Friday culminated a wonderful week of the music I enjoy. I was privileged to give tribute to Nubuko Cobi Narita at her 90th Birthday Celebration at St. Peter’s Church Friday March 18 along with many other jazz greats she has helped and supported along with her late husband Paul Ash. Her guests of honor were Mable Lee a fabulous dancer/singer who is now 93 and sassy as ever with gorgeous legs from a dancing career and Yvette Glover the mother of Savion and a marvelous inspirational vocalist. Cobi has helped me in my career by producing me in concert and promoting and allowing me to present my coaching session Me! The Diva Project. I am very grateful for her love and encouragement. Earlier in the week I was also in attendance at St. Peters for the Memorial and Celebration of the life of Mark Murphy. Both celebrations were glorious events. So many of my inspirations were performing or in attendance at both events.
Mark Murphy was a one-of-a-kind singer that blew my mind when first I heard him. I had picked up a cassette tape I believe because it was on sale out of a bin at the now gone Sam Goodys on Broadway in Greenwich Village many years ago. I was just beginning to take my own singing seriously. I don’t remember why I was drawn to the tape, but after played it I knew I had been led to bring it home because of divine intervention! When I heard I Keep Going Back to Joes Place tears streamed from my eyes and I knew I would have to sing that song! During this time, I was acting in an Off-Off Broadway production that had a scene where a segment of the song Drinking Again by Bette Midler was played! My character cues it up on the jukebox. Although only a portion of the song is played I was curious to hear and learn the lyrics. In my research I fell in love with Dinah Washington’s version. Immediately I heard Going Back to Joe’s and Drinking Again melded them together in a medley along a little of Monk for an introduction. I then used it in one of my cabaret shows. It was my first attempt at arranging! I love telling stories with the lyrics of songs!