Category: Cooking

April’s Artist Feature: Khabu Doug Young

April’s Artist Feature: Khabu Doug Young

This month’s artist feature is an amazing musician and creative improviser. Khabu Doug Young is a guitarist extraordinaire and a superb ukulele player. I have known Khabu for about 13 years and worked with him for almost 10 years. Khabu and I have shared the stage and the classroom many times over the years and it has always been both a wonderful learning experience and a fulfilling artistic one.

Khabu is also a real foodie. He is extra lucky because his lovely Venetian wife is an incredible cook (and singer!) Khabu is pretty darn good in the kitchen also. Khabu loves kimchi, which puts him in my good books. We share a love for the Venetian dish Bigoi in Salsa, a pasta dish made with onions and anchovies which I love to make (thank you Elena!)

Khabu has been playing music in NYC for almost 20 years and over the past 12 years he has added ukulele to his performances. He has been involved in projects like his band, My Russian Dragon (this band pre-dates his NYC arrival) with Art Lande, Dwight Kilian, Bruce Williamson and other special guest band members Shane Endsley, Mark Miller and Paul McCandless; SLOG with Brian Drye, Greg Joseph and the late Bob Bowen; and his duo with multi-instrumentalist, Kurt Reber. Currently Khabu continues to perform with Art Lande and now has a duo project with vocalist, Elena Camerin; is a member of The E-String Band (my toy instrument band); and his newest band with Bruce Williamson, Mike McGinnis and Harris Eisenstadt. Khabu also does a monthly show with yours truly and Elena Camerin.

Khabu is a unique music educator and I have learned so much by working with him over the years. Here’s why: I have rarely met anyone as good as Khabu is at teaching students to really express themselves without conscious judgement or ego interfering. Regardless of the skill level, he just has that knack for getting people to open up and discover something about their own spontaneity that they had been overlooking. That’s why when we taught classes together, I always came away having learned a lot myself.

You can check out Khabu’s latest project this coming Friday, April 11, 7:00pm at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Here is the listing.

It is an incredible thing when you meet someone who is as open minded and free spirited in the way Khabu is. I love that he is so willing to go and take any type of musical adventure with you. I feel privileged to play music with Khabu and I hope that you take the opportunity to discover this wonderful musician.

Looking forward to playing with you next month Bhu!

March Artist Feature: Akiko Sasaki

March Artist Feature: Akiko Sasaki

This month’s feature artist is Akiko Sasaki. I have known Akiko for more than seven years and I have to say that she is one of the hardest working people I know.

Akiko has so many talents that it almost seems unfair to list them all. Outside of her musical talents as a classical pianist and Japanese koto player, Akiko is a gifted educator. She is also an amazing cook! We have cooked Thanksgiving dinner together for more than six years and I can’t even begin to recall all the meals we have cooked and eaten in the days between.

Since 2009, Akiko has been following a macrobiotic diet and she is currently being certified in the “Master Your Health” program at the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. Even though Akiko eats in a ridiculously healthy way, here is her weakness: donuts! Her dark secret is out! She loves sweet, fried donuts!!

Akiko has lived in NYC since 2002 when she arrived to pursue a masters at the Manhattan School of Music (granted in 2004). Throughout the years Akiko has pursued many projects but currently her main passions are her private teaching practice and Lyra Music, a three week summer intensive program for young pianists and string players held in Randolph, Vermont. Akiko began Lyra Music in 2010 with her friend and colleague, Mary Prescott. Together they have created a wonderful program that gives young students a life enhancing experience through classical music.

Besides Akiko’s passion for teaching, she is also an incredible performer. I find it astounding how Akiko can manage Lyra and her teaching practice but more amazing is that she is involved in so many performance projects like her piano trio, Trio Cotier with cellist, Alisha Bauer and violinist, Chris Luther; her Japanese music project with opera singer, Sarah Heaton; her Koto quartet with flutist, Yukari, drummer Gerald Cleaver and pianist/husband, Jesse Stacken; and also performing with the Miyabi Koto-Shamisen ensemble. To finally put the icing on this amazing cake, she also co-curates a wonderful house concert series with her husband, Jesse Stacken (more on him in the coming months) called the Beverley Concert Series. (I swear this woman does not sleep!)

This weekend you can catch Akiko’s Lyra Music in action. They will be doing a live streaming music competition for cash prizes and scholarships for students to attend Lyra Summer Music program 2014. Here is the streaming link here
You can also see the competition in person at Shetler Studios in NYC (244 West 54th St, #12). Tickets are $15/$10 students & seniors, at the door.

I only have great things to say about this woman and I admire her to the nth degree. Akiko is an amazing person with fiery passion and determination that get the job done. If you get a chance to see her perform live, please do. You will not be disappointed.

February’s Artist Feature: Thomas Morgan

February’s Artist Feature: Thomas Morgan

This month’s artist feature is about my longtime friend, the gifted musician and bassist Thomas Morgan. I cannot recall all the meals that Thomas and I have shared over the years but in the last decade, Thomas has followed a macrobiotic diet and I have learned to make many delicious dishes to ensure that we continue sharing meals together. Thomas really enjoys my macrobiotic granola which I make whenever I get the chance.

I met Thomas when he was at the tender age of 18 and even then, you just knew something amazing was happening with this young man. Thomas has been in NYC since 1999 and from the moment he began his studies at Manhattan School of Music, his performance career started to flourish. Now he is one of the busiest musicians I know.

The first time I saw him perform was with the drummer Joey Baron, and guitarists, Steve Cardenas and Adam Levy at the no longer existing venue, Tonic in NYC. His clarity of sound and unbelievable sense of time were just two of the many amazing features of his playing.

There are too many groups and projects to mention in which Thomas is an active member. Including my toy instrument band (in which he plays guitar!) and my quartet, Thomas regularly performs with guitarist Jakob Bro‘s trio, Craig Taborn‘s trio, Dan Weiss and Jacob Sacks trios and was a long time member of the Steve Coleman group, David Binney band and the late Paul Motian band. Most recently, Thomas has been playing with guitarist Bill Frisell.

If you would like to check out Thomas playing live in the next month or so you will have to get yourself over to Europe. Currently he is on tour with Jakob Bro’s trio and will continue touring in Europe with pianist Giovanni Guidi. In April, you can check him out at drummer Dan Weiss’ CD release show at The Jazz Gallery on April 11 and 12. You can also hear him at Carnegie Hall (Weill Hall) with the Jacob Sacks Trio on May 28.

I had my first gig in NYC with Thomas Morgan in 2000 and ever since then, he has been my favorite bass player and one of my favorite musicians ever.

A little amazing fact about Thomas: he does not own a cell phone! How is that even possible this day and age? Just goes to show you that great talent can be sought out by any means necessary. I admire Thomas for having the ability to not be enslaved by modern technology. With a crazy schedule like his, not owning a cell phone is probably the best way to get a little quiet.

Featured Artist for January 2014: Geoff Kraly

Featured Artist for January 2014: Geoff Kraly

To start off the new year, I have decided to feature a musical artist every month on my blog. I’m planning to select artists I have some personal connection with: I have either worked for them, collaborated with them, or hope to work/collaborate with them in the future. Also, I’m planning to feature artists who have been at my home and shared a meal with me. I find that having a meal together is a wonderful way to connect with someone outside of playing music with them.

My first featured artist of the year is my dear friend Geoff Kraly. Geoff and I have shared many meals together. Of all the things I’ve cooked for him, I think his favorite is probably my homemade Big Macs and fries.

Geoff has been in NYC since 2003 after graduating from Northwestern University, where he studied both jazz performance and music cognition. Since then he has been actively working as an electric bassist, composer, songwriter/lyricist and producer.

One of the things I respect most about Geoff is his impeccable taste in music and the execution of it. Just this past November, Jacob Sacks and I had Geoff in the recording studio listening and giving suggestions as we recorded our third release which will be coming out this year.

Another amazing thing about Geoff is that the man can write a song! Geoff’s lyrics are so moving, he is always musically interesting, deeply emotional and the songs really get you in the gut. The times that I have sung Geoff’s music, I have had to prepare myself not to crack my voice or start sobbing in the middle of the tune.

Geoff’s most recent work is as the producer and bassist for Ben Scheuer‘s band, The Escapist Papers. He has also co-written a recording with Ben called, Lady Clown. Geoff recently completed producing drummer Vinnie Sperrazza’s forthcoming album.

Geoff’s main and current project is Paris Monster, a collaborative duo with multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Josh Dion. Geoff is co-producer, co-engineer, lyricist, co-writer and performer on bass and modular synthesizers. This duo is electrifying to watch and listen to. Geoff’s powerful and intense lyrics combined with Josh’s melodies and their combined charismatic performance seduces and invites you into a world where you want to stay all night long. You can witness this magical chemistry in NYC where Paris Monster will be doing a residency at the Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1 on January 17, 24, February 1 and 7 starting at 10:00pm.

You can check out Paris Monster’s latest EP on Sound Cloud and purchase the EP on ITunes. You can also watch their newest video Pride

On a more personal note, outside of his wonderful musicianship, Geoff is an incredibly loyal friend and one of the most sensitive souls I know. Quiet and strong and funny as hell, this is an artist you really should take the time to check out. You can visit his website at: Geoff Kraly or Paris Monster.

Geoff, the next meal will be Big Macs. You are bringing the beer, I hope.

A New Year And Getting Myself Back To It

A New Year And Getting Myself Back To It

Happy New Year!!

It’s now 2011 and I am astounded at how much has happened to me in the past year. Both happy and sad events have affected my life. I lost a friend and colleague very unexpectedly in a tragic cycling accident, my husband changed careers and started all over again from scratch (so proud of him) and the most life changing event for myself and Chris was having our first beautiful, baby boy!

It has been challenging becoming a mother and I have loved being one but I miss parts of my old life especially my musical life and I am trying to make my return to it. This year will be the journey to return to some creative life outside of motherhood. I hope that writing about it will help me keep focused on my goals.

Another goal for this year is to get my health back into shape. When I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was shocked and upset but hoped that the condition would go away after my son was born. Well, ten months later, I am still pre-diabetic and now have high cholesterol from eating too much meat and cheese (Atkins you suck!) So now, I am working my way back to the healthy life I had or maybe improve it even more.

Hope you will follow along and help me on my journey to a better me.

Quebecite in Pennsylvania

Quebecite in Pennsylvania

This Wednesday I will be trekking over to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to perform D.D. Jackson’s jazz opera, Quebecite at Moravian College. It has been about four or five years since I performed this music and this time I will have some friends performing in the band. Thomas Morgan (bass) and Shane Endsley (trumpet) will be performing with us which will be really fun. Also, there will be two new vocalists (Martin Sola and Meetu Chilana) joining myself and Dean Bowman so it should be fun and different.
It will be a bit of a long day since we will be driving at 11:30am, dress rehearsal at 2:30pm and the performance is at 7:30pm and then we drive back to NYC at 9:30pm (ugh!)
I’m glad that it will be nice driving weather because nothing sucks more when you’re on the road than crappy weather. Looking forward to it.

Mark Your Calendar

Mark Your Calendar

On Thursday, October 23rd, Jacob Sacks and I will be celebrating the release of our latest recording, Imagination, by performing music from the recording at the Ida K. Lang Recital Hall, 7:00pm at Hunter College, New York City.

I am really excited about this performance because it will be the first time performing this music since our release in July and it will also be our first performance as a duo in over nine months. The performance is free and I hope you can all come and celebrate our new CD with us.

It’s Turkey Time!

It’s Turkey Time!

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This is technically my second Thanksgiving for this year since Canadian Thanksgiving was in October. My friend Akiko and I are doing a combined effort of cooking and Jacob Sacks will be baking lovely pies (pecan, pumpkin and apple YUMMM!!!!) I am going to do my best to document this event. It is the first time that I have some partnering chefs for Thanksgiving and I have cooked with Akiko and Jacob together in the past and we’ve had a lot of fun together. Hopefully there might even be a podcast out of this (I hope this will actually happen). I am in charge of cooking the turkey, gravy, dressing and a side dish. I do the whole works on the turkey. I brine it the night before and I make stock for the gravy and the other special ingredients the day before also. I haven’t made a turkey in the past year and a half so I hope my cooking chops are still good.

I know that this is a time to reflect on things we should be “thankful” for. I am grateful for many things in my life, a great husband, family, friends, my dog, music, my health etc… Sometimes you can get so caught up in all your crap that you can forget why life is so good. I’m constantly stressed out, I’m always worried about everything and I’m always complaining about having no money, being a struggling artist and not losing enough weight. When I actually write these things down I start to feel really foolish. I don’t live in a war stricken country, I’m not homeless, I’m not dying and I am a working artist. It really doesn’t get any better. Sure, we can always bitch about money, a better career and losing an extra five pounds but the bottom line is that life is pretty damn good and I am thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah! I’m cooking up a storm in Ottawa, Canada right now so just a quick merry wish to all. I’m looking forward to the new year (so many new and exciting things to come!)

CHEERS!

Challalujah

Challalujah

Earlier on I said that I would write about my first bread making experience. Well on Canadian Thanksgiving (American Columbus Day), Chris and I invited some friends over for dinner and I made turkey, gravy, stuffing and challah bread.

For my first try at making bread, I would have to say it turned out alright. It wasn’t dense like a rock and it had a good flavour to it. I used my Kitchen Aide mixer to do all the goopy stuff and then I took it out for all the real hand kneading.

Dough is tough. When I punched it I actually felt a sting on my fist. I can imagine that back in the olden days the women and men making bread had some serious arms. The kneading is tedious and hard work. My advice to anyone who tries to make bread: give it some good hand work. Don’t skimp on the kneading.

My stove is funny. In my old apartment, the stove didn’t get hot enough. Now in my new apartment, the stove gets too hot. So, when I thought I had it at 375F, it was really 425F. The bread baked quicker and the crust was thicker and harder than I had anticipated. But when I cut into the loaf, it was wonderful and tasty. Maybe it’s because it was warm and baked goods, even when they’re mediocre, still taste good when fresh out of the oven.

The overall review of the bread from the guests was good, although I don’t know if they were being polite or telling the truth ( I will assume the latter). I had fun making the bread and today will be another attempt at challah but using a different recipe. Hopefully my first bread making attempt was not beginners luck.

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