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The Hopeful Romantic Project

 
Hello Friends, It's been a while since I have promoted any solo shows. Next week I'm doing some shows that are very special, a new project of my original music. I'm calling it David Thorne Scott and the Hopeful Romantics. I have always written songs and tried to squeeze them in next to the jazz standards, but I've never done an entire show of original tunes until now. Frankly, I love discovering and interpreting great jazz songs so much, that I always felt my original songs didn't quite fit in. Some of them are straight-ahead jazz, but others have a more R&B sensibility that may surprise you. If I had to describe this music to you in brief, I would say: Jamie Cullum meets Don Draper. Sexy, jazzy, and confident. I'll be singing from the piano, and with me will be a band of exciting newcomers. Bassist Will Cafaro, guitarist Mark Hadley, and drummer Jazz Robertson are outstanding young musicians who are making names for themselves at Berklee. Next week you can see me in Cambridge at the Lily Pad, and at the New Hampshire Jazz Center in Laconia, NH. I'm also doing a show at at Ten Center in Newburyport with more jazz standards mixed in, but still some of my originals.

Advice to a young singer

 
I recently was asked for advice to a young singer who plans to attend Berklee in a year or two. I was very glad to get the request, because it is something I think about often, and I wish I could clear up some misconceptions before they take root. Here is the message I sent her... Take regular voice lessons and practice voice an hour a day. Not just learning songs, but emphasize vocal technique with an ear toward clarity of tone. STUDY PIANO. Start with the basics of 12 major scales, 12 x 3 minor scales, triads (arpeggios and inversions, major minor diminished augmented), seventh chords (arpeggios and inversions, major 7 minor 7, dominant 7, half-diminished 7, diminished 7). Practice at least an hour a day. Use a metronome. Listen to music for 45 minutes a day. Start with stuff you love, then search out the predecessors of that, and keep on going back in time. They say "mastery" takes 10,000 hours. Start putting in your time! Successful Berklee students are the ones who come in with an established work ethic and are passionate about music. We are pretty "style-agnostic" in the Berklee voice department, so someone who is intensely into gospel, or Bollywood pop, or Bulgarian choral music, or opera, or stone country all can find their niche here. LOVE what you do!

The Tribe Gathers

 
The tribe did not gather often. In the best of times, it was not the most powerful in the land. Now, in lean times, the tribe was scattered in order to find sustenance. Each elder, warrior, or farmer had to find shelter where he or she could. One elder put out the call to honor another elder. Each disparate branch of the tribe was asked to bring their most powerful magic to lay at the feet of this man. The elder to be honored was not a great leader or warrior or farmer. He was not a treaty-maker or wizard. This man's gift was the gift of listening. He listened to the cares of the young warrior who felt that his struggles had never been known before. He listened to the cry of the farmer who remembered fatter days. He listened to the rough voice of the weary traveler who had come home after learning that "all is all." Would anyone come to honor this elder? Would the gift of listening prove worthy of commemoration? Would the scattered members honor the feeling of validation they received when this elder took the time to hear their concerns? Yes. The tribe came and celebrated with food and drink and fire and song. They brought their fiercest spells and tenderest songs and wildest dances and loveliest stories. The elder listened and blessed their gifts, allowing his tears to flow only when the spirit of his departed father appeared. After the feast, the tribe scattered again. No one knew whether they would again gather. No one knew what might cause them to forget their immediate wants for an evening in order to pay tribute to an elder who did nothing but listen. But they all departed knowing that their stories were less than dust without a listener. They knew that the most precious gift anyone ever gave them was to listen. They knew that, for a while anyway, they would honor The Listener wherever he or she appeared. ----- Eric Jackson, thank you for thirty years of listening. Fred Taylor gathered the tribe to honor you and no one could hope for such a feast as the one he gave. The tribe is in your debt, and our gifts tonight are only a token offer for the value you have tendered us.

Music education

 
The Boston Arts Academy is an amazing place where students learn not only the nuts and bolts of music (in addition to a full academic courseload), but also how to express themselves and their values in society. Yesterday I got to work with several students (along with the master pianist Frank Wilkins) who had the courage to sing in front of their peers. They showed the results of their hard work and their budding artistry, conveying emotion as well as musical ideas.

Live Music is Alive

 
Over the past few days, I have performed in front of over a thousand people at many different types of venues. A performing arts center, a music school, and a church are among the places I looked out and saw the faces of people for whom hearing music performed live was incredibly meaningful. If I ever had any doubt, I have been reminded that hearing live music is irreplaceable. It feeds the soul of listener and performer. To witness the fruit of so much hard work and soulful enterprise is uplifting. One listener with tears in her eyes said, "I got so much enjoyment out of your show tonight. I don't get enjoyment out of much these days." When we go to hear music, it tunes our molecules like little else can. Live music is alive and well.

Arizona tour

 
Last week I spent among the palm trees and citrus orchards of Arizona. One day I went into the backyard of the house we were staying at and grabbed handfuls of lemons, then squeezed them into a pitcher for lemonade. For someone used to the snow of a New England winter, this was paradise. Also paradise were the fabulous audiences for the music of Vocalogy. Vocalogy is a five-voice group plus piano, bass and drums. We spent the week performing for high schools around the Phoenix area, then went into the mountains -- to Flagstaff -- to perform at the Northern Arizona University Jazz/Madrigal festival. Talk about a high-energy event! When we went on stage the crowd of about 1,000 went completely nuts and were with us every step of the way. We varied the program from our more oblique music like Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus" to real crowd-pleasers like "Time is a Healer", and the kids seemed to enjoy everything along the whole spectrum. If you're worried about the state of music in the future, you can relax a little bit. These kids were hip to real music, not just the pop flavors-of-the-month. Their energy and enthusiasm also showed in their questions to us, both in the info sessions and informally. They are hungry for music education, and, fortunately, they are getting it from their teachers. I only hope that the many schools we didn't visit also have outlets for that same hunger.

Talking Music Interview

 
Hey, check out Mark Shilanksy's new podcast, Talking Music. He interviews musicians about music. Always insightful and funny. His latest episode is an interview with yours truly -- probably containing much more information than you ever wanted to know. http://markshilanskytalkingmusic.libsyn.com/episode-5-mark-talks-to-vocalist-david-thorne-scott You can subscribe to his podcast on iTunes and get your iPod automatically updated every time he has a new episode. Great for the morning commute.

Syncopation - New Member!

 
A big change in the life of Syncopation. Aubrey Logan has left the band to pursue opportunities as a solo jazz/pop singer. Be on the lookout for her name in the national and international entertainment media in the upcoming year. I wish her the very best. A thorough search for a new soprano was conducted. Of course she would have to be an excellent harmony singer with great intonation, sound and rhythm. We also wanted an amazing soloist. Finally, she should be an entertainer with charisma and energy. We found all these things in vocalist Aubrey Johnson. She is a fantastic musician and lovely human being who will fit in our crazy harmony group just perfectly. Aubrey is a Boston-based singer/composer/arranger whose music combines her many stylistic influences which range from jazz, pop, and folk, to opera, Brazilian, and Turkish music, creating her unique brand of improvisation-rooted composition, with and without lyrics. Last year she completed the New England Conservatory Masters Degree program with honors and was awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal. She sang on Bobby McFerrin's latest CD "Vocabularies", performed in international jazz festivals with guitarist Lyle Mays, and is in high demand as a sidewoman by many forward-looking ensembles around Boston. She was named "Best Jazz Vocalist" in the 2008 DownBeat Student Music Awards. Syncopation is taking this opportunity to refresh our publicity materials, photos, website, and social media presence. Please stay tuned to see our new look! A sneak preview of our new photos can be found at www.jazzsyncopation.com

Vocalogy tour

 
After a few hundred miles logged on the Vocalogy-mobile, I'm home again. We sang for audiences from Monterrey to Seal Beach, and stayed loose while singing some of the most challenging arrangements out there. We really had a blast and I think that's important when you are doing music like we do: artistic, but fun and swinging.

Ridiculous Scullers show

 
Wow! I am all out of breath after the Syncopation show at Scullers. There was something special in the air last night and everyone in the room knew it. Each solo was more inventive than the last.... there was a fearlessness that we felt on stage because of the warm reception we got from the audience. Wow.

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