"Janet Planet Sings The Bob Dylan Songbook Vol. 1" marks my 25th release. I am a lover of words. Like many singers, I’ve drawn from the “American Songbook” throughout my career. The “Dylan Songbook” is an interesting project not only for the poetic value of Dylan’s work but also for the musical challenge his melodies pose for jazz musicians. As it turns out, I became a legitimate Dylan fan only after I tackled, articulated and assimilated his words... wrestled with, tampered with, and slept with his words. Enjoy!
I often recall a quote by Della Reese. When asked about being a jazz vocalist she said, “I like to be called a working singer.” That sentiment has resonated with me throughout my 25-year career.
With a reverence for jazz singing, my influences span many styles. “Jazz keeps me interested,” to coin a phrase from my friend, Karrin Allyson. Early influences were Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt…and anything else my 5 siblings were listening to at the time.
I started by singing folk songs making my way through the club circuit and all the musical genres that kept us working. Then I remember hearing Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderly for the first time. That legendary 1962 album changed my vocal palate most abruptly. Nancy’s straight-tone drew me in and lead me to a style of singing that was more lyrically based.
I love words. My interpretations are based not only on meaning, but also on the way words feel as they fall out of my mouth. I’m fascinated by the vibrations of consonants and the nakedness of vowels…the envelope of a diphthong and the connection of words one image at a time. I revel in the power of the blues and the eternal pursuit of pocketing a groove. All dangling carrots that feed the element of “divine dissatisfaction.”
A lifetime later, that gift of creativity still leaves me feeling childlike. And, each musical experience, recording or performance, is like a bright new crayon in my Crayola box.
The honor of being accepted by musicians and listeners alike is not taken lightly. When you get to a certain point in a singing career, yes, it is about “working.” But it’s also about breathing life in to each moment…breathing honesty into a lyric…and hopefully, breathing love into a listener’s ear.
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