Rehearsal Journal for Tokyo Bunkakaikan Duet Concert With My Mother: Rehearsal 1
4/25/2017 4:43:47 AM - February 6, 2006 -- Rehearsal 1

I have to admit, I didn't sleep too well the night before. I was definitely nervous about this rehearsal. Usually I wouldn't be, even if it is my mother. I feel comfortable with singing enough now that I'm not that nervous, except for the adrenalin rush and quickening of the pulse. But I'm a little traumatized from Monday night.

Monday, January 30th, there was a dinner held by the president of Mitsui Co., Mr. and Mrs. Yoshida, at their residence on swank 5th Avenue honoring my mother and her 60th year since moving to the U.S. from Japan to pursue her career in jazz. A lot of people were there, 60 in all (I wonder if that was on purpose? 60 people, 60 years...), many respected by the jazz community. The night before the 30th, my mother called and said that she and Lew were asked to perform several tunes that night, and would I like to sing one song together with her? I thought it was an excellent idea, a little taste of what's to come at the Tokyo Bunkakaikan and good to jump start our rehearsal for the Tokyo Bunkakaikan concert later in February, so agreed. She decided we would do "Warning: Success May Be Hazardous To Your Health," which is one of my favorite tunes of hers, a cool and uplifting samba tune that I'd heard and hummed along to since I was a little girl.

The guests were to come for cocktails at around 6:30, so I got to Mama's around 4:30 to do a little rehearsal. I'd practiced all day along with the CD and felt comfortable with the melody. As long as I was singing along with the horns. But as soon as I was alone, and the key was lowered to make it easier for me to sing, I suddenly realized I didn't quite have a grasp of the melody. There were modal changes here and there that confused me, and I couldn't hear the melody against the chord my mother was playing. Oh boy, here we go I thought.

To make a long story short, I totally flopped. I got so nervous before going up that I had a hard time breathing, and once up there, the 60 people in front of me just looked like a big blur (well, I do have bad eye sight), and their stares were like needles. The turn around back to the beginning of the melody was one of my biggest problems, and I swam, both times, to try and find it, and it was obvious, not one of those quick little mistakes you make and pretend you didn't hoping no one would notice. After I sat back down, the lady seated next to me, the great late John Lewis' wife, didn't b.s. with me that it was great or even good. Just stayed silent. I felt like I wanted to climb under a rock.

So with that mental wound still fresh, I suddenly was getting nervous about Tokyo Bunkakaikan, wondering if I be able to get everything down? It's one thing doing vocal and guitar duets of all my tunes. I know them well enough to play around and be relaxed and have fun with it, and it's not about the perfection of singing, but getting a great groove and vibe on. But Tokyo Bunkakaikan and duets with my mother (and I felt it appropriate to do mostly my mother's tunes and some jazz standards, although we'll also be doing 2 of mine) suddenly seemed like a big chunk to chew. I've been under so much pressure and stress trying to get the computer and sequence programming for my own tour afterwards, and still working out routing kinks on the computer, that I hadn't been able to dedicate a lot of time to practicing for it.

I had managed to transcribe "Sumie" from the big band recording and even a chorus of Lew's flute solo. I had also transcribed the Ella Fitzgerald recording of "Round About Midnight." We began by rehearsing "Sumie." It took a while to work out the solo part for Mama as the big band arrangement is different from the small group which is the format she wanted to do, but once we got through that, it actually came out sounding proper. My flute playing needs more practice though for sure. I'd forgotten my flute that day and found
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