May 1, 2009

I'll take Manhattan

One highlight of my recent trip back East was a chance to finally catch a live show by Vince Giordano's and the Nighthawks. A frequent guest on Prairie Home Companion, Vince runs a great 20's style jazz band, one of the few out there these days, and certainly one the most energetic and authentic. I loved, loved, loved their show! The band was fabulous, and Vince has a charming stage presence and rapport with the audience.

The highlight of the evening was getting to sit in with Vince, something I had hoped might happen but hadn't expected. I usually hate watching videos of myself, but this evening was so much fun, I'm willing to put aside my typical self criticisms to relive it and share it with you. A big thanks to jazz writer Michael Steinman for the capturing it on video. (Now if only I had looked at the camera a time or two, ... and perhaps laid off the canoli's while in nyc)

(Note: the video says March 20th, but actually it was April 20th, for those of you keeping score)

And speaking of Michael, If you're any sort of jazz/swing fan, you need to be reading Michael's wonderful blog,Jazz Lives. Lots of good stuff there - great musician profiles, CD reviews, videos, as well as some insider tips for NY shows.

January 7, 2009

York, New York mini tour

My old friends in the Boilermaker Jazz Band have invited me to join them on a little mini tour, and I can't wait to dig out my winter coat and boots and head back east. Seriously, it's going to be a ton of fun, so if you're back east dust off your dancing shoes and I hope we're able to catch up at one of the following:

  • Fri 6th @ 9pm, YORK SWING CLUB, York, PA
  • Sat 7th @ 8pm, SWING REMIX, JCC Goldman Sonnenfeld Auditorium New York City, NY
  • Sun Feb 8th @ 8pm EDGEWOOD CLUB Pittsburgh, PA

More details on the calendar

We're going big, baby, I can feel it!


Playing for the jazz club at three rivers was a ton of fun. But I had to LOL when I saw this marquee... nothing says your career is on the right track than sharing the billing with, um... flu shots. Next Reynolds Brother's Rhythm Rascals album cover?

December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Usonia Jazz Band

I couldn't resist making a little Christmas card from one of Mike's photos of us up at the Hearst Castle.

Wishing you Peace, prosperity and plenty of good music - we'll see you in 2009!

Holidays at Hearst Castle!


Just got photos from the fabulous Mike Larson of the Hearst Castle Holiday Feast. I was so excited when we were asked to play for this event! If I can be so bold, I've always thought our music would be perfect for an event there ;)

It's hard to walk inside the castle and not wonder about the parties that must have happened back in the day, and getting to play inside felt like stepping back in time. (Well, almost stepping back in the time, we do have a modern pa system, a detail I'm working on...). And it was apropos that John Reynolds was able to join us on guitar, he has family history involving the Hearst Castle, his grandmother, ZaSu Pitts, stayed there as a guest.




It's always a pleasure to work with Mark and Corinne, they have such an eye for detail! I'm full of admiration for the amazing designers and florists we get to work with, and how they are able to transform a place, I don't know how they envision and plan it all. We always show up for an event and they've been there for hours, even days, getting things ready. It's a cool process to watch, and it's fun to have a bit part in all these events. I always feel like we have the easiest job, just being on the line for sounding (and looking) good. Watching them make this event happen really did make our playing feel like, well, playing.


With all those details in his head, Mark still thought to build us this cool stage - check out the fun Judy (Garland) lights! It's not often I get to step out from behind the piano; I felt like such a diva, and I loved every minute of it! Way too much fun!

Thanks again to the Friends of the Hearst Castle for having us at their party.

May 14, 2008

Interview today on the Jazz Cafe

Sorry for the late notice, but if you get a chance, tune into WRHU 88.7 this afternoon (Wednesday May 14th), a little bit after 2pm EST. I'll be on Bob Collin's Jazz Cafe, talking with him about "Let's Get Lost". I really enjoyed speaking with Bob, he's very knowledgeable about the music and a lot of fun to talk to.

You can also listen online at WHRU


April 27, 2008

Across the Airwaves

Thanks so much to all the great radio stations that have been giving the love to “Let's Get Lost”! It’s so exciting to know we are being heard around the country as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and online, too cool! Both KRFP in Moscow ID and WHMB in Waterville, ME made it the #1 jazz cd of the week a couple weeks back, and it made the Top 10 list at the following stations:

  • CSCR Scarborough, Ontario
  • KBUT Crested Butte, CO
  • KSAU Nacogdoches, TX
  • WERU East Orland, ME
  • WPTC Williamsport, PA
  • KMUW Wichita, KS

Before we headed to Japan (more on that to come!) I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim Stone of WLNZ, Grand River, MI. You can hear our chat on his Big Band Swing show this Tuesday evening, April 29th at about 8PM EST time, though naturally you'll want to tune in at 7 so you can catch the beginning of this great show. Listen online at:

Also big thank yous to Derrick Lucas at WGMC in my hometown of Rochester NY, who did a nice interview of me at the beginning of April, to Mal Sharpe who featured it back in January on his show on KCSM in San Mateo, and to all our friends at KCSM and KCBX San Luis Obispo who played the CD when it first came out and encouraged me to send it to more stations.

Finally, I’ve also gotten some really nice quotes and reviews about the CD. In writing about it all, I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the positive feedback, thank you!

November 15, 2007

Let’s Get Lost!

My new CD has arrived! It’s still enroute to the online retail outlets (at this point CDBaby, World's Records, and Amazon), but right now is available in San Luis Obispo at Full Circle, BooBoo’s Records, and Apropos.

I was fortunate to have an absolutely stellar group of musicians behind me:

I’ll be playing selections from the CD this Saturday, November 17th, from 5-8 at Vinoteca Wine Bar in Paso Robles, and then again on Sunday, December 2nd from 5-9 at Full Circle. Check our calendar for all the details.

October 9, 2007

Calling all food and wine lovers, swing dancers, jazz aficionados, and yachtsmen - We've got great events for you all month long!

October finds Dawn and the gang entertaining throughout the county, playing for candlelight dinners, cruises of Morro Bay, and the Paso Robles Harvest Festival.

Wine lovers, get your tickets today to the Zenaida Cellar's Harvest dinner on Friday, October 19th. Spend a lovely fall evening taking in the gorgeous view at Zenaida winery. Enjoy a courtyard fire, Tapas-style dinner catered by Trumpet Vine Catering, and live music with the Usonia Jazz Band.

Fans of the hot ‘30s swing music of Django Reinhardt won‘t want to miss our free Swing in the Colony performance on Saturday, October 20th in Atascadero, when we will be joined by LA based master guitarist John Reynolds and his brother Ralf, who is one of the world’s greatest jazz washboard players. Grandsons of the silent screen star Zazu Pitts, both brothers are veterans of over 30 years of entertaining and have worked with musical greats including Cab Calloway, John Jorgensen, and the Smothers Brothers and had long residencies at Disneyland.

More info about all our upcoming events can be found on our calendar.

August 21, 2007

See You in C-U-B-A

Back in March we played for the Dazzling Diamond Ball, a benefit for the Hospice Partners of the Central Coast. I finally remembered to ask for some photos, and they were so cool I had to put them up. We were honored to be asked to perform for this prestigious fundraiser, and I loved being a part of an event planned with such care and creativity. M.C. and event designer Mark Padgett, along with Corinne Smith out did themselves transforming a vanilla banquet hall into this eye popping tropical hot spot evoking a 1940’s Havana nightclub. We dug being framed by the arch and palm trees, and Ken Wagner’s lighting set the nightclub feel. Julie Wilson captured the energy in her technicolor photos.


We don’t, unfortunately, play salsa or other authentic Cuban music, so we branched out of our regular swing repertoire to play some fun, Latin and Cuba inspired tunes from the period, including “I’ll See You In C-U-B-A”, “Besame Mucho”, “Siboney”, “Amor, Amor” “Green Eyes” and “Cuban Love Song”.


I’m kicking myself I neglected to get a photo of my outfit for the evening, a vintage Mexican hand painted skirt from the great online store Blue Velvet Vintage!