Sorry for the two month hiatus but you know it is summer and I've been enjoying the heck out of it!!
As I sit and wait to see if a great idea pops into my head about my next blog post (remember I'm new at this), I'm reminded how I want to approach things in my life. I try to keep things simple. So, the obvious is to tell the story of how I came to start my business and how I came up with it's name. Maybe my story is different and maybe it's not.
In 1994, I was living in Southern California. I grew up in Orange County and just the year before I was studying classical voice at CSUN in the San Fernando Valley. I moved back to the O.C. to finish my degree but continued to venture to Los Angeles to hang out in all the hip jazz and music venues. During that time, all the best New York musicians would make the rounds at The Jazz Bakery, Catalina's Bar & Grill, Museum Venues and the Playboy Jazz Festival.
Amber, Cynthia and I at the Playboy Jazz Festival
(Back Story) I started to go out to hear live jazz during the mid 80's. You see I grew up in a musical family. My brothers, father, uncles and everyone we knew were musicians, so I basically started hanging out with musicians at an early age.
I was lucky enough to be around to hear musicians like Benny Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Shirley Horn, Cedar Walton, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin, Ray Charles and so many more. It was a fun time for me. Jazz made me excited, adventurous and left me feeling happy and alive.
Being a young twenty something woman, most of my friends and family were not into listening to jazz or even familiar with it. Frank Sinatra was jazz to them. I loved bebop, modern jazz and just plain music that swung. Just after the new year in 1994 I met Rudy. He was in his 60's and a huge connoisseur of jazz and lived in NYC in his early years. He would invite me to hang out with him at all the jazz spots in L.A. He even turned me on to many new (at least to me they were new) and classic recordings of singers.
So one night he took me to go check out a New York based trio lead by pianist Benny Green. There was a big article in the L.A. Times about his latest recording with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Kenny Washington. I was familiar with all the artist and heard them play at one point or another. I saw Benny play with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Christian with the Young Lions and Kenny through his recordings via the radio. The night Rudy and I were at the club (I subsequently went to the club 3 times with 3 different people to hear the band that week), we approached the artists to pay our respects. First it was Benny, who was chatting with Chick Corea who was in the audience. We were introduced and chatted. As we turned to walk out of the club, Mr. Kenny Washington was sitting near the exit. We stopped to say hello and that's where it happened!! I introduced myself and told him how much I enjoyed his playing, like most people did as they left the performance. We shook hands and that's when he said, "Where are you from?" I get that all the time from people who rarely can pinpoint what my heritage is. Anyway, I said, "L.A." like the smart ass that I am. "No", he said. "Where did you get that Copper Colored Skin?" Ok, no need to tell you the rest of this particular part of the story (maybe in a later post), except for a tiny bit of info about Mr. Washington. I found out later that during the late 90's and 2000's he was a host of his own radio show in NYC and a jazz historian. Like many jazz greats that came before him, he was a big nickname giver. Well, I'm happy to say that on that night, I was given the nickname Copper Colored Gal. Copper Colored Gal of Mine was a song recorded by both Fats Waller & Cab Calloway with his Orchestra between 1934-1937.
Everything came together after I chose the name. I will elaborate more on why & how I started my business in a later blog post.
Thanks for listening.
I just wanted to leave you with a little something before I go...
The Johnny Griffin Quartet featuring a young Kenny Washington on drums.