The New Video from the SKY Album... Jeanne's Version of Bob Dylan's Classic "If Not For You" is now available on YouTube. close ×


Preamble To A Set List

How does one decide when there are many songs and albums to choose from? A lot of second guessing goes on at first. Then just settling into “hot sets” that have proven themselves. As well as remaining in the moment and playing off of the energy of the audience.

I will begin by playing SNOWLIGHT.
What shall I call this performance? Shall I name it since I am thinking of an orderly smattering of songs that start with the first album release 25 years ago? Or not?
This is a solo (piano and vocal) performance on a Sunday afternoon, end of the summer in the auspicious seaside resort town of Trinidad in Humboldt County on the California Coast. How about one of these for a name: Journey Of The Spirit, or Time Passages, or Soul Train? Ugh! Corny and Clichéd!!

After SNOWLIGHT, just start talking like this: It has been for 17 years that I have performed in concert in the Town Hall in Trinidad where the Redwoods reach for the Pacific Ocean. Where it feels like Home. KQEX Radio was the station to listen to in 1999. Steve Parlato and company! It was a crowded rainy night in February in this Redwood Concert Hall. The Trinidad Town Hall. You know about the magic here. I discovered the magic here that night. I forged friendships. There was a common love of intense nature and intense music. Eventually I experienced a 3 week songwriting sabbatical that took place in a beautiful house on Stagecoach Road. And an album emerged called “Sky.” So let me time travel with you from the beginning until today, August 14, 2016.


1. PAUSE It’s about love peace tenderness mercy grit and grace. It was my first album entitled “Novice.” The song, PAUSE reflected the awareness of our breathing process. Pause is the moment between the inhale and the exhale. The transition and the trust. The stillness and the silence vital to living well.

2. With the album “Conscience,” I started to expand and truly bare my soul. I was working as a service musician. Providing a soundscape to live events not unlike a composer provides a score to a movie. During this time destiny stepped in. Songs like this one (play “It’s Too Late” — Carole King), also from Phoebe Snow, Maria Muldaur, etc. became springboards to songs like this one. Play the original from “Conscience,” INSPIRE ME.

3. SURPRISE VISIT was written for my son. As a single mother, he had and always is a constant source of inspiration and purpose. He came in to visit me at the piano at the Orangerie Lounge in the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix where I was playing. He had just finished his run with the high school cross country team after school. As he said, he just “ran” by to say hi. I decided to write a little instrumental jazzy fun thing. I wanted to compose and play it without linear logical thinking. I realized I could now trust the technical skills I had so that a story could be created in the solo section.

4. MEETING PLACES With this album and title song, I finally felt I had a sense of community with my musical family, my band. We recorded four albums together. All were in the contemporary jazz realm. Matthew McKenzie on bass guitar, Dom Moio on drums, and Mark Prentice on guitars, mandolin, and a bouzouki I brought for him from Greece.

5.ZEBRA was inspired by the Serengeti in Africa. It is the most untouched place on earth. And one of the 10 natural wonders of the world. All 12,000 square miles of it. Then play the radio hit from the album, “Grey Mist At Dawn.”

6. What radio and retailers have named Smooth Jazz or Contemporary Jazz as well as traditional jazz standards and styles all evolved from original ragtime and the early piano blues era. I recorded one of these too! It is called “Cakewalk.” Play MAPLE LEAF RAG.

7. The album “Bedouin’s Paradise” (inspired by a poem by artist Gordon Wagner) was poised to make a big splash into the New Adult Contemporary genre that followed after my early New Age leanings. I rounded up a few big hitters like Peter White (originally from Al Stewart’s band) and Kirk Whalum (famous for his astounding sax solo on Whitney Houston’s version of I’ll Always Love You in the “Bodyguard”). So what is a Bedouin, you ask? A Bedouin represents the unconquerable spirit of mankind. How appropriate, I felt. That was resonant personally as well as humanistic. All the songs on “Bedouin’s Paradise” hark back to the Venice California beach and amusement park of the 1920s. There was wind and water, fun and games, and a roller coaster named RACE THRU THE CLOUDS. Play RACE THRU THE CLOUDS.

8.Read this paragraph out loud to the audience. “Wild Blue” was the first all vocal album. Some time had passed and I paused in my musical tracks. I was upset because I was lied to. There were broken commitments from radio power people that had promised to adding BUNCO MAN from Bedouin’s Paradise to national Airplay lists. They did not add BUNCO MAN. Consequently, I released a classical album dedicated to my Grandmother; a Hip-Hop digital CD under the pseudonym “Squashead”; an EP of stripped down versions of previous originals called “FRAGILE”; and took on the project of composing my first feature length film score for “The Legend Of Billy Fail.”I had dwelled in many new musical frontiers but the ultimate was still waiting. Releasing an album of all original vocals. A singer-songwriter release that would allow me to be free to use my voice on the tracks as I did in live performances. Previously, I was limited to following the protocol in the genres of new age and smooth jazz and contemporary jazz. And, I longed to delve wholly into writing lyrics full-time. I wanted to submerge into writing prosody, words and music together. Maybe it was because so many times as a young girl I came in second as a competitive swimmer. I needed to prove something to myself. I needed to move into first place for my own well being. I needed to command my efforts to engage my writing and my voice. The end goal being to give more love and grit (tenacity) to others. So, I shifted genres and officially incorporated singer songwriter onto my palatte. The first album of this era is “Wild Blue.” As it turned out, the album was picked up and I signed to BLIX STREET RECORDS, the label that discovered Eva Cassidy’s music and released her recordings. Here is the song that the record label president called the “soul of the album”, ANCIENT.

Closing notes: The previous set list ramblings were ultimately minimized and there was much more music than talking. The remainder of the concert played itself out with GLIDE, the title track from “Glide”, the sophomore singer songwriter album. Then after an intermission, we all returned to a second half of songs from “Sky” the album that represented the beauty of Trinidad, Humboldt County and the kindness of the people there. I sang and played through six or seven of the songs letting them unravel from one to another in a improvised intuitive order. The set list at this point was left behind. The audience response created an ebb and flow. It was a 2.5 hour concert including the 20 minute intermission. It was an astoundingly beautiful experience.

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For Children and Parents and Me

….from Haim G. Ginott (originally Ginzburg) teacher and writer

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated, and a person is humanized or dehumanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

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WHY “SKY” the new album


For Immediate Release

The Acclaimed Singer, Songwriter and Pianist Brings Her
Ten Years in the Making Labor of Love Project To Life
With The Dynamic Multi-Cultural Band Of Abraham
Laboriel, Kazunori Koga and Walter Rodriguez

​A mere twenty four hours after her triumphant return to the stage at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood after a five year absence, Jeanne Newhall and her powerhouse multi-cultural band gathered at Castle Oaks Studio up in Calabasas to record Sky, her highly anticipated new album that draws from a vast array of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s influences, from jazz and blues to folk, pop and R&B.
​Like many of the previous recordings in her diverse 23 year discography, including her recent recordings Glide (2009) and Blossom of Transformation (2011), Sky is released on Newhall’s independent label Marzipan Records.
​Sky, which includes 10 original pieces and a sultry and soulful take on Bob Dylan’s classic “If Not For You,” was recorded live in the studio over the course of two days with legendary Mexican born bassist Abraham Laboriel (whom Guitar Player magazine has called “the most widely used session bassist of our time,” with over 4,000 credits), Puerto Rican born drummer Walter Rodriguez (a protégé of percussion great Alex Acuna who has toured with numerous artists, including Yanni) and Japanese guitarist Kazunori Koga, who first played with Newhall in February of 2013 when she performed several shows in Japan.
​Kazunori adds both his acoustic and electric guitar mastery to the mix, while Rodriguez, a veteran drummer and a virtuoso percussionist who has studied with tabla masters from India, joins with Laboriel to create a polyrhythmic foundation for the tunes on Sky to take flight. ​
​“The song is what listeners choose to turn their hearts and lives onto,” says Newhall, “but I have always put a lot of value in working with musicians who have studied well and bring their own creative pieces to my projects. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform live with Abe, Walter and Kazunori, and it was wonderful working with them in the studio as these tunes came to life as well. Masters in the art of cooperation, they all play from the heart and bring a vast amount of experience to the recording, which helps them intuitively connect with my songs and overall vision.
​“Once that downbeat begins,” she says, “they are completely invested at a soul level, making a deep, intuitive connection, creating an environment in which I can be free and open to let go, be versatile and let the spirit of the moment lead me. This approach leads us to sessions that match not only the conception of the album, but also the music where it was composed and why. With this band, I feel I have a vehicle to express every emotion that went into the songs when I originally wrote them.”
​From the gently exotic opening track “Ocean” to the final, whimsical and easily rhythmic flight of “The Dove,” Newhall composed the songs of Sky over a long expanse of time (2004-2010) and on various visits sitting at the piano of a friend’s home, looking out the windows towards a bluff and the ocean in Trinidad, California–a seaside city in Humboldt County known for its vast Redwoods. She has performed numerous concerts in Trinidad at the town hall, whose piano’s history includes years in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s and a story that George Gershwin played it.
​True to the overall organic nature of the project, Newhall did not have a concept for a recording in mind when she first sat at her friend’s piano in 2004 and began composing pieces that evolved into the songs on Sky. “The room was wrapped in windows looking out over the ocean, and I found it to be the perfect visual environment to compose in,” she says. “I visited again in 2005, 2007 and 2008, each time checking in on the piano. Sometimes the inspiration was subtle, other times, as with ‘Hummingbird,” more direct. I saw one hovering outside the window and I had what I call a deeply religious experience where the quietude of the setting and the overpowering beauty of nature came together.”
​Allowing the songs to develop naturally in a long and deliberately slow building process, Newhall—while releasing several other recordings during this time—composed pieces that reflected and paralleled what was happening in her life at any given time. The result is a magical mix of emotionally charged tunes that alternately tap into her serious, sentimental side (“Rainbows To Rain,” “When They Lay His Body Down”) and her playful, whimsical side (“Hummingbird” and “Quinn’s Ride,” a liberating story about a young girl riding her pony along the beach).
After taking some time off from her whirlwind recording and performing schedule upon the passing of her brother in 2008, Newhall has emerged with some of her most dynamic and successful projects ever.
A year after releasing Glide, her comeback album, in 2010, she put out the Deluxe Edition of the collection that included a cover of The Wallflowers’ “6th Avenue Heartache,” which was featured on the ABC mystery-drama series “Happy Town.”
A devoted practitioner of Ashtanga Royal Yoga for more than 10 years, Newhall recorded and released her first yoga-centric album Blossom of Transformation in 2011; she dedicated the healing-based recording to her late brother. Last year, she added a second career spanning compilation, Spacious, Peaceful and Quiet, to her extensive discography.
“Since I began performing again in 2012, I feel like I have shed an emotional and spiritual skin and am enjoying a sense of healing, rebirth and transformation,” says the Phoenix born and raised, Los Angeles based artist. “There comes a point with every musician where you feel a unique call to share your gift and emotions with both the people who have helped support your career and others who are new to the experience. All of this is like emerging from a cocoon and rising on what I can only describe as ‘butterfly wings.’ The recording of Sky represents a benchmark high point in my life with people I communicate with mainly through music. The way Abe, Kazumori and Walter helped bring these songs to life and manifest my dreams for this project truly blew my mind. There were times when I actually had to take a break because I became so overwhelmed emotionally at the level of musicianship I was experiencing.”

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Good day all!

Four weeks from today I will be in the wonderful world of islandology known as Japan. It is with childlike delight that I look forward to my 2nd trip there this year! I have found a home away from home; a place that truly resonates with me on many levels including the spiritual. Japan, specifically the places I visited and performed in, Osaka, Kyoto, Ohara, and Tokyo touched me profoundly. The people that I met and performed for gave me much more than I gave to them. It is truly a gift to return to this place.

The newly designed poster by my friend Kouichi Sugioka, announces the first stop on my tour: LIVE SPOT RAG KYOTO. This marks the first of many DUO performances for guitarist Kazunori Koga and I. We hope to see you there on the 10th of October, Thursday evening in the lovely historic city of Kyoto, the land of 300 temples. How uniquely beautiful it is!

Stay well and stay tuned for my 20th album release of “SKY” coming September 24th, both digitally and on CD!! Go to my page on FaceBook to get your free sneakpeek download from “SKY” on Sunday….all my best,


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From the lyrics for the closing song on the new album….song title, The Dove.
“Where the water meets the sun, I run to. And, all there is, is you.”

Album coming soon!! Can’t wait for you to hear it.


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