I am excited to be bringing my set “Strictly For the Birds” to Club Bonafide on Friday, November 15th. When I created the set it was strictly for the fun of it, and also in homage to my vocal heroine, Carmen McRae and her 1958 album, “Birds of a Feather.” But the recent news that birds are vanishing from North America at an alarming rate puts another, more urgent spin on this set of songs. I hope that singing about the wonderful creatures who bring us so much auditory and visual pleasure will raise awareness of just how much we are losing as our backyard bird population declines. Read more about it. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/science/bird-populations-america-canada.html?module=inline. Take action: https://www.audubon.org/
This beautiful painting is called “16 Birds” by Jennifer Lommers. It’s the ordinary birds we see everyday in our yards - cardinal, bluejay, chickadee. Jennifer is not only an artist with a deep feeling for nature, but a jazz fan, and she’s generously granted me permission to use her work to publicize this show. You can get purchase a copy for yourself and view her many delightful works at https://www.jenniferlommers.com/
THANK YOU, ARTSWESTCHESTER and The Yonkers Public Library!
ArtsWestchester has once again awarded me a Yonkers Arts Initiative grant for the 2019-2020 season. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to present a third version of my jazz vocal workshop, “Singin’ & Swingin;”. This time we’ll be adding “Swayin” to the singin’ and swingin’, as jazz meets samba in an exploration of Latin rhythms and the influence of Latin music in jazz. A very big thank you also to the Yonkers Public Library for once again partnering with this project. The workshop will take place at the Will Branch of the YPL, Tuesday afternoons 2 -4 pm, beginning February 25th through April 14th.
Hey, Mom! I made the centerfold! Of Hot House Jazz Magazine, that is! Here's what the June 2018 Spotlight had to say:
"Even in the diverse world of jazz vocalists, MJ Territo pops out as unique, difficult to categorize, and quite superb. Sporting a rich, slightly lower-pitched vocal range, MJ offers a phrasing that places her comfortably in the jazz, cabaret and Broadway worlds, and her singing recalls an uncommon set of vocalists from Frank Sinatra to Carol Sloane to even Mabel Mercer. Similarly, in her projects she consistently makes intelligent and unusual decisions in repertoire and approach, perhaps best encapsulated on her most recent album, Ladies Day (Jollie Mollie Music), by her gorgeous duet with harpist Brandee Younger on the Dave Grusin composition “True.” For fans of the entire map of the Great American Songbook and its many unusual side routes, MJ’s performance with the Ladies Day Jazz Quartet is not to be missed." --Seton Hawkins
"What ["Ladies Day"] proves to be is one of the most attractive standards sets imagined, because these standards… are not so standard. Territo… expertly guides this welcome romp through the less known….This is a collection of finely composed songs expertly delivered in a thoughtful and compelling production. Well done! --C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz"
Top Ten Things to Know About MJ Territo
· Fell in love with jazz as a kid listening to her parents’ Swing Era favorites
· Subscribes to Duke Ellington’s point of view: “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind…”
· Grateful to sing the Great American Songbook; jazz standards; the blues and beyond (see above)
· Nerds R Her – loves to discover overlooked tunes. Stick her in a corner of a music library and her heart beats so that she can hardly speak. (Also enjoys dancing cheek to cheek…)
· Not ashamed to respond to any comment or answer any question with a song lyric (see above)
. Especially proud of bringing to light overlooked contributions of jazz women to the jazz canon (see "Nerds R Her")
· A few branches from the musical family tree (far from comprehensive): Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Rosie Clooney, Nina Simone, Jon Hendricks; John Coltrane, Lester Young, Mary Lou Williams; Chopin, Puccini. Recent acquisitions: Bombay Jayashri, Aruna Sairam; Zakir Hussein
· Finds great joy in sharing her love of jazz with students 9 months to 90 years. (Not surprising for someone raised in a family of teachers: Mom taught piano in the living room; Aunt Lu taught first grade for 50+ years; Aunt Dee was in special ed)
· Other lives: non-fiction writer; romance novelist; actress; happily married mom
· When not singing: yoga, swimming, beaching, reading, traveling, hiking, cooking