Way back in 1982, my friend Eric Baum composed "Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano" as a college graduation gift to me. The style was inspired by Claude Bolling's wildly popular "Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano", which was one of CBS Masterworks best-selling albums for the year it was released (1975). The three movements of Suite Esmerelda - "Dance of the Snowbound Grasshopper", "Shabbat", and Stone Ridge Rag, reflect our personal experiences in the year it was written. I played it for my senior recital at Lebanon Valley College in May of 1983, where it was instantly loved by my fellow music-major classmates & faculty.
After graduation, I carried that gift with me, from Pennsylvania to NY to Los Angeles. The manuscript survived an "earthquake eviction" and a half-dozen relocations over the years, always traveling with me in a small briefcase of "important stuff". But it was never performed again, until.....
Fast forward to 2020 - I've started my own record label (JoRazzal Music) and am now producing my own albums. I finally re-connected with Eric, and he gave me permission to commercially record and release Suite Esmerelda. Plans were in place to start the studio recording when....the Covid-19 pandemic put recording on "Pause". Still pressing ahead, I recruited piano-genius Bryan Pezzone to play on the album, and we managed to start rehearsing during the Los Angeles wildfires (I remember the smell of smoke and my eyes burning on the drive to his house!) I arranged for us to record safely at NewZone Studios the following week, together but in separate iso rooms. And although the suite was originally written for just flute and piano, I decided to create a second "jazzier" version with acoustic bass and drums, in the style of the original Bolling suites. I recruited bassist Miller Wrenn, and drummer Ellington Peet, to complete the rhythm section, and we went back to NewZone to record (once again, everyone in separate iso rooms) where I, as the producer, sat out on the patio with headphones & a mic, wrapped in a blanket!
Our need to reduce the number of people in the studio and follow pandemic safety protocols, means I have very few photos & no documentary video to share. And, when we weren't actually playing, we were wearing masks! Here's me and Bryan at the cover-photo shoot -
In the meantime, I applied for (and was awarded) a Small Business Administration Disaster Relief Loan, to help fund the album (since my normal music business income- live performing and in-person teaching) essentially disappeared during the pandemic. The cost of recording & releasing the album will come to roughly $9,000 (I'm able to keep the cost down, because I'm my own producer). Here's a rough breakdown of the estimated and actual costs so far:
Audio recording/ studio time $1,100
Session musicians $1,500
New bass & drum arrangements $675
Mixing & digital mastering $1,800
Artwork & album cover design fees $1,100
Misc admin fees (CDBaby distribution, bar codes, copyright, etc) $200
Mastering for vinyl $1,100
Vinyl pressing - limited run of 200 records $1,500
I'm hoping to get at least $5,000 to offset the initial production costs, the album art design (created by San Diego artist & flutist D.C Langer) and to cover the repayment of the $3,700 SBA "pandemic assistance" loan that helped fund the project. Any funds above $5K will go towards the vinyl pressing, other digital distribution fees, radio promotion, advertising, and the publication cost of the forthcoming sheet music. I'm hoping to be done with fundraising by May 31, 2021. And here's a sneak peek of the album cover!
Why vinyl, you ask? "Suite Esmerelda for flute & piano" is both a throwback and an homage to the album that started it all - Claude Bolling's "Suite for flute and Jazz Piano." I still have that vinyl album (along with the 1986 "Suite No. 2") displayed on a bookshelf! Want to follow along? I'll be posting backstory and updates on my album website Feel free to use the Contact Form on my website to be added to my mailing list and get updates delivered to your email.
Everyone who supports the album, will get listed & thanked on my website.
“No raffles, sweepstakes, giveaways or returns on investments are offered in exchange for any donations to this GoFundMe campaign.”
Thank you for your support!
Joanne Lazzaro, World Flutist
Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano, by Eric V. Baum (Composed: 1982)
1. Dance of the Snowbound Grasshopper
3. Stone Ridge Rag
4. Dance of the Snowbound Grasshopper - Jazz mix
5. Shabbat - Jazz mix
6. Stone Ridge Rag - Jazz mix
Joanne Lazzaro, Flute
Bryan Pezzone, Piano
with Miller Wrenn, Acoustic Bass, and Ellington Peet, Drums, on tracks 4,5 & 6.
Recorded: 2020 at NewZone Studio, Los Angeles
Recording/Mixing Engineer: Wayne Peet
Digital Distributor: CDBaby
Vinyl mastering: Scott Hull at Masterdisk, NY
Vinyl pressing: MicroForum (Toronto, Canada)
Anticipated release date: June, 2021
- James Matsuoka
- Jon Grier
- Thomas Strohman
- Timothy Land
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