Happy Mother’s Day! – 5 Jazz Songs to Warm Mom’s Heart

Are you feeling bombarded and overwhelmed by all of the advertisements for Mother’s Day gifts and flowers? Do you still not have a gift idea for mom? Maybe you weren’t able to visit with mom last year, due to concerns about COVID-19, and you want to make sure Mother’s Day 2021 is extra special. 

Well, don’t worry because sometimes it’s the simplest gifts that leave the longest lasting memories. Sometimes it’s about creating that perfect ambience by playing just the right songs. The songs that’ll speak to mom’s heart, get her eyes watering and her toes tapping.

Etta James – Tell Mama

This 1967 hit song still rocks out today! Etta James’s deep, powerful and gutsy vocals let you know that mama really is always on your side and always has your back, no matter what. This song is sure to get your Mother’s Day off to a groovy start! 

WJ3 All Stars – I’ve Never Been in Love Before

The jazz standard from 1950—recorded by stars like Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Chet Baker—has been brought back to life in this vivid rendition from Willie Jones III and his All-Stars! Whether this is the first time your mom is hearing this song, or if it’s a tune she knows and loves, the soft melody, saxophone and piano are sure to create a lovely atmosphere for chatting and reminiscing.

The Shirelles – Mama Said

This lively, poppy 1961 hit is a fun ode to all the moms out there who have given their children those unforgettable words of wisdom. And did you know that The Shirelles, famous for their rhythm & blues, doo-wop and soul music, are credited with the launch of the girl group genre? All I know is that I don’t worry ‘cause Mama said there’ll be days like this…

Gregory Porter – Mother’s Song

You probably recognize Gregory Porter from his albums, Liquid Spirit and Tame to the Alley, both of which won Grammys for Best Jazz Vocal Album, but I bet you haven’t heard this song from his 2012 album! Porter’s mellow and uplifting sound will make your mother feel cherished on her special day. Listen and gather ‘round me children, children of a mother whose life lifted up peace, a mother who taught all of her children to love and be loved by each other…

Lorca Hart Trio – Bye Ya

If your mom is anything like my mom, saying goodbye is an ordeal, an event, a process in which one gets initiated into another conversation, and gets just one more hug, before finally walking out the door. So, this Mother’s Day, say goodbye with a bang! “Bye Ya” comes from Lorca Hart Trio’s newest album Colors of Jazz. The swinging, upbeat tune represents the color orange and evokes the image of a jolly band leading a parade down a cobblestone street. Everyone is dancing merrily and marching happily to the beat of the drum solo. A cheering crowd lines the street, pressing together to watch the musicians pass, waving and laughing. Giggling children chase each other through the sea of legs. Now, that, to me, really sounds like the proper way to say goodbye to mom!

And if your mom is a lover of jazz music, you may want to browse around our store for some great gift ideas! “Colors of Jazz” and WJ3 All-Star’s album “Lover and Love Songs” are both available in our store right now, along with many other albums that’ll bring a bright smile to mom’s face. Or if you would like to book one of our lovely musicians for your Mother’s Day, please contact us today. 

5 Tunes to Get You Movin’ on International Dance Day

Whether it be Zumba, ballet, belly dance, hip hop, shuffle dance or the waltz, we all have a sweet spot, or secret talent, for some kind of dance style! And even if you don’t think of yourself as a great dancer, you have to admit, dancing makes you feel alive, so why not get your groove on this Thursday for International Dance Day?

WJ3 All Stars – I’m An Old Cow Hand

Originally sung by Bing Crosby in 1936 for the movie, Rhythm on the Range, this rollicking tune was a huge hit in its day and could always get people clapping and tapping their toes. Now, nearly a century later, the song is brought back to life by world-class artists, Willie Jones III and his All-Stars. This smooth and snazzy rendition is a great song to warm up those dancing muscles of yours!

Fred Astaire – The Way You Look Tonight

We all know and love the Frank Sinatra version of this song. It’s a staple at most weddings is a very popular first dance song. But did you know that “The Way You Look Tonight” was first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1936 movie “Swing Time” and that it won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song? Well, nothing says International Dance Day, like the famous dancer, Fred Astaire, for whom the ballroom dance franchise was named! You’ll definitely want to grab a partner and get on the dancefloor for this classic!

Little Willie John – I’m Shakin’ 

With the lyrics, I got a knocking in my knees and a wobble in my walk, I just don’t know how this song won’t motivate you to get up and bust a move! Little Willie John, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, was a notable figure in R&B music of the 1950s, and he certainly knows how to give your legs the jitters!  

Lorca Hart Trio – Dayne

As part of their new Colors of Jazz album, the Lorca Hart Trio have created a vivid tribute to Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter, who were certainly some jazz stars that could get you on your feet! This upbeat, fast-paced song evokes the image of a bright yellow sports car, speeding down the road, and will be sure to have you twistin’ and groovin’, or at the very least, snapping your fingers along to the beat! 

Etta Jones – Till There Was You

Let’s slow things down a bit with this last one. Etta Jones’s lovely version of this 1957 song is so soft and heartwarming that it’ll make you just want to melt into the arms of your sweetheart during a slow dance, which to me sounds like the very best way to end a long night of movin’ and shakin’. 

If the songs by Lorca Hart Trio and WJ3 All Stars caught your fancy, then look no further. Both of these groups newest albums are available right now in our shop. And if you’d like to book one of our musicians for an upcoming party or event, contact us today.

April Showers Bring May Flowers – 5 Rainy Day Songs

Just because it’s raining outside doesn’t mean that your mood has to be dreary and dark. Remember, April showers bring May flowers! Sometimes, a tough, gloomy period is watering the very seeds that’ll sprout and grow into something beautiful and joyous in the future, so go get yourself a nice warm cup of tea, snuggle up and listen to these lovely tunes on your rainy April day! 

Elvis – Pocketful of Rainbows

We all know and love the King of Rock and Roll, but have you ever listened to his lesser-known gem of a song, “Pocketful of Rainbows”? Released in 1960, this slower-paced tune is perfect for a rainy day inside. Like Elvis sings so beautifully, we need not worry whenever skies are gray above because we have a pocketful of rainbows and a heart full of love.

Otis Redding – Cigarettes and Coffee

From his 1966 “The Soul Album,” this song is a poignant meditation from the perspective of a man lingering in the early morning, sittin’ here talkin’ with my baby. The protagonist is in absolutely no rush to get started with his day. He sings to his darling about how grateful he is that she’s in his life, and how grateful he is for this simple moment together: I’ve known nothing but good old joy since I met you… I would love to have another drink of coffee, now, and please, darling, help me smoke this one more cigarette. 

Lorca Hart Trio – Dew Drop

As the Lorca Hart Trio proves in this wonderful jazz song, released in 2020, a drop of dew can be oh so delicate, beautiful and precious. Slow down and notice the dew drops outside all around you, on flowers, leaves, branches. A dew drop is in no hurry to go anywhere, it just exists in that very moment, which is exactly what you can do on this drizzly day. 

Etta James – A Sunday Kind of Love

I don’t know about you, but this song is a staple on my rainy Sunday morning playlist. Etta James’s powerful voice and the clever lyrics in this 1960 tune just soften and warm my heart into butter. But did you know that Etta James was not the first artist to release this song? It was actually composed by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes and Louis Prima and published in 1946. Many musicians like Fran Warren, Ella Fitzgerald and The Del Vikings came out with versions of this beloved song.

WJ3 All Stars – First Time I Saw Your Face

This slow, smooth song from WJ3 All Stars’ newest album, “Lovers & Love Songs” will have you reminiscing on the very first time that you ever met your darling—the twinkling in his or her eyes, the dimples on the cheeks and the smile that stole your heart forever. This song is perfect for cuddling up next to your loved one and savoring all those sweet memories you have together. 

If you’re looking for more soft jazz songs to keep you nice and cozy during all the rainy days this April, I would recommend the WJ3 All Stars’ album “Lovers & Love Songs” and the Lorca Hart Trio’s “Colors of Jazz.” Both are available in our store right now and on all major music platforms!

Life is a Picnic! – Relaxing Tunes to Listen to on National Picnic Day

With the unpredictability of the weather nowadays, we have to seize any opportunity we can to go outside and have a picnic. So, in honor of National Picnic Day on April 23rd, go grab your friends and family this weekend, tell everyone to bring a dish to share, sit outside and bask in the sun while listening to these upbeat tunes! That is, as long as there’s not a random surprise blizzard… Let’s cross our fingers that doesn’t happen, and spring is here to stay!

Billie Jo Spears – Blanket On The Ground

Whether it be a handmaid quilt or the classic red and white checkers, nothing says picnic like a blanket on the ground. In reality though, this 1975 country hit is actually about a more adult type of picnic… it’s sung from the perspective of a middle-aged woman who convinces her hesitant husband to make love outdoors in the moonlight.

Bob Dylan – Forever Young

When I think about picnics, I also think about family reunions, conversations and laughs over paper plates of macaroni salad. So, what better way to enjoy a picnic than with this lovely song written in 1974 as a lullaby for Bob Dylan’s eldest son. “Forever Young” conveys the wishes and hopes that parents have for their children: May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung. 

The 5th Dimension – Stoned Soul Picnic

Tell you friends to hurry to the picnic because, as the 5th Dimension sings, There’ll be lots of time and wine, Red yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine. Gosh, that sure sounds like the type of picnic I’m looking for! Written by Laura Nyro and released by The 5th Dimension in 1968, this tune has a unique sound—a mixture of pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway that’s referred to as “champagne soul.” 

Paul Simon – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

This 1972 folk rock song is a playful and lighthearted tunne about two boys who have broken a law at the schoolyard. When “mama pajama” finds out, she goes to the police station to report the crime. This song makes me think of all the horsing around and tomfoolery that kids can get up to at a picnic when their parents aren’t looking. And the percussion in is very unique for American pop music since it was created with a Brazilian friction drum called a cuica, which is often used in samba music.  

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

The original song, a lament on a lost love released by Crystal Gayle in 1977 probably wouldn’t typically be thought of as an upbeat, outdoorsy picnic song, but this new rendition from Janis Siegel, John Di Martino and Lonnie Plaxico is anything but blue! These world-class musicians de-ranged the song a bit in their version, making it faster paced, and they also end the tune with a huge party that features Aaron Heick on clarinet. You won’t want to miss this wildly exciting and jazzy spin on the old country hit!

If you’re looking for more snazzy country tunes to play during a picnic, you might want to check out Night Is Alive’s newest album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” which features the vocals of Grammy-award-winner Janis Siegel, the piano of John Di Martino and the saxophone of Lonnie Plaxico! “Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available in our store right now. Or if you’d like to book one of our lovely musicians for your picnic, please contact us today.

4 Country Jazz Tunes to Celebrate National Beer Day

We all know about Oktoberfest in Germany, but did you know that the U.S. celebrates National Beer Day on April 7th? It commemorates the day in 1933 that the prohibition on selling beer was lifted. “I think this would be a good time for a beer,” President Roosevelt famously said upon signing the legislation.

A man in Virginia named Justin Smith first unofficially celebrated Beer Day in 2009 and since then it has gained official recognition by the state of Virginia and is toasted to by brew aficionados all over the country. 

Who wants to miss out on an excuse to drink and be merry? This Wednesday, go to the brewery or beer store nearest to you and pick up a growler of your favorite beer—whether that be an IPA, ale, lager or pilsner—and kick back with some friends in the backyard while listening to these folksy jazz tunes! 

Ray Charles – Oh, Lonesome Me

Partly inspired by his small southern hometown, Charles came out with the album Modern Sounds in Country Music in 1962, which was a groundbreaking fusion of genres. It was so successful that Charles came out with a second volume of country jazz music, from which comes this song, “Oh, Lonesome Me.” 

First written and recorded in 1957, this song is a fun, lighthearted lament of unrequited love that’ll pair well with a fruity, full-bodied amber ale! 

Willie Nelson – Georgia On My Mind

From his 1978 album, Stardust, comes this brilliant reinvention of the popular Ray Charles song, “Georgia On My Mind.” Nelson’s rendition features harmonica solos, which really adds that country flavor. Grab a piney IPA and enjoy that hop flavor while you get lost in Nelson’s weather-beaten voice. 

Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler – There’ll Be Some Changes Made

In 1990, Chet Atkins, also known as “Mr. Guitar” and “The Country Gentleman,” joined forces with Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler to create the Grammy-award-winning album Neck and Neck. From this album comes the song “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” which is a country version of the jazz standard originally published in 1921. Listen to this friendly tune while drinking a classic long neck lager!

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – He Stopped Loving Her Today

Named in several surveys as the greatest country song of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was released in 1980 by George Jones. When vocalist Janis Siegel first heard the song, she was struck—the story simply grabbed her and inspired her to collaborate with John Di Martino and Lonnie Plaxico on this new jazzy rendition, featured in their 2021 album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey.” The ambiguous lyrics and Siegel’s lovely voice make it a perfect song to pair with a smooth, golden pilsner!

If you’re looking for some more country jazz tunes to create the best beer-drinking ambience, look no further. “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” the newest release from Night Is Alive, features many country classics, like “Always On My Mind,” “Break it to Me Gently” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” all with a funky jazz twist. “There’s nothing out there like this,” said Kathy Salem, the Producer and Managing Director. “I wanted this music to be accessible by all.”

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available in our store right now and on all major music platforms! 

Friday Feature Janis Siegel #2

What are your plans this weekend? Hopefully it includes getting to know the remarkably talented Janis Siegel! 

You would probably recognize Siegel’s silky voice from the swinging hits of The Manhattan Transfer, like “Boy From New York City” and “Operator,” but did you know that she also has a widely successful solo career and a reputation as a vocal arranger?

Siegel wrote five of the charts for The Manhattan Transfer’s acclaimed masterwork, “Vocalese” and seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album “Brasil.” And in 1980, Siegel won a Grammy for her arrangement of “Birdland”! All of this creative work led to Siegel receiving an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music in 1993 and induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. 

But Siegel didn’t stop there! She also branched out on her own to release multiple solo albums, including “An Experiment in White” and “At Home,” which earned her a Grammy nomination in 1987 for the Best Female Jazz Vocal. And over the years, Siegel has been adventurous in her collaborations with a diverse array of musicians, such as jazz pianist Fred Hersch, Turkish modern classical composer Ilhan Mimaroglu and Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana. 

Now, Night is Alive is proud to release Janis Siegel’s latest genre-bending collaboration with pianist John di Martino, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and saxophonist Harry Allen. “Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is an album that fuses country western and jazz music to create a delightful twist on many classics, like “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Whether you turn on this album during a backyard barbeque, dinner party with friends or a relaxed evening alone on the front porch, these tunes will imbue your life with a soothing, yet energetic sweetness. 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available at https://nightisalive.com/portfolio/cryin-in-my-whiskey/

and all major online music platforms. 

#JanisSiegel #CryinInMyWhiskey #jazz #feature #musician #vocalist #singer #NightisAlive #countrywestern #album #TheManhattanTransfer #crossgenre

We were lucky enough to sit down with this accomplished musician and ask her a few questions about her career. If you’re an aspiring musician, artist or performer, you’ll definitely want to read what Siegel has to say. 

  • Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for young musicians?
    • LISTEN. Learn the business aspect of music, work every day on something related to your craft and be persistent. 
  • What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?
    • Getting back to travel and a vibrant work schedule.
  • What is your favorite tune from “Cryin’ In My Whiskey”?
    • This week, it is “Where Do I Put His Memory.”

And what about you? What are you looking forward to doing most in the coming months? Comment below!

Friday Feature Janis Siegel #1

Happy Friday! 🥳  Kick back and relax this weekend by reading our Friday Feature about the lovely Grammy-award-winning vocalist Janis Siegel. 

Siegel’s smooth and unmistakable voice can be heard on Night is Alive’s brand new album “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” which is a unique cross-genre collaboration that brings together the very best of country western and jazz music. Featuring modern renditions of classics like Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” and “I Fall to Pieces,” this album is a perfect way to welcome the sunny weather and enjoy the many social gatherings to come! You won’t want to miss it! 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available at https://nightisalive.com/portfolio/cryin-in-my-whiskey/ and all major online music platforms. 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Siegel was exposed to the music business at a young age, singing with an all-girl pop trio and releasing two singles by the time she was 12! Siegel lived and breathed pop, country and folk music, that is until 1975 when she joined the Manhattan Transfer and was introduced to swing, which opened her eyes to more musical possibilities. The Manhattan Transfer went on to explore many different genres during their 35-year-long career, including a cappella, vocalese, standards, Brazilian jazz, R&B and pop. And in 1981, The Manhattan Transfer was also the first group ever to win Grammy Awards in both Pop and Jazz categories in the same year! 

Night Is Alive was lucky enough to sit down with this world-famous, genre-blending star and ask her a few questions about her taste in music:

  • Besides jazz, what genres of music do you like to listen to?
    • I listen to everything: classical, modern classical, opera, world music, country, bluegrass, alternative, blues, Yiddish music, funk, pop, R&B and gospel. What did I miss… ? I guess disco and rap… I do like some rap, too! 
  • Who are some other musicians that inspire you?
    • John Coltrane, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Ella Fitzgerald
  • What is your favorite tune from “Cryin’ In My Whiskey”?
    • This week it is “Where Do I Put His Memory.” (Originally released by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1975)

Wow, Siegel has quite an eclectic taste in music! How about you?

What are your favorite genres and musicians? Comment below! 

What do Poetry and Jazz Have in Common?

In honor of World Poetry Day this Sunday, March 21st, we decided to explore the connections between these two art forms. 

When you think about poetry, you probably think about nature and love, rhyme scheme and metaphor, rhythm and imagery. William Wordsworth, Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. You probably think about the beautiful but perplexing language that takes a few reads to really sink in. Or maybe you think about those poems and stanzas that have changed your life—those words that are seared into your memory forever and those afternoons spent sprawling on a blanket in a park, taking turns reciting love poems with your sweetheart. 

When you think about jazz music, you probably think of smooth saxophones, energetic pianos and moody lyrics. Sultry vocals, energetic horns and forceful rhythms. Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald. Maybe you think about dancing and swinging at a jazz club (before the pandemic, of course), or relaxing after a stressful day, reclining in your favorite chair or soaking in a bubble bath and listening to some heartfelt tunes. 

There are actually not many concrete differences between the two forms of artistic expression. While reading poetry is often a solitary activity and not something commonly done at a party, it still can be performed in public, at cafes and bars, like jazz. Although some poetry can be free verse, with no rhyme scheme or rhythm, about two-thirds involve a strong rhythm, like jazz. And both poetry and jazz enrich our understandings of the world by reaffirming our shared humanity through beauty, feelings and questions. Let’s take a more in-depth look at these similarities.  

They both have origins in oral traditions

The earliest poetry is believed to have been sung, as a method of remembering important oral histories, genealogies and laws. The rhythmic and repetitious nature of poetry made it much easier to remember and retell long stories before writing became available. The earliest poetry actually existed in the form of chants and hymns and was considered a verbal art, not a literary art like it is today. 

A signature component of jazz music is the call and response, which originates from Sub-Saharan African cultures. At public meetings, religious rituals and musical gatherings, the call and response served as a pattern of democratic participation and thus made its way, through enslaved Africans, to the 1920s African American jazz scene. 

They both usually have strong rhythms

Poetry can be broken down into three main verses: formal, blank and free. Formal and blank both involve a strict meter, which is a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that determines the rhythm of the poem. Think of the iambic pentameter in the Shakespearean sonnets, such as “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” The first word is unstressed, the second is stressed and so forth. 

Jazz involves rhythms ranging from simple to complex that always include a basic underlying beat to which we tap our feet. Syncopation is the main rhythmic feature of jazz, which displaces beats or accents so that the stronger beats become weaker and vice versa. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it…?

How poetry and jazz have come together

The similarities between poetry and jazz became apparent to poets like Langston Hughes during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. Poets began writing poems that responded to and wrote about jazz music. They coined the term “jazz poetry,” which encompasses a range of forms, rhythms, sounds and improvisations. To give you a better idea of jazz poetry, here are a few lines from Hughes’s poem “The Weary Blues:” Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon. The popularity of jazz poetry continued throughout the Beat movement and the Black Arts Movement and is still alive today. 

How Night is Alive is bringing poetry and jazz together

Many of the songs featured on the albums produced by Night is Alive include lyrics and rhythms that are quite poetic. On the newly released album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” Janis Siegel and John Di Martino create a lovely rendition of Willie Nelson’s classic hit, “Always on My Mind.” The evocative lyrics rhyme beautifully: Girl I’m sorry I was blind / You were always on my mind. 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available right now in our store. Check it out!  

4 Swinging Jazz Standards for Singles

Valentine’s Day is here again and you know what that means. Retailers and every couple that you know might want to cover everything with flowers, cards, candy, stuffed animals and every sappy sentiment in existence.

In the middle of a pandemic, give those folks a pass. We all could probably use a little extra sweetness right now. So, to cover all of the bases, we’re going to show the single people out there some love by sharing some great tunes for parties of one. Why? Because you deserve to be celebrated just as much as anyone else does.

If you’re taken, you can find songs to woo your boo here. But if you’re riding solo, here are four songs to make Singles Awareness Day, Valentine’s Day or any day special.

Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane – “Someday My Prince Will Come”

If you’ve been navigating the world of dating apps and friend hookups with no luck — yet — you probably understand Snow White’s sweet song for the person of her dreams. “Someday My Prince Will Come” was written in 1937 by Larry Morey (lyrics) and Frank Churchill (music). It was first performed by Adriana Caselotti who voiced Snow White in Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Miles Davis’ version came along in 1961 on his seventh studio album that was also titled, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” While the Disney version of the song is magical in an animated way, Davis’ version is suited for a modern single person who might be longing to meet that special someone — but they still wouldn’t change a thing about their current situation.

Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Corcovado/”Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”

Jobim wrote this bossa nova classic in 1960. The song is a tribute to Corcovado Mountain which looms over Rio de Janeiro and is home to the magnificent Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer statue. While Jobim is known for his dreamy, tender and romantic songs, his pieces perfectly capture the Brazilian concept of “saudade,” which is a happy-sadness that turns into a sad-happiness.

Since its creation, “Corcovado” has been recorded by artists like Miles Davis, Charlie Byrd, Sérgio Mendes, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Mary Wilson, Queen Latifah and Astrud Gilberto. While the context of the lyrics speaks to someone changing their outlook on life because they found love, the same can apply to singles. Because if you love yourself, then it’s kind of hard to think that life stinks.

Andreas Varady featuring Gregory Porter – “Let the Good Times Roll”

Twenty-three-year-old jazz guitarist, Andreas Varady, is kind of an old soul. At the age of 13, he became the youngest headlining artist at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. A year later (2012), he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he managed to get Quincy Jones’ attention. A few months later, Jones signed Varady to his management company.

Since he’s been on the scene, Varady has worked with a wide variety of well-known musicians. His cover of Louis Jordan’s swinging party anthem, “Let the Good Times Roll.” is a great reminder to live life to the fullest regardless of what’s going on. And with Gregory Porter serving some party booster realness on the track, this song is bound to put you in a celebratory mood anytime.

The Lorca Hart Trio featuring Ralph Moore – “Introspection on the 401”

A lot goes on during our days — random interactions, work issues, family obligations or friendship duties. And yes, bad dates sometimes work their way in every now and then. Sometimes, we just want to be able to unwind and decompress after the day’s events. Well, “Introspection on the 401” is the perfect tune to do just that.

Released in 2020 by The Lorca Hart Trio featuring Ralph Moore, this gorgeous tune is wonderful to listen to after those “what the hell just happened?” moments or during your wine (yes, wine) down sessions on the couch. And don’t just stop at that one song. Check out the full album titled “Colors of Jazz,” to discover even more tunes to help you relax and enjoy those quiet, blissful moments alone.

What Do Country and Jazz Have in Common?

What Do Country and Jazz Have in Common?

You’d be surprised, but these two genres actually have some similarities

When you think about jazz, you probably think about the greats jamming in clubs or at festivals way back before we all knew about the coronavirus. Jazz is horns, drums, pianos and strings. lt’s also smooth, sultry, deep, moody and sometimes celebratory. When you want to relax and unwind after a crazy day, you pour yourself a glass of your drink of choice, find a cozy spot and lose yourself in all of your favorite swinging and bopping tunes.

When you think about country music, you probably hear fiddles, banjos, guitars and lyrics that talk about heartbreak, hometown pride or just kicking back and having a good time. It’s hard to paint country music as just one thing. Now, there are so many different subgenres. So for those who swear that they don’t like country music, if they dig a little deeper, they’ll probably find something that will get their heads nodding and their toes tapping.

The differences between these musical styles are quite obvious. Jazz reflects the urban experience, while country gives you a taste of rural life. Jazz tends to be more instrumental with intricate harmonies. Country music spotlights vocals and the melodies are pretty straightforward. But despite the noticeable differences, country music and jazz music have a few common threads.


They both originated in the South

Many people consider New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz. It’s believed that jazz music was born from the African dance and drumming traditions of former slaves back in the 1880s. Around this time, a number of brass bands started popping up. Those brass bands and a growing interest in syncopated music gave way to ragtime and ragtime gave way to New Orleans-style jazz.

Early recordings of country music date back to 1910, but the genre started garnering more attention in the 1920s. The first recordings were of Southern Appalachian fiddle players. Once it started to gain traction in the U.S., country music was referred to as a “Southern phenomenon” when it was introduced to the world. 


African traditions influenced both

As mentioned earlier, jazz was rooted in the traditions of former slaves. While the current landscape of country music doesn’t appear to be very diverse, when the genre originated, it embraced the sounds and styles of various immigrant cultures. But instruments like the banjo were actually an African influence. The banjo is a derivative of a West African lute. Lutes were constructed from gourds that slaves brought to the U.S. Not only did they play a significant role in slave music, but they also became popular in Southern culture — mainly through minstrel shows and blackface performances. As for country music, it’s believed that many of the early songs came from black sources. They were either field songs, spirituals, hymns or taken from black songwriters.

How jazz and country came together

Despite the genre becoming more segregated, there were times when country artists did collaborate with jazz musicians of color. One example is a 1929 collaboration between Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” and Louis Armstrong called “Blue Yodel Number 9.”

Country and jazz also got another chance to mingle thanks to the creation of a new subgenre — Western swing music. This fusion of country and jazz became popular in the Southwest and Bob Willis was known for adding horns and jazz musicians to his Texas Playboys which allowed them to diversify their sound. So instead of just playing country fiddle standards, the band could handle rhumbas and big band tunes as well.

Ray Charles took on country music in the 60s with his album “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.” Charles didn’t do this on a whim. He grew up listening to country music and even played in a country band when he was a teenager. He appreciated the genre and it paid off because the album did quite well.

Willie Nelson jumped into the world of jazz with his 1978 album, “Stardust.” The album featured covers of songs by Hoagy Carmichael, George and Ira Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Nelson’s neighbor at the time, Booker T. Jones of Booker T & the MGs, produced “Stardust” and served as music supervisor and arranger as well.

How Night is Alive is bringing country and jazz together

It’s no secret that Night is Alive Producer/Managing Director Kathy Salem loves jazz music. However, country music has her heart as well. So it was only natural for her to come up with a concept that melds together her two loves.

“Crying In My Whiskey” brings these two genres together in a way that still preserves the essence of the nine country tunes featured on the album. The musicians who retell these stories are John di Martino (piano), Janis Siegel (vocals), and Lonnie Plaxico (bass). Saxophonist Harry Allen is also featured on one of the tunes.

The album showcases country hits like “Always On My Mind,” “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “I Fall To Pieces” and “Where Do I Put His Memory.”

Stay tuned for the album release date and more from Night is Alive!
www.nightisalive.com/albums