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STAY SALTY ...... means column

Atsuko4Jazz Column

Chasing the Muse

~A Jazz Singer's Newsletter from New York

Jazz Singer

Lives and works in New York/Hometown, Nagasaki.
In 2000, I came to study Jazz in New York, the home of Jazz.

Time flies and it's hard to believe I've lived in this city as long as babies grow up, but I never get tired of this music-filled city. 
I would like to express my gratitude that I have been able to live in this city because of jazz.

I hope to share with you stories about my favorite city, New York, and the wonderful New Yorkers who live here.

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DAYS / Atsuko4Jazz Column

Chasing the Muse  ~A Jazz Singer's Newsletter from New York

Happy Valentines Day from New York!


How are you all? 

It was extremely cold during the Christmas season last year but so far we enjoy a mild winter this year. 

When it comes to February, Yes, Valentine's Day! 

In the U.S., it is the opposite of Japan, men send candy and flowers to women.

Here, "candy" means sweet treats including candies and chocolates, but I'm getting to find more fancy chocolates for Valentine's Day recently. 

Japanese girls without a partner in the U.S., especially in this season, know how boys feel so blue without getting any chocolates from girls in Japan. It's true! 

When I see some guys with flowers or a big stuffed animal on the subway, I always praise them in my heart. It's my favorite heartwarming moment.  

When I saw the couples so in love, I said to myself, "Yes, my turn would come soon! " 

Even if you are alone now, Don't Worry, you are sure to meet someone wonderful who is waiting for you! 


I started noticing some decorations for Valentine's day all around,  Let me introduce some pictures I took! 

I found this heart graffiti by chance,  It is the work of HEKTAD, a Graffiti artist from the Bronx, New York, so Cool! 


The window display at Saks Fifth Avenue, an upscale department store, Yes, very stylish!

Americans love m&m's very much! The Love shaped clear cases are filled with red, white, and pink marble chocolates.


CVS pharmacy sells not only candy, but also stuffed animals like this!


Marie Belle is a famous high end chocolate shop in SOHO. So Lovely display!



This is a public artwork that suddenly appeared in Times Square on February 1.


 "Love's h|Edge”,  by Almost Studio, This year's winner of the Valentine Heart Design Competition sponsored by Times Square Art.

You can take pictures with this artificial arty hedge all through the month of February!


Do you know this famous jazz song "My Funny Valentine"?

Actually, I have never wanted to sing this song but I will have a showcase near Valentine's day, so I decided to work on it.

Here is Atsuko4Jazz's translation of "My Funny Valentine"!


My Funny Valentine, Sweet comic Valentine

You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable, un-photographable

Yet, you're my favorite work of art


Is your figure less than Greek?

Is your mouth, a little weak?

When you open it to speak, are you smart?


But don't change a hair for me,

Not if you care for me

Stay little Valentine, Stay! 

Each day is Valentine's day!


It looks like a terrible song at a glance but I feel the lyrics are full of so much love.


And here's my favorite "My Funny Valentine" . 

I chose 2 clips which were sung by so cool guys. 

The recording by Chet Baker in his younger days is very touching but sad.

Chris Botti, a popular trumpet player, invited a superstar Sting to his stage. 

Sting sang this song to his wife. This is so awesome and looks like a one scene in the movie.

I'm sure this performance would melt ladies' hearts.

Someone told me that February is a month full of love, especially this year.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Happy Holidays!


DAYS / Atsuko4Jazz Column

Chasing the Muse  ~A Jazz Singer's Newsletter from New York

Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays, everyone!

How are you doing during the holiday season?


The holiday season has begun in New York City since Thanksgiving in November.

The greeting that is exchanged during this season is "Happy Holidays!

Since New York is home to the United Nations, there are people from at least 196 different countries living here.

It is normal to have different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, languages, and customs.

Because they are so different, it is normal for them to be different, and they get along well while respecting each other here in New York.


In December, there are many festivals such as Hanukkah for Jewish people, Kwanzaa for African American people, and Christmas for Christian people.

Therefore, the greeting exchanged at this time of year is "Happy Holidays!

This is a greeting that respects each other's religion, ethnicity, and customs, and is very cool!


And in December, we must not forget the anniversary of John Lennon's death, December 8.

Strawberry Fields was created by Yoko Ono and the City of New York to keep the legacy ”World Peace” of John Lennon, who was killed by a fan's bullet in front of his home, the Dakota House, in 1980, alive for future generations.

I went there for the first time on this day finally because I heard his enthusiastic fans gathered to sing and pray the entire day


The mosaic is a place for people to reaffirm the transience and preciousness of life, to be thankful for being alive here and now, and to pray for world peace.

At the mosaic of Imagine, people are constantly taking turns to take commemorative photos.


As expected, today it is crowded during the day, and everyone is singing along to one Beatles song after another.


This year in particular, the world was shocked to learn that wars do happen, and we were shocked to learn that a former prime minister was killed by a bullet in Japan, a country we had believed to be at peace.

I hope that all people on earth will regain peace of mind and be able to spend time with their loved ones.


In New York City, Christmas tree vendors line on the streets after Thanksgiving.

New Yorkers are still love live trees, and when you walk by them, you can smell the delicious aroma of the trees, which makes you feel relaxed and relaxed.


At first I thought, what? Just for one winter? How pitiful! But after New Year's, the trees are properly collected and recycled. The larger trees are used as building materials, and the smaller ones are turned into chips and placed at the base of trees in the park to protect them from the cold.

Since the tree was born and raised as a Christmas tree, it should be appreciated by as many people as possible for its beauty and good smell,  protect the presents placed under it until Christmas, and after fulfilling its role, it should return to the soil or take on another form in the next location. I think this is the cycle of life, or perhaps it is a way to cherish life. I hope all of them go to good homes as soon as possible!


Speaking of New York City at this time of year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a must-see.

This year, the lighting ceremony was recently held on November 30, and I went to see it as soon as I could.


As expected, I was shocked by the huge crowd, but the closer I got, the more I could only say, "Oh, it's so beautiful! 

It is truly amazing, and I think it is the best tree in the world, even though I go every year.

Please come and see the actual tree sometime during this season.

By the way, this tree will be up until New Year's, so there is no need to panic.

Everyone here is in a holiday mood until January 1, and the next day, the world is surprisingly normal.

And the next day, the world will start moving in a surprisingly normal way.

Well, since we have been in the holiday mood since the latter half of November, it's a new year and we should get back to the normal mode! I guess that's what it feels like to be back to normal mode.


Finally, I would like to share with you a song, The Christmas Song ~ Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!


I love this song so much that I would sing it all year round if I were allowed to.

On a hot, hot day in the middle of summer, Robert was at home writing a few lines of a poem he had written about a winter scene, when Mr. Meltme appeared on the scene.

They decided to experiment to make it a little cooler, and wrote the song in about 40 minutes.

Isn't it amazing that this masterpiece was written in such a short time, and in the middle of summer!


The duet by Mr. Mel Torme and Ms. Judy Garland will give you a good old-fashioned American Christmas feeling!


And Mr. Nat King Cole sings beautifully too!


And as an added bonus, here is my performance taken alone when I was unable to perform with the musicians during Covid.

Please have a wonderful holiday season and a fabulous 2023!

I'm celebrating for you from New York City!


Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 



DAYS / Atsuko4Jazz Column

Chasing the Muse  ~A Jazz Singer's Newsletter from New York

Autumn in New York


Greetings, I am Atsuko, a jazz singer from New York City.

Muse is the Greek word for the goddesses of music and the arts.

I came to New York in 2000 with only a dream to study in the home of jazz.

My life in New York has been full of ups and downs, but I still feel super lucky to be able to continue to live in this city.


November is also my birthday month, and it is the most wonderful time of the year in New York, so I feel very happy.

This year, the leaves seem to be changing colors earlier than last year, probably because we had a period of cold weather in October when the heaters were turned on.


The trees in Central Park are changing colors, and when I walk around the city in the dazzling autumn light, I feel as if I am in a movie.

I feel as if I am in a movie. (It's true!)


I recommend "When Harry met Sally" as a movie that reminds me of autumn in New York City.

When harry met sally.jpg

It's a very old romantic comedy with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, and the music director is jazz singer and pianist Harry Connick, Jr.

When I was a young girl, I saw this movie and was enchanted with the idea of going to New York City! I was so moved by this movie at that time.

Incidentally, my singing teacher, Marion Cowings, taught Harry to sing like himself when he had just he moved into New York from his hometown New Orleans. He had been singing with a gravelly voice like Louis Armstrong until then.

I believe this is what led to his success as a singer and the Grammy award.

I will tell this story another time.


One of the jazz standards is called Autumn New York.

This song was written by Vernon Duke, he was a student of George Gershwin who established the foundation of American music by incorporating both popular jazz music and classical music.

Vernon Duke wrote this song in 1934.

It is hard to believe that this song was written 90 years ago.

This must be the energy of a song that has been called a standard and loved for many years.


Today, as a greeting, I would like to share with you some of the lyrics of Autumn in New York.


Autumn in New York


 Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting

 Autumn in New York, It spells the thrill of first nighting.

 Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds and Canyons of Steel 

 They're making me feel, I'm home.


 It's Autumn in New York that brings a promise of new love

 Autumn in New York, Is often mingled with pain

 Dreamers with empty hands may sigh for exotic lands

 It's Autumn in New York, It's good to live it again



This is a super translation of Atsuko4Jazz's own words, so please forgive me if there are some controversies.

It is only this year, after living here for many years, that I finally felt the urge to face this song and sing it.


If you are interested in hearing Autumn in New York, my recommendation right now is these people

Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Krall, three great divas.

Check them out if you are interested.

I actually didn't like Billie's singing much because it was too deep, but I thought this was sincerely wonderful.

Ella and Louis Armstrong are a perfect balance.

Diana Krall has a really deep and engaging voice.

It's interesting to compare the same song with each of their distinct personalities.

It would be great if you get in the Autumn mood in New York a bit.

Please come visit us sometime! 

Have a great November!

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