Artist of the day: Valerie Gillespie
Whether performing alongside music legends or in her own neighborhood, jazz musician Valerie Gillespie is living the Lush Life — the title of her latest CD with the Valerie Gillespie Ensemble, which offers her signature saxophone and sentimental take on new and classic jazz songs.
Lush Life is a locally produced disc that features both jazzy classics — such as the title track, a Billy Strayhorn ballad, Dizzy Gillespie’s Tanga, Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose, and Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain — and contemporary tunes from acts such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.
“The title track is a beautiful jazz standard called Lush Life that has always been one of my favorite songs,” Gillespie said. “It was my mother’s favorite, and my dad, a singer, used to sing it for her on his gigs. Aside from his day job in sales, he played a regular gig with the same band in the same restaurant for almost 30 years, which is unheard of in this business. I’ve always wanted to record the song, but it is an especially tough tune to sing, so it took me some time and experience to feel up to the task.”