This single, "I Love Myself When I'm Laughing" is a new song written early this year, but whose roots come from a long love affair with the writings of Zora Neale Hurston. Renowned author, Alice Walker, edited an anthology of Zora Neale Hurston's work, titled, "I Love Myself When I Am Laughing, And Then Again When I'm Looking Mean And Impressive." The anthology's title was taken from Hurston's quote -- her response to American writer and Harlem Renaissance photographer Carl Van Vechten's inquiry about photos he had taken of her.
Zora's powerful, poignant, writing has always offered me profound inspiration as a composer and writer. Many of the songs on the upcoming full-length CD will be my own compositions. I hope you will enjoy the music and lyrics here.
Joining me on this song is pianist, Ryan Hanseler; bassist, Lance E. Scott, Jr., and drummer, Larry "Q" Draughn. We performed this song on our recent tour in Johannesburg, South Africa for the Harmonica Jazz Foundation. My experiences there were life-changing - meeting the wonderful voices of the young men and women of the Soweto Melodic Voices Choir, and so, so many old and new fans. At Zenzalai Music records, we have decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this single to Harmonica Jazz Foundation, to assist in the amazing work they are doing to promote jazz and jazz education in South Africa.
The voices you hear on the recording are of some of the fantastic talents of the young men and women I work with at North Carolina Central University, and many are in the NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, which I co-direct. The vocals comprise Courtney Bailey, Jabril Graves, Michael Hanna, Candace Hudson, Samantha Williams and Gabrielle Simmons-Wright.
The song was recorded live, March 2011 by Jason Richmond at SoundPure Studios in Durham, NC, and mastered at The Kitchen Mastering by Brent Lambert.
Thanks for listening!!! Lenora Zenzalai Helm, April 2011
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