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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Jojo & The Pinecones—Soundtrack for Kids!

The new season of BAMkids Music Series starts on November 4 with Jojo & The Pinecones, jazz concerts for kids with swing. (And what kid doesn’t?) The concert has a theme of “Day and Night”—it wraps a kid’s daily routine around a dozen jazz standards and original songs. Call it a “soundtrack for kids” as they go through their everyday activities. Below, Joelle Lurie, the “Jojo” of the band, explains the conception and the execution of the concept.

Q: How are songs chosen?

A: It was a team effort between myself and my co-producer/co-writer, Ben Gallina. We wanted our album, Night & Day, to go in chronological order—from waking up to going to sleep. Another idea was of mindfulness, awareness, and togetherness in daily life. The moments that make up your day and night, the people that you share those moments with and activities that come with it. We wanted the “Day” part to feel energizing and exciting—faster, more upbeat songs to play while getting ready for the day, whereas the “Night” part is more soothing, chill and relaxing—something to get ready for bed and go to sleep to.

Q: There are existing standards, such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “How High the Moon” that fit into this concept, although presented in a different context. Then there are the new songs written to fill in the blanks. How were the original songs written?

A: We thought of the clock/schedule from morning to night, and how to try to represent each moment of the day with a song. It was a cool trip down memory lane to our childhoods, for both of us.

We also did research by asking all our friends, musicians and non-musicians, what they listened to growing up. Ben and I would meet and spend afternoons listening to all of the music our friends pointed us to.

Q: It also sounds like you made some special arrangements.

A: The arrangers in the band did an incredible job creating songs with grooves accessible to both kids and adults. There are parts of the arrangements that a sophisticated musician could dig, but that aren't too complicated for kids to listen to. We really wanted to strike that balance.

Q: How was your experience playing for kids?

A: It's fun to play for an audience that is super engaged, joyful, and that are simply excited to hear music being performed right in front of them. Teaching kids about the instruments is always a special experience, as is the challenge of getting each kid to move to the music, even just a little bit from their seat.

Kid audiences are open, fresh, curious, and full of joy. It still has its challenges, but to me it feels simpler, lighter and very meaningful. They remind me why we grownups fell in love with music in the first place.

Jojo & The Pinecones will perform at BAMcafé (30 Lafayette Ave) on Nov 4 at 10:30am and 2pm. You can listen to the music here.

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