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Bassist Wanted - Tampa , FL ... Submitted: 11-22-2016 ... 15:06 EST
Bassist wanted for established southern outlaw country rock band. requirements are reliable transportation and gear, the availability to rehearse once a week and perform three to four gigs a month please no dependency or substance abuse problems. ... 6305440 ... Contact: James 813 458-2328

Keyboardist Available - St Pete, FL ... Submitted: 10-15-2016 ... 14:45 EST
Professional Keyboard player. Looking for a band or dedicated musicians wishing to form a band. Blues/Rock/Pop/Country Rock.Good level of musicianship required.I am a mature player with many years of professional experience of recording, TV and Radio performance and working with successful artistes in Europe.Open minded to all musical ... 2213513 ... Contact:

Guitarist Wanted - Springhill, FL ... Submitted: 09-25-2016 ... 10:24 EST
Very professional 3 piece band drums/bass/guitar looking for a very pro oriented 4th member to round out the type of music we are focusing on which is dual guitar Rock/Blues/Southern rock/Funk Blues. We do songs by Gov't Mule, Skynyrd, Foghat, Allmans, Meters, ZZ-Top, Jeff Beck, Jo Jo Gunn, Ram Jam, many more. Many songs are those that rarely get played as often as in the past, so please don't expect songs like Ramblin Man or Gimme 3 Steps to be on the list. Our goal is to play in all the popular venues and make a few $$. The 2nd guitarist must be adept at learning dual harmonies that are in m any of the tunes we cover. We hav e our own studio for practicing and at the moment meet twice a week. We're very anxious and would prefer a like minded individual to feel the same about our project. Thanks! ... 5851631 ... Contact: Joe

Bassist Available - Pinellas Park, TampaBay Area FL ... Submitted: 05-11-2016 ... 09:43 EST
Mature Bass Guitarist with Back Vocals Playing since 1965 Pro since 1969 From Monterey, California - Now permanently local Florida but can travel. Own Pro Equipment and Equip-Van. All genres of music played but not into; Heavy Metal, Head Bang, Hip Hop, Rap, Reggae, or Noise... Also limited ability on Guitar and Keyboards... I'm not interested in Tracks, Loops, and Machines, I am a live musician for other live musicians. Not looking for $50 Bar bands either... (NO DRUGS)... Sorry my list is all negatives but that list is much shorter and I don't want to waist anyones time. I do my homework so others are not standing around waiting for me to learn. I'm interested in Pro Groups or Pro Start-ups. So if you are an individual MorF or Band that sees eye-to-eye with the above information, PLEASE "E" or Call... I'm Ready, Steady, and Huggable :-) ... 9537177 ... Contact: (831) 238-8540

Vocalist Wanted - Clearwater, TampaBay Area FL ... Submitted: 04-19-2016 ... 14:50 EST
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Inn on Fifth Delivers Luxury Lifestyle with Fab Fourî Vacation Packages
Apr 07
Located on fashionable Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples, the Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites has announced four fabulous vacation packages that can be enjoyed all year long. These fab fourî packages combine the luxurious accommodations at the newly transformed 119-room inn with the irresistible appeal of its distinctive downtown locale, award-winning spa, and all the best Naples has to offer.
Guests can stay in one of 87 fully-renovated rooms and suites at the Innís original location, a legend in luxury, or step across Fifth Avenue to the recently opened Club Level Suites for a truly extravagant experience. The Club Level Suites feature added amenities and services, such as private rooftop retreat with a tranquil hot tub and sunbathing area, concierge service, buffet breakfast, afternoon refreshments, and evening cocktails and tasters.
For reservations or more information, call toll free (888) 403-8778, visit, or contact a travel professional.
ARIA Sky Suites Named One of Only 76 Five-Star Hotels Worldwide
Apr 07
Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its 55th annual list of Star Award-winning hospitality establishments worldwide and ARIA Resort & Casino has earned the prestigious Five-Star Award for its Sky Suites, joining an elite class of resorts.

“This well-respected award is recognition of our exceptional staff and their commitment to Five-Star service each and every day,” said Paul Berry, ARIA’s Vice President of Hotel Operations. “Recognizing how rigorous Forbes’ standards are, I am incredibly proud of our team and all they have accomplished as a result of their dedication.”

A luxurious hotel-within-a-hotel with expansive views of Las Vegas, ARIA Sky Suites provides an unparalleled level of stylish accommodations and exemplary service from arrival to departure. Designed for the most discerning guests, Sky Suites offers special touches within the 442 one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, as well as the 16 Sky Villas, single- and two-story retreats representing accommodations unlike anything else in Las Vegas.

From limousine transportation to and from the airport to a personal greeting upon entering Sky Suites’ private porte cochère, guests of Sky Suites receive dedicated attention from the expertly trained staff throughout their visit. Other special touches include a customized itinerary and show tickets presented when checking in at the Sky Suites lounge, private elevators and priority reservations and preferred seating for shows, dining, pool cabanas, nightclubs and more.

Michael Cascone, President and COO of Forbes Travel Guide, said, “The Forbes Travel Guide annual Star Awards represent the best in class in luxury hospitality. Travelers seeking exceptional experiences rely on our ratings to guide them to the world’s finest hotels, restaurants and spas. By continuing to evolve our ratings categories, we are establishing a global benchmark for the highest standards in hospitality service and facilities.”

For a detailed explanation of how Forbes Travel Guide compiles its Star ratings, visit To view the complete list of 2013 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners, visit

About ARIA Resort & Casino
ARIA Resort & Casino, a stunning AAA Five Diamond resort, features an unprecedented combination of spectacular amenities, high-end service, premium meeting and convention space, striking architecture and sustainable design. From unique culinary offerings created by the world’s most talented chefs to innovative nightlife, indulgent spa treatments and Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil, ARIA embodies the excitement and vitality of Las Vegas. ARIA is home to an incredible collection of stylish and technologically advanced accommodations including Sky Suites, a AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star hotel-within-a-hotel experience. Combined with CityCenter’s unparalleled amenities including luxurious shopping at The Shops at Crystals and the first-of-its-kind public Fine Art Collection, ARIA introduces a new generation of resort experiences, unlike anything Las Vegas has ever seen. CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World. For more information and reservations, visit or call toll free at (866) 359-7757; also find ARIA on Facebook and Twitter.

About Forbes Travel Guide and
Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide and originator of the prestigious Five Star ratings and certifications, has provided the travel industry’s most comprehensive ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas since 1958. Forbes Travel Guide has a team of expert inspectors who anonymously evaluate properties against rigorous and objective standards, providing consumers the insight to make better-informed travel and leisure decisions. The information gathered from the inspectors’ visits can be found along with content by curated hospitality experts, tastemakers, Forbes Travel Guide editors and correspondents at, online home of Forbes Travel Guide.
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Apr 19

Multi-instrumentalist David Franklin hears music and rhythm patterns everywhere in his day-to-day life whether it is machines, telephones, a vacuum, vibrating objects, a door closing or a baby crying; he uses these “found sounds” as inspiration or even directly in his compositions. In addition, whether playing piano, guitar, synth or percussion, Franklin usually is not content to simply pick up an instument and make traditional notes and melodies, but instead enjoys manipulating the music by trying unusual tunings, using reverb or distortion, recording the sounds backwards, or playing the instrument in an unorthodox style. All of this and more comes into play on Franklin’s latest recording, Songs of Potential Embrace, an eclectic collection of 16 pieces that could be categorized as new age avant-garde.

“I like sounds and I have been playing with sounds all my life,” explains Franklin. “I started out as a drummer, and I have always been a person who hits different objects just to see what it sounds like. Or I might spot a construction site, stop my car and go sing into an 80-foot pipe to find out what it does to my voice. It’s like there is a symphony of sounds going on around us all the time, and I often collect the sounds I hear by recording them on my phone. When I finally heard artists like John Cage and Steve Reich I realized I wasn’t crazy when I was hitting garbage-can lids and pipes. My guitar playing was hugely influenced by Michael Hedges because of the different tunings he used, and I found that open tunings, for example, push me to explore different places musically.”

Songs of Potential Embrace is David Franklin’s ninth album. He began as a folk-pop singer, did a Christmas solo piano album, released an experimental avant-garde recording geared to induce trance-state healing, and most recently released a successful instrumental melodic new age album (Playing With Shadows) which also featured renowned fretless bassist Michael Manring. That album spent two months in the Top 10 of the international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter Chart (the most important listing of successful new age recordings). Songs of Potential Embrace and other recordings by David Franklin are available as CDs and digital downloads through his website ( as well as many online sales sites including iTunes and Amazon.

Franklin believes music is one of humanity’s most powerful tools for healing, and he hopes his music will help listeners connect to their inner feelings and ultimately create more of a sense of connection in their lives. Franklin, who also is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Northern California, says, “Music influences us on many levels, such as relaxing us, making us feel better, serving as a bridge that connects us to ourselves and others, helping individuals form a deeper understanding of life, and serving as a healing tool.”

On Songs of Potential Embrace Franklin brings together elements of “found sounds,” avant-garde, new age and ambient music. “I like to explore some of the many different possibilities of music, and I don’t like limiting myself in creating music. The idea behind the album title is really asking the world a question. Can all the people of this planet try to understand our connectedness, and accept each other as part of humanity rather than rejecting one another because of religion or politics or anything we don’t agree on?”

The music includes new compositions, several tracks created specifically to accompany performances by a San Francisco dance troupe, and a couple of tunes originally on Franklin’s avant-garde Shadowlands album that have been reworked and remixed.

Several pieces are only acoustic piano -- “Mourning in America” (“I haven’t given up on America, but I am saddened by many things that have happened in our country”), “Inbal’s Theme” (a very slow, sparse, ambient tune created for a woman dying of cancer), “Shade and Shadow” (overdubbed piano about which Franklin says, “I like it when the music challenges me”), and the companion piece (also with two piano parts) “Shade and Darkness” (“I went to Italy last year and played this live while a dance troupe performed in this ancient square”). A couple of tunes are all synthesizer -- “Whirling,” “Ambient Fog” and “Xas10Shl (existential)” -- and one, “Allowing,” combines piano and synth.

Other music on the album features both piano and guitars. Regarding “The Failed Experiment of Consciousness,” Franklin says, “Global warming and climate changes are issues I am very concerned about, and I am cautiously hopeful the human race will wake up and rectify some of these uncomfortable truths.” On that tune he uses an acoustic baritone guitar with altered strings and an alternative tuning, and he adds some electric guitar toward the end. Another piano-guitar piece is the melodic “So Far Below” which uses the same altered baritone guitar and which was written in a cemetary.

The more experimental, avant-garde material on the recording includes “Calling” which uses a telephone ringing as a rhythm pattern behind an out-of-tune piano from the 1800s, a plucked violin and wordless vocalizing. “Piece for Vacuum and 3 Voices” uses a vacuum as a background drone sound with the voices capturing the feeling of music from India including a rhythmic tabla-like part. “RH Factor” features a backwards guitar and a baby crying (“The sound of a baby crying resonates deep within us biologically.”). “Swamps of New Jersey” includes an udu (an African hand percussion pot) recorded backwards, bass notes from a harp guitar (some bowed), water sounds from a drum with ballbearings inside, and stream of consciousness vocals. “Quotes” is comprised of snippets of conversations with troubled teenagers mixed with unusual guitar sounds -- a guitar lightly bumping against a shelf, a clicking sound from an electric guitar and purposely “cranked distortion.” “The Wildness” is a 57-second tune containing singing bowls and Franklin reciting a poem.

Franklin was born and raised in New Jersey. In the fifth grade he discovered drums, in sixth grade he picked up guitar and started writing songs, and in high school he was also playing piano and singing. He played drums in rock bands through high school and college, while earning a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science at Pennsylvania State University. While at college he also performed as a singer-songwriter. After college he worked in New York City for three years using his environmental degree and taking air samples inside office buildings while also playing keyboards in a rock band.

Wanting to make more of a difference by calling attention to environmental problems and solutions, Franklin took a year off to join 90 other environmentalists in The Global Walk for a Livable World, a year-long hike across the country. Along the way they spoke at schools, to the media and to politicians. Franklin wrote and recorded songs throughout the trek, and that music was released as an album, Our Children’s Only Home. The albums that followed also were primarily vocal folk-pop projects -- such as Patterns Yet Unknown and Strangers and Angels. Franklin also did a solo piano album called Traditional Christmas Melodies. Additionally he embraced avant-garde, experimental music with Shadowlands, his first venture to explore “found sounds” (such as the rhythmic sound of computer printers).

Franklin later returned to college and earned his Masters in Counseling and went on to become licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in working with teenagers, and often incorporating music into his work.

“Music can be a powerful healer and an important soundtrack as we access and understand the deeper parts of ourselves,” Franklin says. “Ultimately I hope this music helps some listeners experience a sense of connection to themselves and to others.”
Music CD Release
Apr 19

“I try not to limit myself to just one way of looking at things or doing something,” explains musician Nathan Speir. That philosophy has led to an eclectic and varied musical career with his recordings having been described as ambient chamber music, acoustic-ambient, piano-oriented new age, and avant-garde. His ninth album, Part of a Kindly Plan, continues his fascinating experimentation.

The new album mostly contains acoustic instruments -- acoustic piano, steel and nylon-string acoustic guitars, wooden flute, cello, harmonica, rain-stick and singing bowls -- but a couple of tunes also include a little synthesizer (primarily replicating a string-section). “In addition,” states Speir, “silence has a big place in my music and I pay a lot of attention to the spaces between the notes.”

Part of a Kindly Plan (on the Neptic Music label) and Nathan Speir’s previous albums -- Between Earth & Sky, Nathan’s Piano, Brighter Days, A Day of Poetry, Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 1, The Emotive Leaf, Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 2 (and the associated 3-song CD Warmth in Winter with additional instrumentation), and Improv 16 -- are available at his website ( and as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.

Some of the inspiration for Part of a Kindly Plan came from a poem by Thomas Hardy, “On A Fine Morning,” written in the early 1900s and printed on the back of Speir’s CD. Speir explains, “At the beginning the poem asks a question: What is solace? Hardy says it is not this or exactly that, but at the end he is happy and content because he says everything is part of a benign or kindly plan that is proof that earth was made for man. I liked the sentiments expressed so I paraphrased various lines for the name of the album and several tune titles.”

The first piece on the album, “Hued Embowment,” could be described as “vibrant ambient.” It features piano, cello and singing bowls. “I was feeling motion like tides going in and out, perhaps at sunrise.” The composition “As We Turn” blends an acoustic-steel string guitar with piano, rainstick shaker, some sampled tympani and synth strings. “There are lots of turns in life, and as we grow older our perspective of life changes.” On “Good Seasons” Speir primarily plays guitar (with a string section and a bit of cello) and says, “This was influenced by some of the early acoustic guitar bands I listened to such as Acoustic Alchemy and Wind Machine.”

For “A Taste of Solace,” Speir plays both piano and steel-string guitar to give the music some counterpoint. “We all need a time for stillness, quiet, healing, meditation and contemplation. It helps us physically, mentally and spiritually.” He notes that “Open Ranges” was influenced by trips he has taken to the American Southwest, so he added harmonica to this piano piece. On the rapid, melodic, piano-cello “Passing Charcoal Clouds,” Speir says he went for a neo-classical feeling (“This was inspired by Patrick O’Hearn and his versatility.”). To capture the right atmosphere on “Serenity In This House,” Speir started with piano and nylon-string guitar, and then added wind chimes, some noises from his home, and an oldtime squeaky round spinning piano stool.

The tune “Praxis” mixes nylon-string guitar and Native American wood flute with a rhythmic drum-sound created by Speir hitting the cello fretboard with his open hand. “The idea behind this piece is that everyone should chose a discipline of some sort, seriously practice it, persevere, improve, and also enjoy the journey.” Regarding “Familiar Orbits” (piano, synth string drone, cello and singing bowls), Speir says, “The title refers to many things -- astronomical bodies going around a star, the molecular energy within us and around us, and the regular pathways we follow in life.” The album ends with the very slow, nearly-nine-minute “Breathing On This Shore” (piano, strings and singing bowls) created by Speir at 62-beats per minute “like slow, regular breathing, perhaps during meditation on a beach.”

Speir was born in Southern California, but his father worked in the aerospace industry (including the Kennedy Space Center), so the family moved around and Nathan also grew up in Florida and Connecticut. “My appreciation for music started at an early age because my grandfather built an extensive high-end stereo system with more than a hundred speakers and he had a collection of more than a thousand classical albums. For several years we had the system in our house and listening to music on it was an awesome experience.” Nathan started playing piano at age eight and composing when he was twelve (“I remember one of my first songs was called ‘Suspenseful Dream’.”). “One of the things that influenced me the most as a child was seeing George Winston and Yanni perform on PBS television. In addition, my father turned me on to music by Cusco, Patrick O’Hearn and Tangerine Dream. I also took a course on MIDI music in high school.”

Speir attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and earned his Bachelors degree in Music Theory and Composition. “I took a computer with me to college and it allowed me to create music on the spot. I could work out ideas wearing headphones. I also helped make recordings of recitals and learned about recording gear. Part of my music scholarship required me to be part of a concert choir, and the college choir traveled to Europe and we sang some sacred works in cathedrals around Krakow, Poland.” In addition to music, Speir during his university days also was involved with visual art (drawing, illustrating and painting), and in recent years has designed most of his album covers.

After college, Speir, who now lives in North Carolina, began to actively record his own original music and release an impressive series of albums and singles that include recordings ranging from solo piano to all-synthesized as well as a combination of the two keyboard sounds sometimes supplemented with other instrumentation such as Native American flute, guitars and cello. He has sometimes recorded alternate arrangements of some of his compositions.

Speir draws musical inspiration from a wide variety of sources including modern classical, jazz, new age, minimalist composers and Sacred Byzantine music. “I got my Byzantine bug from my college choir director who turned me on to the modern religious-music composer John Tavener. In recent years I have produced three vocal albums by the group Byzantine Ark. I have spent a lot of time studying this type of music which precedes and has a different approach than Gregorian chants.” Other musicians who have influenced his music include George Winston, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Steve Roach (“who reminded me to not forget about ambient”), Harold Budd, R. Carlos Nakai, Chopin and Erik Satie. Speir also gets inspiration from his family, poetry, fine art, space and astronomy, the study of religions, and nature.

“I have a perpetual need to create,” explains Speir, “and making music teaches me many lessons in life. I hope that my creations enhance the ambience in the listener’s life, and in doing so, the listener holistically benefits. This kind of music lends itself to solace, relaxing, thinking and reflecting on life. Studying your inner life and identifying your personal beliefs is serious business, but I believe that serious things can bring great joy. I want the music to feel like taking a pastoral retreat, or going to space and then returning to earth, but afterwards feeling more at one with things. I feel strongly that each person needs to contribute in some way to our world. With my music I try to do my small part.”
Music CD Release
Mar 22

American pianist and composer Elizabeth Naccarato has musically captured one of her favorite places, Italy, on her sixth album, Souvenir d’Italia. The dozen instrumental tunes are like picture-book snapshots of an Italian adventure that includes sitting at sidewalk cafes, meeting friends at the Spanish Steps, driving through the countryside, dancing, serenading, romancing, wandering through cathedrals and museums, sampling regional gourmet delights, and feeling the passion of the people.

“I have a great love of the landscape, art, history, people and food of Italy,” says Naccarato. “I have visited there numerous times and traveled throughout the country. I get to visit my best-friend who married an Italian and lives in the hills above Florence. There are so many aspects of Italy that I truly love -- late-night dinners at outdoor cafes, standing at a bar drinking expresso, gelato displays, the architecture, twisted olive trees, waking up to exotic birds singing, procuitto e melone, buying handmade treasures, relaxing during chiuso after lunch, the churches, passionate people yelling outside, and the incongruity of women in black cocktail dresses on Vespas. There were remarkable images everywhere I looked and they conjured up this music in my head like an ongoing soundtrack. I needed to express how Italy makes me feel, and music is my canvas, my pen, my camera.”

On Souvenir d’Italia Naccarato plays solo piano on three pieces -- “Assisi,” “Andrea’s Forest” and “Venetian Boat Song.” On the other tunes she is joined by musicians playing accordion, violin, mandolin, saxophone, bass and drums in various combinations. “Of course accordion and violin are an integral part of traditional Italian music, but I also chose to add mandolin because my grandmother played a mandolin from Italy and I have cherished memories of listening to her play.”

“Walking through the cathedral in Assisi, I was so moved by those who had walked the floor of St. Francis’s tomb, I cried, and later poured those feelings into the tune ‘Assisi.’ The inspiration for ‘Serenade’ came from sitting outside one night at Cafe Etrusca in Fiesole having pizza and pasta with friends, and I heard the melody in my head. You always feel the frenzy of Rome and the excitement in the air when you go to the Spanish Steps. For my ‘Spanish Steps’ composition I imagined a romantic interlude at this famous meeting place.”

Naccarato remembers, “I wrote ‘Waltz Italiano’ after attending a First Communion celebration in Tuscany and I was struck by the sense of family importance and warmth. My fascination with the gypsies and their music in Italy inspired me to write ‘Intermezzo.’ The piece ‘Andrea’s Forest’ came from a bumpy drive to my friend’s villa in Fiesole. ‘Natasha’ is my ode to a dancer in the night and with ‘Tango” I tried to capture a dance of love. For ‘Summer’s End’ I was imagining a summer romance that did not work out, and the plaintive sax solo captures that sadness.” The album ends with an instrumental cover version of the classic “That’s Amore.”

Elizabeth Naccarato’s previous recordings are Jarrell’s Cove (inspired by the coastline of Puget Sound near Seattle and produced by pianist Michael Gettel), North Sycamore (named for a street in West Los Angeles where she spent an early stage of her career, with special guests oboist Nancy Rumbel and saxophonist Richard Warner), Stone Cottage (inspired by a special residence with a wild garden), One Piano (a collaboration with Gettel) and History (combining some of her best work with both new and live performances). Naccarato’s recordings are available internationally and have received excellent reviews, airplay and sales. Souvenir d’Italia can be purchased as a CD or downloads at a wide variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Google Play and dozens more. For more information about the artist, visit her website at elizabethnaccarato dot com.

A native Texan, Elizabeth began her piano studies at the age of six at the Dominican Convent in Houston. She won her first piano competition at the age of nine and performed and competed in local and statewide events. At that time, her voice instructor noticed her ability for composition, and she became a student of Bessie Griffiths and Ruth Burr, studying piano and theory many hours a week. Elizabeth was a Piano Performance major at the University of Southern California where she earned her degree and where she studied with Daniel Pollack and John Perry in Undergraduate and Graduate studies. Naccarato was a three-time winner of the Hollywood Alumni S.A.I Scholarship as well as a highly-coveted Teaching Assistantship in graduate school. She continued her writing as a member of the Lehman Engel workshop in Los Angeles. She also studied acting and directing for four years with Janet Alhanti. Naccarato has performed her music extensively in Texas and on the West Coast.

Naccarato joined the Annie Wright Schools faculty in 1999 and has been affiliate faculty at The University of Puget Sound since 1989. Much of her instruction is in piano and voice, but she also has directed dozens of regional theater presentations of plays and musicals including “Grease,” “Annie,” “The Wiz” and “Steel Magnolias.” She will release a piano book for children titled Let's Play Piano in 2017. She also has another trip to Italy planned for this year.

“Souvenir d’Italia is a special project for me,” explains Naccarato. “I am the most peaceful I have ever been when in Italy. It simply feels like home to me. I knew I needed to journal my love for it in music. I needed to express how it makes me feel. When I was there, everywhere I went and everything I saw inspired me. I hope this album also serves as a souvenir and reminder of the warmth and wonders of Italy whether the listener has visited there or hopes to someday.”

Music CD Release
Mar 01


Regarding the gentle, melodic, instrumental music on the debut album Sanctuary for the Soul by the Janice Lacy Project, Lacy says, “I want my music to serve as a sanctuary, a refuge, a place of safety, peace, healing and joy, where listeners can go when they need to escape from the pressures and stress of the world around them.”

For this recording, Los Angeles-based pianist and composer Janice Lacy joined forces with several of Southern California’s top musicians -- pianist and keyboardist Rob Mullins (who also arranged and produced the album), cellist Jeness, bassist Larry Antonino, and drummer and percussionist Tony Braunagel. “It was a joint effort, so we decided to call the group the Janice Lacy Project,” explains Lacy. Their album collaboration contains 14 tunes, all composed by Lacy, including a couple of solo piano pieces, numerous piano-cello duets, and a few numbers with the sound augmented by bass, drums, percussion or synthesizer. The music has strong appeal to lovers of new age music as well as the genres of neo-classical and gentle-jazz.

Sanctuary for the Soul is available as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes. Samples of the music may also be heard at Lacy’s website (JaniceLacyMusic dot com).

Lacy studied classical music for many years, including eight years of classical repertoire and theory with Joe Weisberg (Erich Leinsdorf, Frank Murphy), and in-depth analysis of the musical scores for many classic operas with members of the San Francisco Opera Company. With her producer Rob Mullins, she also studied jazz and improvisation.

Rob Mullins, in addition to being a multi-genre producer, is an esteemed Grammy-nominated jazz recording artist with 30 albums. He has worked with Hubert Laws, The Crusaders, The Rippingtons, Dave Grusin, Branford Marsalis, Kirk Whalum and many other top jazz acts. Jeness has toured the world performing with James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, K.D. Lang and the La Scala Quartet. Larry Antonino, a member of Pablo Cruise, has recorded with Barry Manilow, Ronnie Laws, Air Supply and Shelby Lynne. Tony Braunagel has worked with Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Bette Midler and Eric Burdon, among many others. Consulting producer Greg Scelsa also is a Grammy-nominated artist (Greg and Steve).

Sanctuary for the Soul begins with the piano-cello duet title track. Lacy explains, “Deep down we need to feel safe and have a place to go when life’s storms come along, and for me that place, that sanctuary, is music.” The slow, delicate “Take Care of My Heart” comes from Lacy’s realization that “the heart is fragile and easily broken, so be careful.” The upbeat “Everything’s Alright” is a positive solo piano piece (“Life is good if you have love in your life and someone to count on”). She continues the theme of love with “Lovers’ Flight” (“when you are in love you can be so happy you feel like you are flying”).

“Through The Shadows” was composed by Lacy about “how hard it is to find your way through the trials and tribulations of life, especially when you lose a loved one.” Similarly, “December Goodbye” was composed in memory of her father. Lacy says the composition “Refuge” is about how “spiritual life and religious beliefs can be a place of refuge for many people.” “Prayer” was “influenced by all the spiritual music I heard in church over the years inviting us to pray.”

The music of “Sunrise Dance” came from “when you wake up in the morning very positive about the day’s potential.” Lacy says, “I live a mile from the Pacific Ocean and I get inspired by the beautiful scenery and coastline around here so I wanted to write about it and I came up with ‘Shimmering Ocean’ and ‘Crystal Harbor’.” She penned “Jim’s Waltz” as “a gentle dance of love for my husband.”

Exhibiting a more ensemble and jazzy feel are “Full Moon” (“One night when Rob was in the studio working on this one there was a huge, bright moon hovering over Los Angeles”) and “Tell You That I Love You” (“When you love someone it is important to tell them once in awhile”).

“The collaboration with Rob Mullins and the other musicians was fantastic,” states Lacy. “I have always loved cello, and especially the interplay between piano and cello because it is so warm and full of feeling.”

Janice, at age three, got her first piano lessons from her mother, and they often played duets. When she was six, Janice started formal lessons with a teacher and began learning to read music, and by ten was seriously studying Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. She began composing music when she was 15. “I have always enjoyed composing more than performing. Melody has always been my thing. A good melody is the foundation, the keystone for me.”

Lacy explains that “I have always loved analyzing music, figuring out what makes it beautiful, following the movement of the chords and finding which progressions are the most emotional, and learning how you can instill drama by changing the key or the groove. I remember in high school tearing Beethoven pieces apart to see what chords he used and then charting it all out so I could really see how he developed his music. I enjoy exploring the technical aspects of music theory and understanding why certain things work.”

In addition to classical music, Lacy was influenced when she was young by popular and jazz music, and the folk music that was indigenous to her native Ohio. Lacy grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and got her BA degree at Miami University in Ohio and an advanced degree at Ohio State University. “When I was in college I could not pass a practice room with a piano in it without going in and playing.” Lacy’s close friend was a fiddle-player, so she taught herself how to play dulcimer so they could play folk, bluegrass and “old-timey” music at folk festivals. “I had a lot of different musical experiences over the years.”

She remembers, “It seemed like every musical act of that era came to perform and I went to many concerts and saw artists such as Frank Zappa, Gordon Lightfoot, Bette Midler, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Yes, Earl Scruggs and lots more. I liked R&B from Stevie Wonder to Luther Vandross. I deeply admired Burt Bacharach’s work. I also started going to a jazz club in Cincinnati, and began listening to artists like Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Corea and Return to Forever. I have always liked a wide diversity of musical styles. Later I went through a period of studying the music of operas because it is very lyrical and melody-oriented and dramatic because it helps tell the story, and I learned how to incorporate some that into my own music.” Lacy was also influenced by new age pianists George Winston, David Lanz, Jim Brickman, and David Nevue, and by Will Ackerman’s work. “I was inspired by these artists, and realized as I composed that I kept returning to the new age genre as a way to express myself.”

“I wrote the music for Sanctuary for the Soul over the past few years,” states Lacy. “It was sort of an explosion of music for me. I felt I threw off the restrictions of playing strict traditional classical music which stresses interpretation and technique. I embraced the freedom and improvisation of new age and jazz. I felt free to express however I felt when I sat down at the piano which meant the music might be happy or sad or introspective or spiritual. My goal was to be able to impart those emotions with my melodies, and also have the music be gentle, relaxing and peaceful, to sooth and nurture the listener.”
Music CD Release
Mar 01

Moving one's home great distances can have great, even profound, effects on nearly anyone, but this may be especially true for musicians. From the moment she set foot in the Aloha State, classically-trained New Age violinist Nancy Shoop-Wu found herself under the islands' magical spell. The result was a burst of creativity for the consummate musician as she blended both genres she loved, combining them with the musical culture of her new home, to craft beautiful music with appeal across a variety of spectrums.

Born in Connecticut, Nancy Shoop-Wu began playing the violin at age 9, encouraged and bolstered by her music-loving father, a trumpet player himself, and her pianist mother. A fan of many styles of music, her father would whistle songs she was learning while the two bonded over cooking or doing chores. Tragedy struck three years later when he passed away when Nancy was only 12. However, the painful loss became the catalyst for Nancy to get serious about her goal of becoming a professional violinist.

Her musical studies took her first to Hartt School of Music followed by Yale School of Music, where she studied with renowned violin teachers Paul Kantor and Ida Kavafian. While still in conservatory, Nancy began auditioning for professional orchestras and received her first position with the Filarmonica de Caracas in Venezuela. After nine months, she returned to the U.S to finish her training. Within a year of graduating from Yale she had won positions in New Haven Symphony, Hartford Symphony and Orchestra of New England. It was her next stop, however, which would change her life in a much more drastic way, when she successfully auditioned for a chair with the Honolulu Symphony and moved to Hawaii.

Once rooted in her new home, Nancy quickly developed a love and affinity for Hawaiian music, even as she was equally beguiled by the natural beauty which surrounded her. As a member of the Honolulu Symphony she began to explore a broader musical world, sharing the stage with not only top Hawaiian musicians, but also classical and genre crossing superstars from Yo-Yo Ma to Bela Fleck. At the same time she also began to reconnect
with her love for Celtic and New Age music, particularly the piano music of George Winston. Like a slow-cooking stew, these various influences and inspirations blended over time inside the talented musician.

Then, in 2009, the Honolulu Symphony went bankrupt. This circumstance, much like the death of her father, became motivational for Nancy. Without a creative outlet, she yearned to ignite her creative spark, to share the beautiful melodies that had been coalescing inside her and reveal her musical vision and talent to a larger world. After hearing the soundtrack to the film Departures (composed by Joe Hisaishi featuring cellist Nobuo Furukawa), she was inspired to compose her own songs featuring the violin. Calling forth her muse, she
began to compose in earnest finally finding her unique voice as a composer by blending her love of New Age, Hawaiian and Classical music.

Results sprung forth with two albums, Beautiful Mana'o followed by Rainbow Road (both were produced by Derek Nakamoto and feature two of this era’s most-acclaimed Hawaiian slack-key guitarists, Jeff Peterson and Ian O’Sullivan). The latter album was a finalist for Hawaii's Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2016. Nancy is re-releasing Rainbow Road in January 2017 with bonus tracks from her first release Beautiful Mana’o.

Nancy Shoop-Wu's life evolved in a life-altering and affirming way with her move to Hawaii. She states, I have had the privilege of living in Hawaii for half of my life and have found my home here on this 'Island of Rainbows.' I was raised in Connecticut, but it was in Hawaii that a new dimension of musical expression and spirituality opened up for me. I wrote these songs to uplift and transport the listener’s heart beyond their daily existence to a another world – the world of beauty and wonder that lies within us all.

Known for her soulful and expressive playing, violinist and singer/songwriter Nancy Shoop-Wu blends her love of new age music and classical training with the impressionistic magic of the Islands of Hawaii. These uplifting songs for violin, piano, Hawaiian guitar, acoustic bass, drums, and percussion capture the beauty and Aloha spirit of Hawaii. Rainbow Road is Nancy’s second CD and was a finalist for Hawaii's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2016. This 2017 re-release of Rainbow Road includes bonus tracks from her first recording, Beautiful Mana’o. Nancy’s consummate musicianship on the violin is framed by pianist Derek Nakamoto who also produced this album. Rainbow Road also features two of this era’s most-acclaimed Hawaiian slack-key guitarists, Jeff Peterson and Ian O’Sullivan as well as Nancy's debut as a singer on the track Carry Me Home.
Music CD Release

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