As the whole world knows, New York City was devastated by COVID-19 this past spring and summer. In the first eight weeks, we lost more than 24,000 people, including my friend Jan Fornéy-Holden, may she rest in power.
In June, when the worst of it seemed over, the City started letting restaurants serve diners out of doors—in the streets, on the sidewalks, in parking spaces. That’s when we began to turn a corner emotionally.
And since August, my Brooklyn neighborhood has been graced with a home grown musical event — the “Prospect Heights Community Jam” — that was created and is now being curated by Viva deConcini (on guitar in the second clip, below) and Amanda Ruzza (on electric bass in the first one).
When I was a working musician in the 1970s and ’80s, world-class female drummers, guitarists, electric bass players, and horn players weren’t real thick on the ground. So it’s been a particular thrill for me to hear all of the above wailing in genres that range from soul to salsa to rock to jazz and beyond.
The message is loud and clear: We are one in all our diversity, and we will survive this moment together.
With that in mind, here’s some jazz, with Mara Rosenblum (keyboard), Rosa Avila (drums), Amanda Ruzza (electric bass), Beza Gebre (congas), Manuel Avila (guitar), and a guitar solo by my husband Jerome Harris:
And this clip of Brazilian-flavored rock — with, left to right, Viva deConcini (guitar), Fabiana Masili (vocals), Rosa Avila (drums), Dawn Drake (bass), Eliane Amherd (guitar) — lightens my heart each time I play it:
And If You’re Trying to Connect with Others…
Check out my workshop, Public Speaking in the Pandemic: Be Heard from Home.
A new cohort begins on November 2nd.