On That Note ~ Finding Your Voice

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  ~ Steve Jobs

In jazz as with writing, voicing refers to a particular arrangement of the notes of a chord where harmonies color the tone.  Voice leading is when you get a succession of harmonic tones of the inner voices to form distinct melodic lines of their own or to move in a smooth stepwise motion.  When my doctor told me that I would need voice therapy because my right vocal cord is paralyzed, it reminded me of when dad was teaching how to sight sing.  Maybe I will be able to sing or scat like Ella Fitzgerald or Al Jarreau.  Voice therapy is really putting jazz into my everyday life.  It involves learning how to breathe and speak so that I will not strain the one working vocal cord I have.  This is exciting in the sense that I will be able to create my own style and to form a connection to the truth that resides in my heart.  Also, there is the opportunity to apply these techniques to enhance my writing voice.    I was fortunate to take a half hour voice lesson to become more engaged in reading my works.  I was with two cool poets and we surrounded the voice coach jumping up and down, breathing in a dramatic form, holding our tongues at the roof of our mouths and reading aloud, I sounded like Elmer in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.  The lady meter reader walked by the window and looked straight at us and smiled.  I am sure she has seen all kinds of things through that window.  So, here’s to taking something that has been put in my path and runnin’ with it.  On that note I selected Ella Fitzgerald: One note Samba (scat singing) 1969 video so give a listen and you will get an ear full of style and syncopation.  Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about…. Peace Out! JBC 😎

Published on Sep 23, 2012

June 22, 1969 jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald with accompaniment by Ed Thigpen on drums, Frank de la Rosa on bass, and Tommy Flanagan on piano.


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