Hello Everyone!! HAPPY BELATED NEW
YEAR!!! There’s been so much happening since the last time I updated
you. I graduated from the Berklee College of music last month. I’m
officially done with school and I love the freedom. I will be doing an
artist in Residence series at Berklee starting next Tuesday (Jan 31st.)
The series is called the, "Multi-faceted bandleader” and covers topics from
creating a band, rehearsing the band, communicating to your audience, promoting
your music and touring. If any of you have kids at Berklee or friends
please encourage them to come contact me and come to this series!
In the beginning of
the New Year I was performing at the Iridium Jazz club in NY for two
nights. I’ve switched up the instrumentation of the Grace Kelly quintet
and we’ve been doing gigs with an incredible guitarist, Pete McCann who is so versatile
it blows my mind. I’ve been writing a lot of new works including
singer/songwriter type of music and experimenting with that. We’ve been
changing my set to include lots of new songs and as always my set list
continues to be very eclectic ;-)
I had the honor of being a special
guest at the National Endowment of Arts Jazz Masters Ceremony held at Rose Hall
in the Lincoln center building. I opened up the whole ceremony with Phil
Woods and the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis. We
played a ripping fast tune by Dizzy Gillespie called, "Things to come.”
You can check out a video of that night here! I’m on first thing!
It was such a beautiful thing to see
all of these jazz masters come together and laugh, smile and catch up with each
other. It was quite an honor for me. There were so many amazing musicians
there. Jack Dejohnette, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Sheila Jordan,
Jimmy Owens, Ornette Coleman, John Hendricks. There were probably about 30 Jazz
masters who had been previously awarded that were there. It was quite an
I’ve been working on lots of new
music in my laboratory in my room recently. I set up a couple recording
mics, hooked it into my computer and now I’m making tracks and experimenting
with different midi sounds mixed with voice and sax. It’s very exciting,
cool and addicting!!
I was also just in the recording studio
with my band last week to demo a lot of my new music. We just received
the roughs yesterday. It’s so exciting! It is always so exciting to
hear my new music in the studio! The feeling never gets old. I feel like
a little kid in a candy shop.
I’m heading off to the Washington DC
tomorrow to play at the Kennedy center with my band and Phil Woods. We’ll
be making a stop in NYC before we come home next week to mix some of the rough
demos. I can’t wait for you to hear them!
Today was a crazy day! It went from a
meeting in the morning to us running to Scullers to do a video shoot and on the
way I got a call from a radio station. I totally forgot I was suppose to be on
air doing an interview for and internet station in DC! I can’t believe I forgot
that, that never happens! It managed to all work out and I did the hour
interview (which was lovely), here’s the link, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cres-oneal/2011/06/30/grace-kelly-1.
and then I did the video shoot. I have to say, it was
quite a lot of talking ha-ha.
Later that night I was back at Scullers and was a
special guest with Al Vega (the legendary Boston pianist). Al Vega was celebrating
his 90th birthday and he still has the energy of a 20
year old. He has some type of youth formula don’t even understand!
He played a full 2 hours with like 14 musical guests and was still ready to
keep going. He’s quite a legendary pianist who played with all the
musical greats who passed through Boston throughout his career. He also
has been coaching Babe Ruth baseball for 54 years of his life and still does
it. Boy, he makes us all look bad ha-ha. He sounded better than
ever and I got to sing and play some classic standards with him. Quite a fun
night. Gatherings for Al are always packed and full of wonderful friendly
people. It def feels like a giant jazz family!