Category Archives: Jazz

Soul of My Voice

I am pleased to announce that my newest book, Soul of My Voice, is now available at and This text was written as a workbook/journal to accompany my first book, Soul of Voice published in 2016. However, Soul of My Voice is just as effective as a stand alone book, chuck full of essays, poems, quotes, photos, writing prompts and mandalas. Happy reading (and writing, and coloring, etc.)!!

Happy Birthday Lady Day

Billie Holiday

“You can’t copy anybody & end with anything. If you copy, you’re working without any real feeling.”  Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Perhaps no other jazz singer in the history of American music expressed the very depths of her emotions so completely than Lady Day, otherwise known as Billie Holiday. She was a brilliant musician; her improvisation skills were unique to her and to her life’s story. Most importantly, however, was her ability to convey the pain of her broken heart and soul in such a way that people were somehow made cleaner by her purging vocalizations. I don’t think a person has to have a tragic life to feel or express pain, but I do believe that an expressive vocalist needs to somehow tap into their feelings with daring and fierceness. This is what Billie Holiday was able to accomplish and why over 50 years since her death we still are moved by her vocal stylizations and the bold interpretations of her heart.

Remembering Nina Simone


Today is Ms Simone’s birth date, and I think of her with great respect and admiration. She had a powerful contralto voice and superb mastery of the piano–one of those girl singer-pianists from my youth whose presence encouraged me to keep performing and keep studying no matter what. She dealt with her Bipolar as best she could for the times, and rather than dwell on her issues, Nina Simone instead ran with the torch of civil rights and freedom of person(s).  Thank you Nina for your gifts and for your perseverance.


I’m A Jazz Singer, She Replied

by James A. Emanuel

He dug what she said:                                                                                                             bright jellies, smooth marmalade                                                                                 spread on warm brown bread.

“Jazz” from drowsy lips                                                                                                 orchids lift to honeybees                                                                                       floating on long sips.

“Jazz”: quick fingerpops                                                                                               pancake on a griddle-top                                                                                                     of memories.          Stop.

“Jazz”: mysterious  as                                                                                                   nutmeg, missing fingers,                                                                                               gold,      Less serious.

“Jazz”: cool bannister.                                                                                                       Don’t need no stair.                                                                                                               Ways to climb                                                                                                                     when the sax is there.