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The music I’ve recorded for this CD comes from my Jazz-Theater show The Blues Ain’t a Color, and was made possible by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. In this show, and in many other Jazz-Theater shows I’ve performed, I strive to bring the element of jazz improvisation to my theater pieces by blending the two artistic disciplines into one story, creating a space for jazz and theater to meet and form new artistic exchanges.

In my view, Jazz music has lost a connection to “the street.” With Jazz-Theater, I am showing that this music can and should be connected to "the street" in order to give it context.  The video and visual elements in my shows can help drive home the point of the song, making an emotional connection to story.  Jazz and blues music is connected to human situations and emotions. We are connecting what is happening on the stage to current event material. Therefore we are expanding the community relationship to jazz, and in this show blending jazz and blues as community to have shared experiences with the music. The jazz is not distant and difficult to relate to. It is directly related to social and cultural issues of interest to the audience.  Many of the jazz standards of our time came from the musical theater stage. The Blues Ain’t a Color continues this tradition.
Denise La Grassa's original jazz score serves as a backdrop for conversations about America's troubled history with bigotry and race in The Blues Ain't a Color.  Backed by a trio of musicians in this Jazz-Theater musical, La Grassa mixes powerhouse renditions of original jazz and blues songs with poignant dialogue delivered by an array of characters. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Blues Ain't A Color uses the power of music to shine a light on how we're dealing with, and in some cases, not dealing with, racism, fear, compassion, and dignity in our country. 

You'll hear the beautiful but aching jazz ballads Spinning Jenny and Color Is The Difference. You'll hear searing jazz-blues numbers including I've Had It With the Blues and The Blues Ain't a Color, and you'll roar along with the bitingly humorous Doggone Blues. These songs and other La Grassa originals mix with her hip-hop inflected opening and contemporary conversations about race.

The video above is the opening scene with John Kregor (guitar), Stephen Jackson (bass), and Michael Carlson (drums).


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