “Charlie Parker Played Bebop” by Christopher Raschka and “The Jazz Fly” by Matthew Golub are great for reading aloud, as they are heavy on rhythm and onomatopoeia.
- Try out some musical instruments. The appropriate age to start kids on music lessons varies based on what you and your child hope your child will get out of the lessons, but any age is a good time to play “chopsticks” or bang on a toy drum.
- Dance around the living room together with your favorite jazz music playing. You don’t have to know any jazz dance – in fact, a lot of “jazz dance” is pretty grown-up oriented because of the sensual moves. Just be silly and uninhibited, acting out what the music makes you feel. Kids are great at this, so you may learn as much as they do.
- Go to a show with your kids. Choose a venue that’s kid-friendly and enjoy some music out. The kids may not be as focused on the music as you are, but they’ll pick up on the fact that going to see live music is fun. For example, Ryles has some good food for little ones on their Jazz Brunch menu, like French toast, blueberry pancakes, eggs any style, and freshly squeezed orange juice.