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Patti Austin Interview Page 4

PA:  It’ll be out the first week of March (March 6, 2007) and I went back to Cologne, Germany with my wonderful friends with the WDR Orchestra, with that organization.  It’s the same group of musicians and the same organization that I did my last album with, which was the For Ella project. Actually, for the last 10 or 15 years we’ve been going back there every couple of years and doing a different project because every year in Cologne, Germany they do a tribute to American music, and for the first year I went I did my own music and then they asked me to come back and that’s when I did the Ella project, and then they asked me to come back again and pick an American composer who I’d like to honor and so this time we went with Gershwin.

najeeSmitty:  Wow. Very admirable and sounds exciting.

PA: It was just tremendous fun and extremely challenging because I wanted to turn the material on its ear and I worked with a marvelous arranger named Michael Abene, who did all of the arrangements on all the tunes, and we created some medleys which you seldom hear on recordings anymore and it’s all live. All of the performances came from two concerts that I did before a live audience in Cologne, Germany, and it’s got a great energy and it’s lots of fun and there are many surprises on it, and it’s just a really….if I don’t say so myself….and I am really not a horn tooter when it comes to my own projects because I’m always thinking of how I could’ve made them better, but this one is as near to perfection as I’ve gotten so far in my career.

So I’m really excited about it and mostly I’m excited about getting out on the road and performing it for audiences because it just has a tremendous effect on audiences.  They love it, I love singing it, the bands love playing the arrangements, and so we’ve got a fun year coming up next year. We’re gonna do two premiere performances in the first week of March, one in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center and another in Los Angeles at the Wilshire Theater, and then after that we hit the road and we go out all over the world with this project, so it’s…

Smitty:  That’s fantastic.

PA:  Fun, fun, fun, fun thing.

Smitty:  Yes. (Laughs.) Will you come back when it’s released and talk more about it?

PA:  Absolutely.

kirk whalumSmitty:  Oh, we’ll look forward to that.  Well, I can’t tell you how much I really appreciate your wonderful voice once again gracing another CD, a great project, with this Forever, For Always, For Luther Volume II album, and I certainly want to recognize everyone at Rendezvous, everyone at the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association for their work with the general public, and I would be remiss if I left out a couple of great people that I just truly admire and that’s Mr. Rex Rideout and Bud Harner for their wonderful work with this project as well.

PA:  Yeah. They’re pretty cool.

Smitty:  Yes they are. 

PA:  (Laughs.)  Pretty cool guys.

Smitty:  Well, Patti, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about this great project and for your wonderful work in collaboration with it as well, and we look forward to talking with you again very soon and please keep making great music, my friend.

PA:  I hope to do it til everybody says “Stop!”  (Both laugh.)  That’s the only thing that’ll make me stop. That one fateful day when I get on stage and it’s just so bad and they’re like “Just go home and forget it!”

Smitty:  (Laughs.)

PA:  Other than that, you’re stuck with me.

Smitty:  (Laughs.)  Well, we’re happy to be stuck with you.

patti austinPA:  Oh, thank you.

Smitty:  And best of everything with it.  All right, we’ve been talking with the lovely and so talented Ms. Patti Austin.  She has a wonderful collaboration with this extraordinary project, Forever, For Always, For Luther Volume II.  You must add this one to your CD collection for so many great reasons.  Patti, thanks again and we’ll see you out on the road, my friend.

PA:  Okay. Thanks Smitty.

                                                                                       Baldwin “Smitty” Smith