I spent most of the past 20 years in Southern California. I’ve been playing my music, touring and doing a lot of educational outreach. I didn’t have time to cook and most of my social life was on the gig. Over the years, my musical colleagues have become my good friends. We looked forward to playing together, hanging out, and inspiring each other. If I had time off, I went to go hear them on their own gigs. It was a blast.
Then, I fell in love. REALLY fell in love. The kind of love that makes you re-evaluate where you are in your life and what’s important to you. My love is Danish and living in Denmark. See what I mean about re-evaluating? For the first time in my life, I decided to make my private life the priority instead of my career.
I got married and moved to Denmark in Oct 2011. The past year has been an amazing ride: New home life (including 2 amazing teen-age bonus kids), new culture, new language, cooking, and meeting my Scandanavian branch of the jazz family. (There are a lot of stories embedded within each of those areas!)
Embarking on the new adventure, I was excited to see how my new life would influence me and my music making. I’ve met, heard, and played with many wonderful musicians. I’ve eaten curried herring, frikadeller (Danish meatballs), æblekage (applesauce w. layers of crispy stuff and topped with whipped cream) and a lot of cream sauce. I’ve watched a lot of soccer. I’ve gone for bike rides in the woods and experienced everything from rain showers to wild deer leaping (like The Matrix) over my path. I’ve made a lot of new friends and I can even speak quite a bit of Danish. It is a life I never expected, but I’m really glad to have it.
Besides the extra pounds residing on my hips and a new membership to Fitness World, what kind of influence is my new Danish life have on my music? I don’t know yet. That is to come…probably in the next year or so.
Right now, I’m back to my friends and family. I’m reconnecting with my love of the music and the people who first inspired me and helped me grow. I remember how I felt hearing Ray Brown’s groove for the first time, deep in my soul. It’s like putting on a new pair of tennis shoes when you’re a kid. All you want to do is run and jump because you have the joy and the tools to do it. Hearing Ella Fitzgerald for the first time was a little freaky (scat singing Lemon Drop) and exhilarating at the same time.
What’s Your Story is about being with your friends and having a good time. It’s about your buddy hipping you to a song you haven’t heard before and you freak out because it is what you need right then. It’s about the joy of living and being vulnerable. It’s about tapping your feet and bobbing your head. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the music, but it isn’t meant to be intellectual. It’s honest and heartfelt.
Be a kid again. Put on those new shoes and run. Put on the new dress and twirl. Press play and let your heart be moved. It just feels right.