One of my highlights last week was having Phil and Keith over to our home. They are both such talented, sweet, charming and humble gentleman! It is truly hard to find musicians of such caliber who remain down to earth, friendly and so open to working with other musicians.
Before they came over, Phil had encouraged me to find some jazz songs that I wanted to learn and sing so I started searching for my favorites to rehearse together. When they arrived, we spent several hours singing, rehearsing and enjoying one another’s company. Phil kindly wrote down the chords for the songs as Keith played them so fluidly on the piano. They wanted to enable me to sing these songs wherever I have the opportunity in the future. Such kindness and thoughtfulness! I was amazed at how Keith so naturally transposed the keys to suit my vocal range. We practised three of my favorite songs, I’ve never been in love before, Unforgettable and Autumn Leaves. Phil and Keith also taught me one of Phil’s original songs called The Martyr’s Rose which is on their CD, China Skies. It is such a beautiful song with a lovely melody and moving lyrics.
Phil gave me a treasured gift - a huge book of all the songs he has composed (some of Keith’s are in there too as well as a few other musicians). I was amazed at how many songs are in there. At the end of the book are some articles of Keith and Phil performing in different places around the world. I was excited to learn that Phil and Keith had performed with Dizzy Gillespie in South Carolina in 1989 and Phil even composed a song about Dizzy called Remembering Dizzy. I am very touched by their humility. What is so unique about their music is that they take the sounds of a jazz combo and smooth vocals and blend it with traditional music instruments of China and Japan. Truly inspiring and extremely creative!
Yesterday evening I had another treasured opportunity to watch Phil, Keith and Viva perform at the Hilton Hotel in Beijing. I sang the three songs above that we had practised and it was such a joy to be accompanied by such accomplished and talented musicians. Phil and Keith, we are honored that you are here in Beijing and look forward to many more opportunities to hear your wonderful music. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world. For more information about their beautiful music, please click here.
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