In 1994 my sister-in-law read my future. She had been to Ecuador, and had brought back a bunch of future-reading Ecuadorian stones. They looked like stones to me. My sister-in-law, Neta, told me that they were special.
Neta asked me to think of a dream that had not come true, a great unfulfilled hope. It didn’t take me more than a second. My great big dream, I told her. I dreamt of singing someday like Sinatra with a great big fat big band.
Neta jiggled the stones inside the bag and asked me to pick a few. I did. They were the wrong ones. Their prediction was that I would never sing with a big band. Never.
Thing is, I don’t believe in Tarot cards, crystal balls or Ecuadorian stones. “I’ll prove them wrong”, I told myself.
Yossi Vardi told me about a big band in Tel Aviv that he and his friends liked to frequent. He got me the phone number of the director, Yehuda Cohen. I phoned Yehuda (with some trepidation), and made an appointment to see him.
More trepidation. Yehuda was not forthcoming, at least initially. I gave him a tape of my singing. He was not impressed. He even intimated that I was off key here and there (perhaps I was). He put on a track of his lead male singer, Danny Saguy. I was blown away. Sinatra would have loved to have Saguy’s pipes.
But I was not to let the stones get the better of me. I told Yehuda that it was my birthday soon. How about if I invited all my friends and family and bought out the entire theatre (about 80 seats)? He was won over. Big band performances are seldom sold out these days.
In the end my parents pitched in and invited many of their friends too. My Canadian friend Chris flew over for two days to be with me. He bought me a Sinatra hat. It was in November, 2004. I’ll never forget the date (it was my birthday, after all).
I practiced a lot. I had to. Singing with a big band is like sitting on top of a 747. Once the plane takes off, you are overwhelmed. Music envelopes you, the conductor leads you, the audience hangs on every nuance.
I had the time of my life. And then something amazing happened. Yehuda Cohen started inviting me back every now and then to appear with his big band. Not because of my great singing, I reckon (rather, he could count on my selling several dozen tickets for each performance).
Sometimes I would sing duets with really good singers. Like Sharon. And really great songs, like “Somewhere over the rainbow” . As the song says “And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”.
And you know what? Sometimes they do!
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“My Jazz Teacher”
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Published: Aug 14, 2014
Latest Revision: Aug 19, 2015
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