I’ve been around the saxophone my whole life. As a child growing up in a musical family, I always knew my Dad was home when I heard him trying to find a new reed.

Then next week I would hear it put to use on the latest Sinatra record!

Imagine my delight when I got a call from Chris Walden http://www.chriswalden.com, the busiest arranger in Hollywood, who had too much work and too little time. Could I write this one last chart for alto saxophonist Amy Dickson’s new CD? http://www.amydickson.com/

I was excited to accept the assignment, because of all of the buzz around Amy. In fact, it’s wonderful to live in a time when so many women musicians are getting recognized, including trumpeter Alison Balsom, whom I first heard In Berlin at the Echo Klassik Awards. alisonbalsom.com

But I digress….the song was “Skylark,” and with Amy’s beautiful sound playing the magnificent Hoagy Carmichael melody, how could I fail? The fact that Chris needed the chart in a few days gave me little time for anxiety and second-guessing. The result—the first of two Grammy nominations for me in 2014!


Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 9.11.02 AMI’ve always loved Latin music, because it embodies all of the qualities that touch me emotionally:  melody, lyricism, romanticism, and passion.  It’s not afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve!

“La Vida Nos Espera,” the arrangement for which I received my 2nd Grammy nomination (2014), once again brought my childhood to bear on my work.

As a child singer myself and the daughter of a professional singer,   I learned to appreciate phrasing, intonation, style, and the “it” factor, wherein the singer makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

GianMarco http://www.gianmarcomusica.com/ has all that and more.

His vocal performance, and the lyrics he wrote, coupled with Arturo Sandoval’s http://www.arturosandoval.com/ evocative and emotional melody were a gift I received when I got the call to write arrangements for GianMarco’s new CD, “Versiones.”  Like a Tiffany box, I slowly opened up “La Vida” and let it settle into my heart before I started.  Lucky for me, Arturo’s trust and encouragement (“I want the ‘Nan’ treatment”) allowed me the freedom to express my creativity to its fullest.

I’m grateful that my Grammy nominations this year can enable the discerning, listening public to embrace the emotional power and beauty—in the right hands– of the saxophone, the voice, lyrics, melody, and harmony!