Jazz hands everybody! Or rather, how about a hand for jazz? There seems to be a mini-comeback of the genre inside the venue of children's music. Between Lucy Kalantari, Jazzy Ash, Lori Henriques, and now JoJo and the Pinecones, there's a whole spectrum to educate your kids. I was fortunate enough to see the group perform at Hootenanny earlier this month (with Lucy, Jazzy, as well as Tim Kubart).
Joelle Lurie and musical partner Benjamin Gallina (whose website is a mnemonic for "brangelina") crafted their new CD, NIGHT & DAY, as part of their residency at Lincoln Center Education. The album is a amalgam of new and reinvigorated standards such as the title track and "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'." For anyone who watched Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, the piano break in "Dream A Little Dream of Me" will remind you of the late Johnny Costa.
There are so many recordings of "I Can See Clearly Now" that it's pointless to make comparisons. But JoJo and company strive to make it downbeat and upbeat at the same time. You won't forget it's an album for your kids with such selections as "I Spy" and the cheery "Breakfast for Dinner," which is a rap short of being a Mista Cookie Jar song. Pizza for breakfast? Somebody is gonna give the tots some intriguing ideas.
NIGHT & DAY is designed in two sets, "Night" and "Day," with seven lighter, playful tracks that segue into seven to wind down from the hustle and bustle of school, homework, and chores. JoJo & The Pinecones take their childhood experiences and memories and run them through a tapestry of American Jazz stylings. Just when you think jazz is exclusionary, for a certain class of people, or just too cool for your tastes, along comes the closing track, "Farewell and Goodnight," a Smashing Pumpkins tune transformed from grinding guitars into a bluesy, horn-filled lullaby. Good night indeed. But not farewell.
NIGHT & DAY is available from JoJo & The Pinecones' website, Amazon, and iTunes.
Here is the video for their song, "Breakfast for Dinner":