Moving Up

Wow! What a blast this summer has been. I've never had my performing schedule so full, and I can honestly say I loved it. There were a few nights of tiredness, or wanting to be home, but most nights I was energized doing what I love, performing 4 and 5 nights a week.

I had great response on Beach Street and met people from all over the country and world, and the nice thing about playing year after year is seeing some of the same folks who come back to vacation in Virginia Beach. It's a blessing to be able to play there!

Gershwin's business has also picked up, so that it's usually steady, if not busy, all evening long! There, as well, I have met some great people and gotten some great feedback. Jason Black, a composer of Brazilian music, said this after hearing me at Gershwin's: "Heard a fantastic set by vocalist and flautist of extraordinary good taste and talent tonight, Jennifer Gammill. Musicians, you know that feeling when you hear the timbre, and direction of the sax and you're willing to let you ears follow the sax where the sax wants to take you? That's Jennifer!"

It's great to be at a place where I feel so good about what I'm putting out there - my voice has deepened and relaxed, and gets more "jazzy" in style all the time. I enjoy leaping up to the stratosphere for some scat notes, and then taking it down low for a song like "Fever." I also started adding flute to my Gershwin's set 
this summer, and people are loving that too. 

I'm still growing and learning, of course! While my confidence and skill with improv has grown greatly, I know I still have a lot to learn. I'm looking into how I can best do that in the months ahead. 

I attribute so much of my learning to my teacher and mentor, Jae Sinnett. People often ask, "How can a flute player study with a  drummer?" I like the question, because it says so much about jazz - that you don't have to study with your same instrument to learn so many of the fundamentals, and that because rhythm and feel are so important to jazz, and to playing at a top level, it's a bonus that I have the opportunity to study with a drummer of his caliber. We also talk a lot about the mental game of being a performer, which I appreciate so much, because that is another aspect of playing that is not addressed as much as the technique and execution. And he is not only a drummer, but a composer and arranger. His newest recording, Subject to Change, is amazing. It's one of those you can listen to over and over and still get new things. Even playing along with a simple line on it helps with my feel, and the solos inspire me every time. It's receiving national airplay and recognition, and I feel so proud of him and that I get to study with someone who has devoted so much to his craft and can write and teach from a season of experience. 

Lastly, my first gig with Candela, Latin Jazz Quartet, went extremely well. We played at Prime46forty, an upscale restaurant 
in Williamsburg. The guys, John Calisto and Jordan Ponzi, are extremely talented, and Ernesto Laboy played with us on percussion. It was so much fun! And we even threw in the flute beatboxing, did our own arrangement of Rockin' Robin, and of course, a good selection of Latin jazz tunes. I'll be singing my first song in Portuguese this Saturday at our second gig! This group promises some longevity and creativity, which I'm very excited about. Here are some cool shots from our gig, taken by a professional photographer! 

So what's next? I'm looking forward to some down time, sending my daughter off to kindergarten, and I have an insatiable desire to learn more jazz! 

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