February 12, 2007

"An Old Soul Speaks"
by: Tabitha DeGruy

February 10, 2007

Billie Holiday sings "Strange Fruit" in the background and in my own way I find comfort in the sound of her voice. In actuality, my soul has always floated more towards music from an era I believe I was meant to be in. Many (my age) will find it hard to see eye to eye when I say artist such as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane are what made the world right for me. My family is comprised of music lovers, athletes and poets. But, the one thing we all had in common was a great love of music. Every family party was filled with great food and even greater music. Before I was born my mother and aunt Diana love and lived to be singers. They were called "The Sugar Lumps" and traveled all over meeting and working with stars like Tina Turner. My family was and will always be big on music from Earth Wind and Fire, The Commodores, Heatwave, and too many more to name.

It was my aunt Cheryl who formally introduced me to Old Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra). My Grandfather was in love with his music, but at that age I only cared about going outside to play. It was hanging with her that I truly had the opportunity to feel what Mr. Sinatra was all about. It wasn't very long before I was in love and I do mean in love in the literal sense. His voice wrapped around my heart and never let go for one second.

It was Cheryl again who introduced me to Miss Billie Holiday. I don't even think she realized what was happening as I sat with her to watch a PBS special featuring Miss Holiday. She looked so sad and alone, so I asked Cheryl what was wrong with her. She told me in these exact words "that bitch is high!" She then explained a great deal of Miss Holidays' troubles and I then understood why she could sing of sorrow and make it sound sweet. Not sweet as in her pain was glorified, but in a way we all could relate and bond. We all go through crap in life and she expressed hers the only way she knew how. I'm no stranger to obstacles, but hearing Miss Holiday sing "God Bless The Child" made me feel like everything would be okay. You know what? She was right.

Being a poet has a great deal to do with my love for jazz, because I feel they mesh together like silk. The first jazz artist I truly took an interest in was Miles Davis, but as I got older I was introduced to many of the earlier greats. The movie "Love Jones" came out and I damn near lost my mind! What poet didn't fall head over heels for "Love Jones?" Watching Lorenz Tate flex his poetic beauty made it even greater. I heard a musical piece in that movie titled "In A Sentimental Mood" and was completely in awe. This song took me back to when dances were held in ballrooms and everyone was dressed in their very best. I've written many of my love pieces to this one song, because I could not help but to be inspired by this work of art.

Now here we are in 2007 and I turn on the radio and want to jump out of my skin. To me hip-hop is a lost art. I feel the artist of today are totally not getting what the True hip hoppers were about. Every artist wants to rap about who they killed, sexed or how much they have and own. Singers want to talk about sex, sex and more sex. It's discouraging and distasteful to those of the past and those artist of today who are struggling to bring the true art of music back. Granted we can find peace in the talent of artist such as John Legend, India Arie, Jill Scott, The Fugees (we need them back now) and Ms. Whitney Houston(say what you want she is pure greatness).

In doing my show I found that there are thousands of artist out there who truly want to sing about something of substance. This show has given me hope that one day we will no longer be force fed filth and depleted lyrics. Hearing artist such as Shenole Latimer (Jazz Musician) remind me of Mr. John Coltrane and listening to the soulful sounds of Mike Hammond (R&B Singer) can lead any female to compare him to the great Luther Vandross. I could go on and on, but the list would never end.

John Legend sings in the background now and I smile as I wrap this up. If I could go back in time I would just to stand before Miss Holiday, Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane and all of the great ones who knew how to present "true music." I would thank them for giving me a place to go when life became too chaotic. I would tell them how I appreciate the talent in which, they possessed.

I'm grateful that God gives us all special talents. I'm even more grateful that many wish to share their talent and love of music with us. Especially, the ones that have crossed my path within the past two years and the ones to come. True music without passion equals crap and I for one have had my fair share of crap. A new dish is being served up and I hope you all will join me in this harmonious feast.

Tabitha aka SunShyne

February 09, 2007

SOJP; Valentine's Day Show
"For Lover's Only"


Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme.

Lyric is a category of poetry that expresses subjective thoughts and feelings, often in a songlike style or form.

The Wonderful Women of Jazz

1. Karyn Allison - "Everytime We Say Goodbye"
2. Billie Holiday - "Fine and Mellow"
3. Sarah Vaughan - "He's My Guy"
4. Diana Krall - "I'm Just A Lucky So and So"
5. Etta James - Medley; "At Last, Trust In Me, Sunday Kind Of Love"
6. Gloria Lynne - "I'm Glad There Is You"
7. Diane Schuur - "Funny, But I Still Love You"
8. Nancy Wilson - "All In Love Is Fair"
9. Anita O'Day - "Tenderly"
10. Lena Horne - "More Than You Know"
11. Nnenna Freelon - "Come Into My Life"
12. Nancy Wilson - "How Glad I Am"

The Magnificent Men of Jazz

1. Andy Bey - "Prelude To A Kiss"
2. Arthur Prysock - "I Worry Bout You"
3. Little Jimmy Scott - "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You"
4. Peter Cincotti - "The Girl For Me Tonight"
5. Tony Bennett - "My Foolish Heart"
6. Joey DeFrancesco - "They Say It's Wonderful"
7. Bigtrigger - Poem; "Visions Of You"
8. Lou Rawls - "Sophisticated Lady"
9. Joe Williams - "Everyday, I'll Fall In Love With You"
10. Johnny Hartman - My One And Only Love"
11. Little Jimmy Scott - "Someone To Watch Over me"
12. Harry Connick, Jr. - "Only You"
13. Michael Feinstein - "My Funny Valentine"