Jojo & The Pinecones Debut Family Album is a day in the life - literally!
Jojo and the Pinecones, debut family album has a song for any time of day, so says the title of their debut album, Night & Day. It's a jazzy, pop-filled musical soundtrack to any kid-filled household. Standards like, I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone, an equally likable compliment to the original, will make adults sentimental and kids smile. But there's also original tunes like, Breakfast for Dinner, that will surely induce silly supper fun.
Jojo and the Pinecones is fronted by Joelle Lurie whose adult-music alter-ego, Joelle & The Pinehurst Trio, is a well-known staple at Tavern on the Green and The Rainbow room. Lurie and musical partner Benjamin Gallina, are current Lincoln Center Kids Residency artists which has given them a chance to show off their love for families, music and like all jazz musicians, their versatility.
Jojo will be previewing her new album, due out later this month, at Lincoln Center on Saturday, but first she gave Skeebop a peak inside.
Love the theme, which also happens to be the name of the album, Night & Day. What came first the idea or the songs?
The idea/theme! It was really fun for me and my co-producer/writer/collaborator, Ben Gallina, to work on the album in this format. We wanted it to go in chronological order -- from waking up, to going to sleep. The musical goal for the day part was be energizing, while having the night part be more soothing and relaxing.
The album is a mix of re-imagined standards, pop tunes and our originals. When planning the new songs to write, we thought of the clock/schedule from morning to night, and how to try to represent each moment of the day with a song. For example, hmm do we have a song about those chaotic mornings getting ready for school, or one about playing outside catching fireflies before dinner? Or what about story-time before bed? It was a cool trip down memory lane to our childhoods, for both of us.
What I love is this is a kids album but also great music for adults. Which tunes do you think will be fast family favorites and why?
Thank you! Our goal was absolutely to be enjoyable for the whole family. I hope a lot of the tunes will be family favorites, as there is a sense of nostalgia/transportation back to childhood in many of the songs. For example, "Breakfast for Dinner" -- that's one that will take many parents back to their youth if there families ever did that, which I know mine did! "Storytime" is also written as an ode to the adults that read to the kids in their lives and then watch them grow up (I wrote this one for the kids I used to nanny for). We also put in a Smashing Pumpkins cover, "Farewell and Goodnight" to bring adults back to a different point in their lives, but to act as a sweet lullaby-esc tune for kids, as well. I also hope that a lot of the jazz tunes will make parents think of there elders that loved that music, and that it'll be special for them to share those timeless standards with their children.
This is your first family album but you have performed around the country and recorded a solo album for adults. What inspired you to create an album primarily for kids?
It's really a dream come true -- it's something I've wanted to do all along, same for the band. It also takes all I've done over the years and mushes it together in a cool way (I hope!): Cabaret, Jazz, MC of events, Voice teacher, Educational voice-over work, Nanny- extraordinaire. 😉
I also teach singing lessons to kids, which I love. A lot of the players in my band also teach music lessons to children. I think this work inspired us and got us ready for this project.
I am so grateful to Lincoln Center Education for seeing that even though we have existing music for adults, that we could also translate to kids, and for giving us the opportunity to do so.
The music on the album has swinging jazz tunes but also pop, Americana and R&B. Why was it important to put modern jazz at the forefront of your debut children’s album?
Well, first and foremost, we are a jazz band. We collectively all know a ton of standards, and jazz is what we were all trained in -- so that's why we wanted to put modern jazz at the forefront, it's just authentically 'us'.
But like so many jazz musicians, we're influenced by other types of music! Motown, Americana, Pop, R&B. To point out a few modern jazz favorite artists of ours that also mix in many different styles: Jamie Cullum is a huge influence and musical inspiration -- the way he mixes his own originals with re-imagined standards and musical theatre favorites, yet his records are so cohesive. He has a great little wink of wit to his music too, which I love, (because if you got to know the guys in the band, you'd know right away, they're a group of comedians). His arrangement of Sondheim's "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd is one of my favorites of his. Norah Jones is another. She's moved into a cool Americana sound with her newer singer/songwriter vibe and originals, yet all the while, is a true jazz singer. It's cool when artists don't have to fit in just one genre box. In general, I just love when music is accessible and enjoyable for the trained ear as well as the untrained ear.
You are a Lincoln Center Kids Resident Artist. How is this residency impacting your debut project, Jojo and the Pinecones?
Yes! It's been such an honor, and an incredible learning experience to have them help develop us into a kids band. We've been representing Lincoln Center Education to schools in the outer boroughs, performing our educational show which teaches about The Jazz Age of the 1920s. Then we've also been planning for this big concert at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium coming up on Jan. 7th that coincides with this album release of the same theme. We're grateful for their vision for us, opportunities to perform for kids, and guidance through this entire creative process.
On January 7th, you will be performing for your new fans. How do you prepare for an audience full of kids verses adults?
Great question! Well, the school shows we've done with LC have been wonderful practice for us. But besides being super prepared with all the music, it's also just trusting myself -- I've always loved spending time with kids, teaching them and having real conversations with them. I mean, I know so many adults do! But I just mean, trusting that if I'm enjoying it, and engaging with them, that they will do the same. We can only prepare and plan so much, the rest has to have an authentic flow -- and I think the improvisational training that jazz has given me, is totally transferrable to the engagement/performance/banter part. You just have to see what's working in the moment, be the confident yet generous leader of the room, and feed off of the energy you're being given.
I love the challenge of seeing that one quiet kid in the corner, and getting them excited to move to the music, and introducing the band members and different instruments to the kids. Seeing the simple joy that kids get from music is incredible, and it makes me remember that that's how it all began for us.
In Concert: Jojo and the Pinecones, Saturday, Jan.7:
Sample a track off 'Night & Day'