I will let Joanna Sternberg — ace string bassist, singer, composer, guitarist, whimsical visual artist — introduce her new trio for herself . . . eloquently and naturally, as she does all else:
I am so thrilled and emotionally levitated to be singing and playing double bass in a trio with Joe Cohn on guitar, and Dan Block on tenor saxophone and clarinet. They are two musicians who share the same rare trait: nothing separates their minds, hearts and souls from their respective instruments. They provide selfless services to music on a daily basis.
Dan and Joe love, live and breathe music, whether they are playing a gig or walking down the street. Every note is treated with appropriate attention and care in the correct “spirit of the song.” Dan’s rich and warm (yet bright) tone is complimented by Joe’s sensitive and lively sound, as they gracefully listen to each other and draw inspiration from each other’s rhythm and note choices.
My job is to be selfless while gleefully listening to (and reacting to) them, and lay down a bed (or a carpet) of sound for them to play on, making every note they play sound “right” whether they choose to stay in the traditional chordal progressions, or impose new harmonies which are always creative and soulful and true to the spirit of the song.
I am honored to be playing music with them, and we hope to perform multiple times a month. We share a love and appreciation for the music of Billy Strayhorn, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Ray Noble among many others.
We hope to release a record this year, and do a concert performing the music and arrangements from “Moody Marilyn Moore.” This is an album featuring Joe Cohn’s mother Marilyn Moore singing, and Al Cohn (Joe’s dad) on tenor saxophone (and arrangements.)
When I “play” music with Dan and Joe, it is a form of concentrated play. I am having a lot of fun, while trying my best to focus on serving the music properly. In order to do this, I have to conceal some of my excitement so that my playing is not exactly how I feel (which is a mixture of butterflies inside, and deep gratitude.)
I am usually smiling the entire time, unless it is a heart-wrenching ballad.
ON THE ALAMO:
A FOGGY DAY:
THREE LITTLE WORDS:
I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN (where Joanna takes her own decidedly un-Sinatra approach!):
More to come. Finding this trio in their debut performance made the trip to Red Hook, Brooklyn (past the reach of the subway, any subway) rewarding. And, yes, cabs go there.
May your happiness increase!