Art is a gift to be received and shared and comes in many many forms. Paint, Cook, Travel, Poetry... you name it, if you're sharing creative energy, that's an Art. ~Steph

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I've Got The Blues!

For me the past year has been so many things I can't list them. Educational, musical, heart wrenching, happy, sad, inspiring, life changing... but all of those things have added up to experiences that I will never forget or regret. One of my favorite things is the fact that I have met and interviewed some amazing Artists and Legends of Blues. Last year I met and interviewed Legend Jimmy McCracklin who brought us 'The Walk' and 'The Drag' among many other hits. This started me on my path to interview and share as many Legends of Blues as I could. Through meeting these creative energies I have learned more about life, love, dedication and music than I ever imagined I would.

Me and Jimmy McCracklin 2010
Since that meeting I've worked with and interviewed some fabulous people with histories that we could only imagine. Not all good, some grueling. But whatever, these people have remained true to their passion and dreams. And that in my eyes makes them worth every second of life.


I remember as a child hearing 'respect your elders!' In fact, I used to hear it all the time when I was a child. As an adult, not so much. Times have changed and certainly the respect levels have changed in a lot of the younger generation. Not a knock on them, just truth. Unfortunately many of the values that used to be so important have been lost to the times. But I believe that through education and information some can learn just how important it is to remember and hold high those that came before us, those that paved the way, and those that are still paving the way. Which is why I love the Blues generation! Blues seemed to be born out of pain. But they are also born out of passion, energy and love. There are many definitions of the word Legend. But to me a Legend is one who has 'lived and gived' LOL seriously. Someone who has experienced their dreams through living, life, pain and love. Someone who has spent a life working passionately to not only create the energy that keeps them moving, but moves us all. I give props! I give props! And Respect and I thank all of those who have shared their history and passion with all of us. To hear my interviews with these musical marvels such as Ted Wysinger, Bobby 'Hurricane' Spencer, Steve Gannon and more check out my Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/steph-jordan


(Wikipedia) Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.-- The term "the blues" refers to the "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness.

These pics were taken at 'Bisquits and Blues' in San Francisco at Jimmy McCracklin's 90th Birthday Party where he did take to the stage and play and sing as he always has, with passion and a love for what he does. Life is Good!!!

video


Monday, August 1, 2011

Diva Joan Cartwright

Introducing The Diva, Joan Cartwright. With a lifetime of music rich history this lady brings her energetic spirit to Living In Color to share with you!

Hi Joan. Let’s start with some history. Where were you born and raised? 

I was born Joan Renée Cartwright, on December 7, 1947, at Kew Gardens Hospital, NY, raised in the Bronx, until I was three, when we moved to an attached, three-story home on Inwood Street, in South Ozone Park, Queens, NY.

What were you like as a child? Did you sing a lot then?

Yes! When I was four, I began dancing lessons with Bernice Johnson Dance School just off of Sutphin Boulevard and Liberty Avenue, in Jamaica, NY. At five, Bernice gave Mom the sheet music to “Somebody Loves Me” with two sets of lyrics – English and French. Mom loved French, so she taught me both lyrics and, at our recital, that year, I sang the song at the Lowe’s Theater on Hillside Avenue for the large crowd of parents and attendees. By eight, I was featured in nine routines. The most memorable was with a little boy singing, “Walking My Baby Back Home.” Our costumes were gorgeous. I wore a white dress in that routine with a crinoline underskirt. The other outfit I loved had black, shiny streamers on the spandex body suit that we used for our interpretive routine. I there for four years and dancing school was the formation of my performance career. Bernice’s husband, the infamous saxophonist Budd Johnson would keep me at their home, until Bernice picked me up for class. He’d take me to the basement, where he practiced. Photos of famous musicians lined the staircase walls. He’d play his saxophone and, when I was 27, I realized THAT’s how I learned how to scat!

From eight to 13, I sang in the choir at St. Clement Pope Catholic Church. I attended the school and played tenor drum and glockenspiel in the marching and maneuvering band. We were State Champions one year and we marched in the Puerto Rican Day Parade up 5th Avenue. When I went to Bishop McDonnell High School in Brooklyn, I was in the Glee Club and Theater Ensemble, where I played Elisa Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.”

Was there musical influence in your family?

My father loved classical and jazz music, while my mother preferred finger-poppin’ R&B and Soul music.
Other than greatly appreciating music, my father didn’t play any instrument. Mom played a little piano and we had one in our basement in Queens. She loved to sing, though, and she and I often engaged in our own personal operas. She’d be in the basement, where we had our brightly lit, yellow-painted kitchen, and I’d be upstairs dusting or making up the beds. She would sing out, “Oh, Renée!” and I’d reply, “Oh, Ma Maaaaaa!” We had a lot of fun singing back and forth to each other.

Who were your Artistic influences and what music did you listen too?

Dad owned so many albums that he played on our ebony wood Grundig Stereo. There were records of Ella, Sarah, Billie, Carmen, Nancy Wilson, Morgana King, Sally Green, then, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, all the greats! And my favorite pastime was to turn all the lights out at night and listen to these records by the tiny, white light on the front of the huge stereo cabinet. By the age of 12, I knew the lyrics to every song the singers recorded, including Lush Life, ‘Round Midnight, All of Me, Satin Doll, all the standard tunes of the 40s and 50s were in my little head.

When you sat and thought about ‘what you wanted to be when you grew up’ what did you think?

Always, I wanted to be a singer. That’s all I ever wanted to be, except that I had a dream of being a mother and wife. I married very young, at 16. I was pregnant with my son and gave birth to Michael, six months before I married his father. At 18, I had my daughter, Michele (Mimi). It was good that I had my children young because by 43, I began touring in Europe and my children were grown.

What was your first experience singing in front of an audience?

I was four, performing in recital with the Bernice Johnson Dancing School Ensemble. I was captivated by the footlights!
 
video 
'Nobody's Husband by Diva Joan Cartwright
Photos: Steph Jordan
When did you publish your first song and what agency were you with?

My first published song was “Sweet Return”, an instrumental recorded by Freddie Hubbard and the Kool Jazz All-Stars of 1983. I played the piano piece at Philadelphia’s Robin Hood Dell, in Freddie’s dressing room. He made me play it 25 times! Joe Sample came into the room and Freddie said, “Play it for Joe.” Then, he told Joe, “I’m taking her to the studio tomorrow to record this!” I almost fell off the stool in shock! And he did! At Atlantic Records Studio in NY, around 3 p.m. the next afternoon, he gave me $120 and told me to go around the corner to Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and open up my publishing house, which I did! I was with BMI for 23+ years, but decided, a couple of years ago, to change to ASCAP because I never got many royalties from BMI, although I filled out numerous publishing and writer’s forms, in Europe. I’m waiting to see if ASCAP will pay me royalties. By the way, Freddie took the publishing for “Sweet Return”, so I was only paid writer’s royalties all those years. But my song is his song book, making me the only other composer in the Freddie Hubbard Song Book besides him!

Do you write your own songs? Do you play any instruments?

I began writing lyrics and songs, in 1977, in Philadelphia, where I was enrolled at LaSalle College in the Music Department. I had a wonderful private piano teacher, Gerald Price, who taught me music theory, piano and vocal phrasing. He taught me how to write music and put the lyrics on the paper with the notes and chords. By the time I moved back to NY, in 1982, I’d written several songs. To date, I have written over 60 songs and have 41 published in the Joan Cartwright Song Book, available at www.lulu.com
 
What is your funniest or most unique experience as an Artist? Like when traveling or performing.

The owner of the Gerlafingerhof Hotel, where I lived for two years, in Switzerland, was owned and operated by the lead gay man (the Puff Mommy) of the region. He said, “Joan, I have a gig for you!” The money was right and all I had to do was sing two songs for 500 gay men at a huge hall outside of Berne, the capital. Onstage, was a tall aluminum ladder that was placed there for me to descend upon. I practiced with two muscular males, standing with their arms crossed, at the bottom (security?!*) But, nobody told me that, when I did the actual performance, there would be smoke clouds all around me!!! 

I sang, “I Am What I Am” and “I Will Survive.” These men clapped and stomped so hard that I was told to go back out on the stage and sing another song. I sang, “Think”, Aretha Franklin’s hit! Now, Stephano, the show’s coordinator told me, specifically, that I was only to sing TWO songs. So, when he insisted that I go out and sing a fourth song, I was flabberghasted! I sang my song, “Treat Me Right and You Don’t Have To Marry Me”, during which I also sing, “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On”, which is my signature song that I also make the whole audience sing, “Oh, Baby,” back and forth with me. 

Now, you would think all of that was enough. But nooooooooo! When I emerged from the dressing room, where I dried off from being dripping wet with sweat and changed my clothing, I met a 19-year-old Swiss boy who said, “You are great!!! But I have just one question.”
I stood there, waiting for the question and he queried, “Are you a man or a woman?”
After doubling over with laughter, I told him, “Baby, they don’t have this much silicon, in one place!”
I’ve told this story over and over and over again, to the amusement of many of my friends.


LOL That is funny Joan! How many CDs do you have and where can we find them?

I have two CDS: “Feelin’ Good” recorded in 1995, in Catania, Sicily, co-produced by my pianist Giovanni Mazzarino with Nello Toscano on bass, Mimmo Cafiero on drums and Oracio Maugeri on saxophone. This CD contains 11 tracks, with four of my originals. It was first released on Tireno Records in Milan, Italy, but the company went out of business, the next year and, when I returned to Florida, I repackaged it and released it under my own label - I AM Records, under my own publishing company, FYI Communications, Inc.

My sophomore CD, “In Pursuit of a Melody”, is a compilation of 15 tracks with seven originals and my lyrics to “A Night In Tunisia” by Dizzy Gillespie. It was compiled at our studio in Atlanta, GA, and released in 2005 on my own label, under my publishing company.

Also, on CDBaby is a two-song recording with my song “Love Translation”.
I produced the Women in Jazz South Florida Compilation CD Volume I, in January 2011, with 10 songs from 10 fabulous female composers, all of whom are member of www.wijsf.org
All three CDs are available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/jcartwright

Would you say your career is going the way you dreamed it would?

I have had a charmed life! My career took a marvelous turn in 1990, when I visited Europe for five weeks in the summer. First, I flew to Amsterdam, Holland, where I went to the North Sea Jazz Festival. There, I met members of the Lionel Hampton Band, who encouraged me to take the 10-hour train ride to Nice, France for the JVC Festival. I stayed there two days and got to see the Hampton Band, the Basie Band, Miles Davis, George Benson, Etta James, Digable Planets, and T.S. Monk! That was a very good move. Then, I took another 10-hour train ride up to Montreux, Switzerland. That’s where the magic happened!
A Belgique woman, whom I met at a telephone booth at the Montreux Jazz Festival, latched on to me and followed me everywhere for the next three days. We wound up at the jam session at the Duke’s Bar of the Hyatt Hotel, where all the musicians gathered at night, after the festival concerts were done. I sat in and sang “Georgia” and “Summertime” and Cecil fell in love with my voice. Three days later, we were at the Janus Club of the fabulous Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland. I sang the same two songs with the piano duo who were booked there for the month of July. The manager Claude Gassette was sitting in a corner, talking with Cecil. The next thing I new, she had negotiated a $6,000 contract for me to sing there for the entire month of November with another pianist, Angelo Unia, from Cuneo, Italy. After our month was up, Angelo invited me to join him in Italy for some concerts. I never looked back. 

From June 1990 to September 1996, I toured eight European countries. In 1995, I sang for the Duke of Marlborough and the Duchess of Kent at their Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, England, for the fundraiser for the new Music School at Oxford University.

In 1993, a Sicilian drummer, whom I’d met in Switzerland, called my agent to ask if I would accept a contract to perform on the San Vito Jazz Festival, in Sicily. There, I met the pianist Giovanni Mazzarino, whom I toured with for four years and recorded my first CD, “Feelin’ Good”. We performed with his trio from Bolzano, on the German border of Italy, to Trieste in the eastern corner of Italy, to Milan, Rome, Calabria and all over the island of Sicily. Also, we did concerts on the islands of Lipari and Pantelleria. I received so much press, it was unbelievable. See this link: www.fyicomminc.com/jc-italy/index.htm
In Switzerland, I had the fortune of having a booking agent who booked me in beautiful hotels and restaurants all over the country. I performed two consecutive New Year’s parties at the Bellevue Hotel in Gstaad and was on the cover of that cities newspaper, as well as the cover of Jazz Times. I did a tour of the Spaghetti Factory chain and performed for the opening of the largest and most elegant Mövenpick Restaurant in Zurich. Also, I performed for one of the seven Presidents of Switzerland at the Classic Car Show in 1991, high up in the Alps.

You are quite a busy woman! You’ve traveled quite a bit.What is your favorite travel destination?

Taormina, Sicily and Bahia, Brazil.

Let’s talk about ‘Women In Jazz’ What is the organization about?
Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational organization that promotes women musicians, globally, through events, concerts, performances, clinics, lectures, workshops, articles, interviews, newsletters, courses, contacts, research, history, archives, websites, film, audio and video recording, and recognition.

You also write books. How many have you written?  They are all inspirational books aren’t they?

I’ve published nine books and have two more on the drawing board. The three poetry books: GaiaMind Poems, Rhythms of the Heart and The Moon, Sun Showers, Rainbows and Whipped Cream Clouds are inspirational. Two books are informative lectures: Amazing Musicwomen and So, You Want To Be A Singer? about The Business of Music. My history book is The History of African-American Jazz and Blues. The Joan Cartwright Song Book has 41 original songs, and Songs For My Children has four songs for kids. My first book is In Pursuit of a Melody, is an anthology of my memoirs, travels in Europe, 35 poems, 40 songs and the two lectures. All are in my bookstore at http://stores.lulu.com/divajc as soft and hard cover books, print-on-demand, downloadable and some ebooks. I’m compiling my 10th book Melodic Memories about my travels in Africa, Asia, South America, Mexico and the U.S.A., which should be published before the end of 2011. 

Also, I’ve written books for others:
Nate Perkins Live (an autobiography of Retired Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Perkins)
Reminiscing Harlem by Charles Mills (first manuscript)

Recetas de la Cocina de Mami y Papi Grinan by Sylvia Grinan (a cook book of Cuban recipes)

 
What inspirational words do you have to share with Artists working on their dreams?

Keep your dream close to your heart and your mind will know the answer.
While your soul plays the chords, your imagination can be the dancer.  --  Diva JC

Where can we find out more about you and your organization?
Thank you Diva Joan  so much for this interview. You are an inspiration and your energy is amazing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Artistically Speaking with Larry Hatfield


"I have always been drawn to visual art. However, it seemed so futile, uneconomic, unimportant, as the common sense voices said.  Without a living mentor/example, it was difficult to see a way forward. I have tried to deny it, to avoid it, even to give it up. At times, survival seemed all that I could manage. But I returned to art again, and again. Nothing else fits the expression of who I am."  Larry Hatfield



I met Larry Hatfield at a shoot for a Cable Show in the works. As I interviewed a guest I noticed that Larry, sitting on the other side of the studio was sketching and was impressed to see he had made great sketches of the guests I was interviewing.  As you know, Art immediately catches my eye and there you have it! 

  
Fountain at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Hi Larry. How are you?

Your work is beautiful. Very detailed and colorful watercolors.  I love the fact that I recognize many of the places you paint.

Where did you grow up?   
I grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, part of the Quad Cities, once the farm implement capital of the world, Weyerhauser started there bringing logs down the Mississippi until the dams and bridges went in. The first Railroad Bridge over the river was there. Where the Rock River and Hennepin Canal flow into the Mississippi. The home of Criminal, John Looney, who was portrayed in the movie "Road to Perdition".  They changed his name to Rooney. The last battle with Native Americans East of the Mississippi, The Blackhawk War, was near there. There was a large encampment of Sauk and Mesquakie in Rock Island 

Wow Larry. Thank you for that bit of education. I love it!  What were you like as a child?   
I played a lot outside with friends, caught crawdads in the creek, made bows and arrows and slingshots, climbed trees--we lived next to a large wooded area.

What were your creative activities as a child? 
Our neighborhood group of kids invented games, built tree-houses, underground houses that filled with water and spiders and were abandoned. After I had some art classes in school, I remember going out to draw on my own a few times. I remember watching my mother practice the Vibes in the living room (this was an influence that I recognized much later)

Do you remember if you thought “I’m an Artist” when you were young? 
No, I don't think I had a category of "Artist" in my brain to place myself into.  I didn't know anyone, hadn't heard of anyone, who was an artist. In high school I learned that a neighbor had gone to Paris to study painting, but he was a proprietor of a small neighborhood grocery, not a practicing artist.


What medium(s) do you like to work with most?   
I have always liked pencil, but the last three and a half years, I have been trying to learn to paint with watercolors.

What types of things inspire you to paint? 
Briefly I'll say that I am a Christian and I look at the landscape as God's Creation.  Which means that being creative is not random/accidental,  but in tune with the highest reality.  There is a great deal of diversity but also an order, kind of like Jazz with its improvisation but also with the standards. J. S. Bach would write J.J. and S.D.G in the margins of his compostions. Sometimes he spelled them out, Jesu Juva (Jesus Help), and Soli Deo Gloria (only God's Glory).

You’ve visited other Countries in the name of Art? Where have you been and what would you say is the difference between what you saw and learned there and here? 
I have traveled to Western Europe a few times.  My wife and I lived in London for about 18 months. I am not qualified as an art critic or historian. It seems that sometimes Americans have followed European trends and sometimes the other way. In general, I would say its more acceptable, legitimate, to be and artist in Europe than in America. There isn't much of a cultural space for artists here.  We are either very pragmatic, utilitarian, or celebrity oriented to see that painting is worth doing unless you can become a celebrity artist.

What is the Plein Air painting experience like for you? 
Plein Air, just means painting on site outdoors. It comes from the French "en plein aire"  if my French is right.  The gamut of color and light that is present in the outdoors can't be captured on camera. The color gamut of photography is considerably smaller, and commercially printed pictures are very much less full of the color of the creation.  The experience of being there encompasses everything you can think of, light, color, sound, weather, etc. and that is part of "seeing the place".  The challenges are that the light is always changing, shadows move, bugs crawl on you and the painting, birds bomb you. In Oregon, I had a squirrel perch above me and drop bark and pine cones on me while chattering away, protesting my presence.

Do you have other Artistic outlets?   
Right now I am concentrating on watercolor.  In the nearly 30 years that I was working full-time and couldn't paint or draw, or was too discouraged to. I found that growing flowers was like painting my yard with color. And coaching soccer had a satisfaction of seeing patterns and rhythms of combination of players with the ball.

 

Who are some of your favorite Artists? 
I'll have to limit this to painters, even then there are too many to list all. Most of what I like is representational. This may not be in chronological order, but here are some that come to mind: Albrect Durer, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Goya, Turner, Cole and the Hudson River School, Rouault, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth. Contemporary artists : Makoto Fujimura, John Taft, Michael Reardon (Oakland Watercolorist), Carol Aust www.carolaust.com and many others.

What is your opinion about the ‘State of Art’ right now? 
The "Art World" has lost direction. There is no more Avant Guarde rebelling against the Academy.  The ideas of Truth and Beauty and the link between them was abandoned by the philosophers some time ago and now everything drifts.  If anyone is interested in this, others are better than I am at analysing these culturals trends.  I just finished a book that I would recommend,  Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey.  She is a Christian woman who comes from that worldview. She is writing primarily to the church in general, but if you are not into church, you can still get a lot out of it because she does a great job of explaining what ideas lead to what trends in Art from the Enlightenment to now in Western Art. And she gives a framework for understanding how big ideas translate into visual art, and music, and other arts.

Do you sell your Art? 
Yes, at shows, galleries and open studios. I have one piece at the Richmond Art Center Member's Show now. At the end of July I am in the Benicia Art and Wine Festival with 2 other watercolor artists.

Do you have any inspirational words you can offer other Artists? 
I don't feel qualified to be a mentor, but all I know is that I was made to do this.  It took many decades for me to really know this for sure.  I tried to ignore it, abandon it, forget it, but I wasn't really happy or fulfilled by all the other things I did except in small ways that I could be creative in those roles.  So, if its in you, do it.

Where can we find out more about you and your Art? 
http://www.LarryHatfieldArt.com is my poorly maintained website--way out of date.  My more up-to-date 2011 Watercolor album of paintings on Facebook is here:  Larry Hatfield
People can get on my mailing list by emailing Larry.Hatfield@gmail and send an address or just indicate email only, and I will send 2 to 4 postcards (or just email)  a year about shows and exhibits where my work can be seen.

Thank you so much for this very eye opening and educational interview Larry. 
My pleasure Steph, thanks for your interest.
Larry Hatfield

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Stephanie Jordan, Diviacity

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