June 30, 1917 Happy Birthday Lena Horne!
There are a lot of versions of the song Stormy Weather but I’ve always loved Lena Horne’s. I usually don’t like vibrato in a jazz singer, but Ms. Horne uses it exactly right. She won a Grammy for the album it’s on!
I’ve played for tons of singers and usually singers have one singer they emulate — “you are what you listen to” — and back in my Sweetwater days there were a bunch of great jazz singers who came from the school of Lena Horne and who knew how to take it to the next level. One such great singer was Carmen Lundy. Check her out – I saw she’s going to be at the Blue Note in NYC. She’s amazing.
I’ve also worked with singers who just imitate and never get that they need to find their own voice.
Let’s talk about musicians in general. It seems to me that a musician’s personality is directly connected to their playing. A passionate person will play with passion, duh. Guys with insecurity problems will usually play too much. Obnoxious musicians, well you get the point. A lot of times now I will hire my musicians for a particular gig based on personality. Assholes need not apply.
I’m not sure where I fit in, and if I fit in to the asshole category, sorry ’bout that.
Here’s Stormy Weather for Lena Horne’s birthday!