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       The Blues Ain't a Color

The music I’ve recorded for this CD comes from my Jazz Theater show The Blues Ain’t a Color. In this show, and in many other jazz theater shows I’ve performed over the years, I strive to bring the element of jazz improvisation music to my theater pieces blending the two artistic disciplines into one story then creating a new space for jazz and theater to meet and form new artistic exchanges.

Jazz, in my view has lost a connection to “the street.” I am showing that this music can and should be connected to give the music a context.  The visual elements and video in my shows can also leave an audience with a visual of the song.  In a theater setting, it drives home the point of the song, making the emotional connection to story.  Jazz and blues music is connected to human situations and emotions. We are relating to what is happening on the stage, as current event material, therefore we are expanding the community relationship to jazz, and in this show blending jazz and blues coming together as community to have shared experiences with the music. The jazz is not distant and difficult to relate to, it is instead directly related to social and cultural issues of interest to the theater going audience.  Many of the jazz standards of our time came from the musical theater stage. The Blues Ain’t a Color continues this tradition.

What’s the point in talking
We don’t see eye to eye
You see a darker picture
telling you to move aside
In the morning walking towards me
you switch sidewalks on our street
Black color may come back tonight,
steal possessions while you sleep
 
Never getting past, past history
Keep putting boundaries round our doors
Wonder why we keep denying

Color is the only thing we’re different for
Color is the only thing we’re different for
Different for
 
In the workplace, schools and streets
shades of colors taking sides
Bringing back the day’s we fought for
equality, and civil rights
Just a rule, like dollar figures
we can add and comprehend
But when it comes to loving feelings
You never want to be my friend
 
When will we move past, past history
Take down these boundaries round our doors
Time for realizing…
Color is the only thing we’re different for
Color is the only thing we’re different for
Different for
 
Cast a vote for me
or watch me on the winning team
So we can all agree
We’re one in harmony
 
Change the conversation
from those lines I read between
You’re not equal to me black people
This is something witnessed and can be seen
Gone the days when racist leaders
Wore white and hung our colors dead and grim
We’ve come so far from fearful living
Time for healing up, these hateful sins
 
Fast keep moving past past history
Take down these boundaries round our doors
Wonder why we keep denying
 
Color is the only thing we’re different for
Color is the only thing we’re different for
Different for


 
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              April Dreams

A veteran of the Second City Touring Company, suburban Chicago native Denise La Grassa made her mark in that talented troupe with a bit called "Make-A-Song," writing and performing tunes on the spot based on any topic the audience shouted out. That loose, carefree and immediate vibe still permeates her third album, the recent DIY release "April Dreams," but don't let it fool you into thinking the music is tossed-off. 

With an impressive but never showy range and a self-assured, conversational delivery that brings to mind a jazzier Aimee Mann, La Grassa offers uniquely personal and melodically powerful takes on romance in standout originals such as "Yesterday's Replay" and "Best Day," while local producer Matt Thompson (the Mighty Blue Kings, Frisbee) captures the spare but perfect accompaniment of a four-piece backing band. - Jim DeRogatis/NPR

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