Ann-Thology Number Nine
Season's greetings to you at this magical time of year. I hope, in the hustle bustle of all that you are doing, that you are giving yourself some time to enjoy the company of your friends and family and count your blessings. We live in uncertain times, but there is so much grace that supports us. This seems to be a time when the whole world comes together, reflecting on the hope for peace and the wish for love and understanding amongst us all. It is a time when many of us try to rekindle our dedication to living more meaningful lives. Yes, we are busy scurrying to buy presents, send out cards and decorate trees, but while we do, we are gently reminded by the songs of the holidays of what is important and beautiful in each other.
As I reflect on a year that seems to have gone by at the speed of lightning, I am struck by how extraordinary my meetings have been in each of the cities I have visited. No matter where I have traveled, I have met warm- hearted, enthusiastic and fascinating people. I have discovered rich talents, engaging imaginations and generous spirits. And while I am proud to make my home in New York City, I am happily reminded that talent and greatness are sprinkled lavishly all over the planet.
I'm grateful to have had a chance to contribute to the joyous sounds of the season. My holiday CD "This Christmas" has just been re-released on N-Coded/ After 9 Records. The reviews have been wonderful. One critic from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette went so far as to say "This is arguably the finest Christmas CD ever released by a vocalist." The disc contains lovely and lively arrangements of standards and Ann-dards by Alan Broadbent, John Clayton and Jeremy Lubbock and duets with two of my favorite singers, Kenny Rankin and my sister, Liz Callaway. Folks can get a live preview of the record during my performances at The Jazz Standard in New York Dec. 17-22nd. (For more information, check out "Latest News" on this website.)
I'm also pleased to announce that the CD I recorded last year with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is finally available on their website www.phillypops.com. It's called "A Celebration of Christmas" and I got to perform five selections with them including my original "Christmas Lullaby" which Barbra Streisand features on her gorgeous, chart topping CD "Christmas Memories." After performing this month at The Kimmel Center with Peter Nero, I have to say publicly that he is one of the most talented, brilliant and delightful artists I have had the honor of singing with. Now that we are both ICM clients, I hope we will have many more chances to tour together. Last of all, my beloved co-star of the Broadway show "Swing!", Everett Bradley, has just released an amazing Christmas album called "Toy." Everett got inspired after writing a special holiday song in honor of 9/11 and decided to do an entire CD of original songs with one soul searing performance with his mother on "Amazing Grace."
Here's how he works: Everett called me up and said, "Hey, girl, let's write a song in the morning and then record it the next night." So he came over with his drum and jammed with me at the piano that morning and out of the oven came "Sugar Cookies." When we went into the studio to record our confection, it was utter hilarity and joy. I want to warn you however, that there is more innuendo in this song and performance than there are fruitcakes and Christmas letters being mailed as we speak. How do you get his "Christmas album with attitude? Find it on everettbradley.com, broadwaycares.org, or CDBaby.com.
If you need one more idea for that loved one's Christmas stocking consider "Broadway Romances Manhattan." It's a wonderful collection of Broadway singers singing songs about the Gotham. Three of my favorite singers lend their Mama Mia-esque tones: Judy Kaye, Karen Mason and Louise Pitre. I had the pleasure of releasing a song I wrote with the talented Lindy Robbins called "7th Street and Avenue A." The CD is available at Virgin and other stores and can be purchased through broadwaycares.org.
I will be biding adieu to 2002 and saying hello to 2003 with Jack Everly and The Indianapolis Symphony. There are two performances on New Year's Eve and it promises to be an elegant, festive way to celebrate the night. Then I'm off to sunny Tucson to perform with Bob Bernhart and the Tucson Pops. January will also take me to "why-oh-why" Ohio to sing with the swinging Columbus Jazz Orchestra and then to Palm Beach to hold court for two weeks at The Colony.
While I'm on the road I will be working on writing songs and making arrangements for my upcoming CD "Swingin' Away the Blues" which I record in April and release this coming September on N-Coded/After Nine Records. If any of you have great blues and or swing songs you've always wanted to hear me sing, write to me on my "Guest Book" and let me know your ideas.
I am also preparing a mass mailing of the music video of "Let Us Be United," a song I composed the week of 9/11 based on a profound prayer from the Rig Veda, one of the oldest scriptures known to civilization.
I performed the song with The Siddha Yoga International Choir and Sonali Beaven, a five year old girl who lost her father Alan Beaven, one of the heroes aboard the United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania. In hopes of offering inspiration and blessings to the new year, I am sending the video form of the song to leaders and heads of state all over the world. If you have not yet heard or seen this performance, it is available at www.bookstore.siddhayoga.org. I know it is quite idealistic of me to hope that any of these leaders will hear the song, but when I did a similar mailing of another inspirational original, "At the Same Time," I received an amazing assortment of beautiful responses from leaders such as President Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Governor Mario Cuomo. One can only pray that the effort alone will be a blessing.
Well, my mom always says, "Less is more" even though I often feel that "more is not enough." So I will sign off for now. Thank you so much for being a part of my extended family. I look forward to seeing you, singing for you and hearing from you in the New Year.
May you be blessed with everything your heart hopes for. And may you join me in praying for peace on this beloved earth.