MP3 Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) - What's New, Pussycat?
Jazzy versions of cover tunes and originals about cats - and the feline sides of being human: wild & cozy, fierce & tender, cool & hot. This sensuous, inspiring CD is for lovers and cat lovers, the playful and the hip.
10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, SPOKEN WORD: Poetry
On her third CD, "What’s New, Pussycat?: Tunes & Tales about Cool Cats," Lisa B explores the magical contrasts embodied by the cat (and personified by humans): “both wild and cozy, passionate and independent, playful and fierce,” in her words. The new CD combines original compositions with Lisa B’s refreshing take on familiar songs by Burt Bacharach/Hal David, Graham Nash, and Cole Porter. It features the Bay Area''s best jazz musicians: Frank Martin and Ben Flint (keyboards), Danny Caron (guitar), Chris Amberger, Troy Lampkins, and John Shifflett (bass), Paul van Wageningen and Alan Hall (drums), and John Santos (percussion).
Here''s some early press on the record: "Lisa B is a wild ride...let her entertain you...you don''t trip over pipes like these everyday."--Midwest Record Recap
"The force is strong with this one... creativity on a level that will soar above many."https://www.tradebit.com
" "What’s New, Pussycat?", her newest, takes as its theme cats and their mysterious, independent behavior, but the result is sultry and witty and not at all precious. Some songs are overt in their references to their subject (the title track and the singer’s own "Slay Me (My Young Cat)"), some less so ("You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To"), but she sings all of them in a sensual, throaty voice. Lisa B is also a poet who has published two collections of her work, and here she weaves spoken-word portions into some of the selections. Her own songs are fun and sexy, and she brings a fresh voice to well-known songs. At first, I was reluctant to take "What’s New, Pussycat?" seriously because of its playfulness and overt sexuality. I’ve found that I play it all the time, and like it more with each listen.
Great musicians make "What’s New, Pussycat?" come alive and help Lisa B keep the atmosphere fun and swinging. Ben Flint’s keyboards on the first two tracks help set the tone, and Frank Martin’s clever piano playing on the rest of the disc complements Lisa B’s singing perfectly (check out the electric piano in "Cha Cha de la Gata (Kitty-Cat Cha)"). The recording is vibrant and detailed. "What’s New Pussycat?" is fun, impressively played and sung, and, yes, very sexy.--https://www.tradebit.com
Here are Lisa''s notes about the CD''s songs:
~ ~ ~I sang Burt Bacharach’s "What’s New, Pussycat?" as a little girl, and it was the first tune I thought of for this project. Scott R. Looney’s arrangement delivers just the right colors. I love the contrast with Tom Jones’ well-known version, and the joy of singing this waltz, with its references to flowers and makeup and lips, as one female to another.
~ Balancing the first track’s yin quality of romance, "Slay Me (My Young Cat)" has a yang quality of feistiness and challenge. When I wrote it, I was dating a younger man, and for the first time acting as a mentor in many ways to a partner. With its spare groove animated by funky pianist/cowriter Ben Flint, “Slay Me” plays with the pleasures of shifting power dynamics: “I’m so strong, I need a cat who stands his ground,/who knows how to roll in the grass/and how to lay me down.”
~ What ritmo embodies the back-and-forth drama of un gato y una gata better than a cha cha? I was thrilled to collaborate with Latin jazz maestro Wayne Wallace on "Cha Cha de la Gata (Kitty-Cat Cha Cha)," especially because more than 15 years ago, I wrote my first tune in his songwriting class. I also was glad I could fulfill my mother’s request that I mix some Spanish into my English lyrics, adding some sabor picante.
~ Although "Our House" includes only one line about cats, that’s the line everyone remembers best. It was a treat to record a stripped-down, acoustic ballad version, and to sing a rare song of pure contentment.
~ The longing expressed by Cole Porter’s "Night and Day" always seemed to me as spiritual as it was erotic. This version’s spoken-word sections call up the ancient magic of the cat and her association with incarnations of the goddess, from Bastet to Isis, from the huntress Artemis/Diana to the witches burned during the Inquisition. Her embodiment of fertility persists in nursery rhymes like “hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumps over the moon.” Magic moved me to improvise the end of this tune, and to pray that I may also live nine lives.
~ "Crazy Cat" existed (under another name) in a darting melody and poignant chords by Scott Looney that suggested this driving samba treatment and these lyrics. I now see that they echo the motifs that ring throughout this record: playfulness and heat, running and returning, longing and satisfaction – in short, the tension between the domesticated and the wild that is personified by the cat.
~ The Brazilian flavor continues with a bossa approach to "You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To" (another by Cole Porter; he must have been a cat lover). Because of my background as a poet, everything I do vocally aims to serve the lyrics and to express their phrasing, imagery, and story. One can really wrap oneself around these words.
~ The waltz ballad "The Home Inside" doesn’t have to do overtly with cats, but anyone who loves cats values the ability to create the essence of home, alone, and from the inside.
~ The poetry-rap tune "Warrior Cat" moves from the endless wartime that bombards us to a true warrior nature as revealed by the cat. We in the First World are easily distracted into ignoring the costs of our warmaking. Sometimes the only thing to wake us up is “words and music thrumming power and pleasure / ’til you spring up for your own truth, and tell it like treasure!”.
~ My nearly 19-year-old cat Malika, followed by her sister Camille, died a few months before I finished this record. When she was still alive, I wrote "When Malika Sleeps," a lullaby about the slippery slope between life and death that we creatures all must face. “Yes, the time we’re alive is a light between two dreams.” May we each have the bravery and vision of the cat, and may we leap as fearlessly. ~ ~ Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) ~
Raised in New York and Northern California, Lisa B grew up knowing many prominent jazz musicians, whose music and lives influenced Lisa since she was a small child. She studied piano since elementary school and wrote songs and stories. She wrote and studied poetry since her teens, going on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.
Two books of her poetry have been published, "Anorexia" (Five Fingers Poetry) and The "Transparent Body" (Wesleyan University Press). Her poems have appeared in more than 50 literary magazines and anthologies. She has received grants and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation, and Money for Women.
Lisa B’s many public poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay Area evolved into performances. One was a two-night, sold-out piece at the leading experimental theatre The Lab that included dancers and live music. Lisa B then began to focus on songwriting, singing, and music, studying first at the Blue Bear School of Music, then with renowned Bay Area vocal coach Jane Sharp. Lisa was soon gigging frequently, performing jazz and selected pop standards along with her own compositions. She has performed at more than 70 clubs, performance spaces, colleges, bookstores, and radio stations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York.
While often composing lyrics and music on her own, Lisa B also enjoys co-writing with musicians, including singer-pianist Barbara Higbie (Windham Hill, women’s music), Latin jazz trombonist-arranger Wayne Wallace (Spirit Nectar Records), and pianist and UC Berkeley jazz director Bevan Manson (A Records). A frequent collaborator is her longtime producer/engineer, the composer Jim Gardiner (Pharoah Sanders, Rickie Lee Jones, David Grisman, Seattle Symphony, and numerous Bay Area rap and soul artists).
Lisa B’s spirit of collaboration also yields new versions of existing compositions. Her previous record CENTER OF THE RHYME contains two: her poetic homage “Joe Williams Died Walking” performed with “Every Day I Have the Blues” and Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love” with new poem-raps composed by Lisa. On her previous record FREE ME FOR THE JOY, Lisa B’s heartrending poem “Trane’s Ride” is performed with Coltrane’s “Naima.”
Lisa B’s first recording, the EP BE THE WORD was played on more than 120 noncommercial and commercial radio stations nationwide in jazz, triple A, alternative, and new adult contemporary formats, charting or in heavy or medium rotation on a third of them.
The 1999 FREE ME FOR THE JOY is Lisa B’s first full-length release, on her own Piece of Pie Records. All originals except for one collaboration with Coltrane’s “Naima,” it includes such stellar players as John Santos (Machete) and Curtis Ohlson (Ray Charles’ band). FREE ME FOR THE JOY was added to the playlists of more than 85 commercial and noncommercial radio stations across the country in 1999-2000, including charting and heavy rotation. It was played in jazz, smooth jazz, college, triple A, women’s, new age, and other formats, with reporting by trade magazines R&R, Gavin, and CMJ.
CENTER OF THE RHYME, released in 2003, was a huge step forward in Lisa B’s creative development—jazzier and more acoustic than her previous release and revealing an evolved singing voice, new tunes that listeners won’t forget, and “an emotional range that makes lyrics sound like truth” (critic Ted Panken). Many of the Bay Area’s best jazz players appear, including Frank Martin (keyboards), Mimi Fox and Dave Yamasaki (guitar), Bill Douglass and Chris Amberger (bass), Paul van Wageningen (drums), Michael Spiro (percussion), and Daria (vocals). CENTER OF THE RHYME was played on more than 120 jazz and smooth jazz stations and shows throughout the U.S.