Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking Back At 2016; Looking Forward at 2017

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known
(1 Corinthians 13:12).


As 2016 begins to lose its edge, it would be wrong for me to not acknowledge the grand old time I had as many moments of it thrilled my heart, before the year makes its last hurrah. With great affection, I celebrate the 365 days God made that he filled me with an amazing amount of energy to exercise more artistic freedom than I ever thought I’d fashion.

I know that I am still a work in progress, but the mere fact that I was able to let the real me shine through wherever I was and whenever I was, pleases my heart to realize how God loves me like nobody has ever loved me.

2016 was a blaze of knowledge and understanding and I am still learning and growing as the journey through this year comes to an end. Realizing that I will have another journey to make through 2017, the idea of it is growing in my heart. I feel an unwavering certainty that the new set of 365 will be another arena of learning and growth outside of my control. But before we start to make our way in that direction, I just want to reflect on some of the highlights of this past year that will stick with me the rest of my life. The most wonderful example to show evidence of God’s love, power and wisdom over my life is that I saw the beginning of it as a total different person than I am now, 362 days later. There are no probing questions I could pose to even deny that fact. That is enough to feel a complete state of nirvana and satisfaction to say that I triumphed over every mountain that came my way but, here are some other things God allowed me to see, as the months moved along, that I am celebrating as the year comes to an end:

  1. January: Bass player, Billy Grant invited me to perform live with the band Deep Cover at Trattoria 632 in Purchase, NY to take in the beginning of 2016. It was cold outside, but inside was toasty and an oasis of hot music. And so the year began.
  2. February: I got a chance to portray the role of the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, in a Black History Month Celebration of Rhythm and Soul and it was such a beautiful stage play. I got to sing and pretend to tap and tried my best to fit into the role of one of my favorite singers of all-time.
  3. March: I recorded one of the seven songs featured on my album that was released just months later entitled, “Finally JNote.” I love writing songs and getting into the recording booth to do lead and background vocals and to create vocal melody to music because that is when I can truly spread my wings and be as creative as the unique pattern of a butterfly.
  4. April:  I came up with a crazy idea to start a soul band and that is when the JNote band was born with some of my favorite musicians and we have been doing some nice performances together ever since including a summer weekly run at El Toro which is a waterfront restaurant/club at the Nautical Mile in Freeport, NY.
  5. May: After years and years of pursuing my college education, I completed my studies and crossed a goal off my to-do list. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Medgar Evers College and received my degree in English/ Professional Writing.
  6. June: Sadly, Muhammad Ali died. I was excited however, to be able to celebrate his life on my one year anniversary of my radio show, Jazz on the JNote, which was a show I started when trying to write my college thesis on Jazz & Racism, conducting research to write the 30-paged paper I had to complete in order to graduate.
  7. July: My first night at Maliblu Oyster Bar on Lido Beach in Long Island as a musical duet with the incomparable keyboardist Wayne Holmes that lead to a summer residency there, every Tuesday evening through the summer which I continued with the JNote Trio,.
  8. August: A beautiful night of music under the Archways of the Manhattan Bridge at Dumbo. Funny thing, the flyer said rain or shine which I did not understand until I got there and the band started to play and it was pouring outside, but under the archways which was also outside, but under the protective covering of the arch was jazz music provided by my jazz band, the JNote Quintet thanks to the Harlem Swing Dance Society who also taught some pretty neat jazz dance steps to the crowd.
  9. September: The Fort Greene Park Jazz Festival put together and hosted by Eric Frazier was held in the latter part of September and I was the featured vocalist of the event and it was such a nice way to do what I love to do the most.
  10. October: I did my first ever music tour which was also my first ever trip into Europe. It was in Russia to be exact and I did a ten-city tour around the beautiful country. I saw more than I’d seen in my lifetime in sixteen days and that was the most different thing I had ever done.
  11. November: This was my third year having the opportunity to encourage the runners at the TCS 2016 NYC Marathon and once again it made me happy to see the runners moving and simply trying to make it to the end at the pace that they were able. It was inspiring to know that even turtling through, you can reach your goal if you never give up. 
  12. December: NYC Parks Department put together an evening of jazz and dance featuring the Harlem Swing Society who taught some neat swing dance steps to music by my jazz band, the JNote Quintet and it was such a beautiful event at the St John’s Recreational Center. Something about doing any event in Brooklyn that brings me joy.

I could go on miles and miles about the good things that happened. I could even talk about the days of rain, though I rather flood you with conversation of those moments that shined to keep things positive, in hope, that maybe you will smile for me. I guess you can say it was a year that was filled with building character. I learned from the best moments and the worst moments.


And as we clear the way for the moment when we will yell, scream and holler, happy new year, and step lightly into 2017, I want to wish to you a year filled with a lot of love, opportunity and pulchritude. May you prosper in all your endeavors and may whatever you do Integrate harmony into your life. I hope you never feel slighted and that your days will be surrounded by joy. That worry might not steal away your time and instead that hope may keep a vision of heaven at your fingertips. And lastly, that you might be able to triumph over each situation you are faced with and that bright sunshine over despondency will remain a constant in your days ahead so that you might have unanimous acclaim when 2017 begins to wither and 2018 is in view. 

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Ever Cold, Ever Jazz, Bye Bye 2016

As changeable as the image of the moon upon the water is the weather that comes with each new season.  And here we are at winter. Are you ready for the chill that is about to embrace us?
If you have yet to experience bone-chilling temperatures yet, then lucky you. For me, I do not remember experiencing a colder December than the one 2016 has brought us. I am hoping that this is not an indication of what is to come in the next couple of months that make up winter.

I have been feeling these temperatures since October. When I was in Russia, it was colder than it is now in December in New York City. I remember traveling through each town with a hat, scarf, gloves and boots, trying my best to keep warm because I was not used to those cold temperatures though I persisted through it all.

Even when I started to get sick because My coat was not warm enough, I entertained the idea of staying in bed to heal up, but never accepted the fact that I was too under the weather to do the tasks at hand. Because I always had an aching desire to perform in a place that is beyond my knowing, I pursued each stage with eager interest and with all that I could exert.  I had to orient my mind around being positive and staying in control of how I reacted to each, new experience.

It sure did bring sunshine into my life to hear the old-fashioned trio set the stage up for me to come and join them on the stage in Yekaterinburg at the Ever Jazz club. For one, I loved
the scenery looking at the great photos of Dexter Gordon, Billy Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie just to name a few. To have had a big portrait among those greats was like finding money in a coat a year later when you are down to nothing.

The ambiance of the jazz club was amazing and warm inside despite the ice that had formulated outside on the walk path to the venue. The audience welcomed me with great fondness and I felt so at home, it was almost like being in a room with family.

Thank God when you can come together with people from anywhere in the world for the planets highest good and the impressions resonates with you forming a revolutionary improvement over your mind than the ideologies that had been previously set. Left me with a strange, wild happiness.

And now, as I tread the cold sunless days that winter has brought us, I now have a clearer
picture of the world. Traveling gives you a timeless lesson that you cannot simply gain from a book or google search. It is only when you dive deep into the unfamiliar and scan the expanse of areas of places you have never seen that you break away from the chill of what has been misunderstood and experience the warmth of true wisdom. To explore is to actively learn and to discover new ways of thinking. And to discover new and fresh ideas, plays a huge role in the life that you live. In the upcoming year, I plan to do more traveling and to visit places I have yet to see. 2017 is the year to do more remarkable things and I know the best is certainly yet to come.

But even if all you’ve got in the world is the culture of the current wave, you can still share a deep and growing love for each other by trying to gain an understanding through asking question and clarifying what is real and what is myth. Life can be seen in two ways; you can chill on presumptions of the world or you can familiarize yourself with the world by seeking different vantage points.

 And the moments that I experienced will forever be in my heart. As is the performance I did with the Old-Fashioned Trio. What resonated with me about this performance the most was meeting a teacher from Chelyabinsk named Elena who knew of my music and videos and traveled 250KM to see me perform at Ever Jazz Club, because she had heard my music and liked it. What an honor to hear something like that!

Please check out the opening number that cleared the path for more great music to come in the hour we spent together on stage. The night started with a cover of the song “Bye Bye Blackbird” which is so appropriate for this time of year as we start to reminisce about 2016 and say goodbye to it while welcoming in 2017.

If you like the photos posted here from Ever Jazz Club in Yekaterinburg, Russia, please free to check out some of the others they posted here:

Thank you for checking out my blogpost! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happiness Bursting Out the Seams For the Holiday Heart

Happiness requires struggle. It grows from problems.
Joy doesn’t just sprout out of the ground like daisies and rainbows.
Real, serious life-long fulfillment and meaning have to be earned
through the choosing and managing of our struggles
(Mark Manson)

Around this time of year, many of us experience the holiday heart. We start thinking about all the extraordinary things we thought we were destined to see but didn’t. We start to consider all the plays we made trying to win. And then the emotional turbulence begins when all the commercials and Christmas carols start playing on the radios making us aware that it really is Christmas.

  • ·         We want to smile but our hearts are caught up in drama.
  • ·         We try to stay consistently happy but suddenly, it seems as if all the troubles of the world have landed in the palm of our hands.
  • ·         We try our best to become absorbed with the delights of Christmas, but the winds of depression hit us hard like the seasonal breezes that come with the winter solstice.

Cheer up!

They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. Here is one thing to get excited about; Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. Aren’t you excited at least about the four-day weekend that you are about to have? 

The lights and ornaments that seem to be strung all around brings me joy. The scenery to me is so beautiful that I can’t help but to smile.  I also look forward to the inches of conversational daylight that I will be buried under when my family gathers for Christmas. And then I consider the fact that we will be moving on into a brand-new year and the grand idea of it for me is like being wrapped in romance.

Yeah, I said it! ROMANCE.

By romance I mean, the greatest love you will ever experience. If you believe that God is love than you know what I am talking about. God loved us so much that he kept us here another second, minute, hour, day, month and now we are about to embrace a brand-new year with brand new mercies and opportunities to pursue.

  • ·         We can mope around with depression feeling defeated, or we can celebrate the fact that God loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son.
  • ·         We can look back at all the projects we started yesterday that we did not complete or look out over the peaceful valley of tomorrow that is upon us and accept your experiences as part of the process. It’s almost like that half empty half full thing.

Christmas is a day filled with love and warmth. It is a day to walk happy in the sun. It is a
day to silence the doubts for a moment and let the beauty of the day Jesus was born sink in, and enjoy the blessings of celebrating him, knowing that there is a beautiful world waiting for you out there and that tomorrow is yours for the taking.  It is a day to “remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14b).

Remember that we are not on this journey alone. Love yourself as you are and where you are. It is so important in overcoming adversities. I encourage you to keep holding on, to faithfully move forward and to not let go of your promise. Indulge in God’s love. It is so free and so beautiful and so yours. It is deeper than the waters of a lake and more expansive than the earth. Your joy in his love is like fertile ground. There is success in knowing that God is bigger than all your problems. Not to mention that it is the most wonderful time of the year, so cheer up and enjoy it.

From my heart to yours,

Merry Christmas!

That your holiday may be merry and bright and full of many, many blessings. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Snowy Social Media Saturday in December in New York

I sit here in my office listening to the howling winds of winter whipping against my window as the icy rain falls and brings to my vicinity a cold air that has me reaching out longing for warmer weather.

But it is December and winter solstice follows our weekend and brings in a new season and a new chapter that we will embrace. I will admit that I have never jumped with wild excitement about frigid temperatures because my favorite of the seasons is when the fresh air of lovely, spring moments rides through the atmosphere and the budding flowers point their noses out the soil trying to stand tall to the sun. I quarrel violently with the idea that I must dress warm so that I do not let icy breezes take control of my health. But we must do these things and so we do them.

This morning, I gazed out the window with stark curiosity seeing my car buried under a blanket of snow and realized that winter is here in truth. There is no denying it now. So, while I am inside trying to wrap my mind around it, I wanted to share with you some of the social media platforms where I’d love to connect with you. Hopefully we can connect and fall more in tune with each other.

CDBaby : Stephanie Jeannot or Jeannot
Itunes : Stephanie Jeannot or Jeannot

Look forward to vibing with you again soon! 
But until then, stay warm 
and be safe in this cold weather. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Am Happy Doing What I Do!

When I'm singing, I'm happy.
I'm doing what I can do 
and this is my contribution to life
(Anita O’Day).

I think it is better to do what you truly love to do than to live with regrets of should’ve would’ve could’ve. It becomes hard to forget all the chances we never took and the opportunities we allowed to slip by.

I say, if something stays up in your mind and you love to do it, then do it. Sure, we must take cautionary views because we do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I think it is better to live through the day with chances being taken at doing something that is in your heart.

Your journey may bring you to a solitary state if it is not something that your family or peers agree with. Many people suffer the same, believing that they should make everybody else happy by doing what is expected of you by others. Instead of following through on your own dreams, they may make you feel that you have to fit into their plans for you somehow.
But a new year is about to start. A new era of going the extra mile to experience genuine smiles and less time seeing the stars lose their glitter.

Time to settle on the song and dance that makes you feel good. Time to free your mind of
doubts and dance in heaven. Time to apply your own ingenuity into the world without fearing it. Time to go to bed with dreams and wake up with achievements.

If you keep in mind that truth that everybody is wired different, you will realize that it is okay to have different thoughts for your now and tomorrow than your culture or tradition may have destined for you. Time to walk more on faith. Time to clear the path for more. Get your more and be you because there is nothing wrong with being you-tiful. 

I think 2017 is going to be a great year. How about you?

Disclaimer: This post was inspired by a writing prompt by MamaKat blog to write based on a favorite quote. 
In the midst of  listening to an Anita O'Day music collection, I came across that quote and the rest is history. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Favorite Things

One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Sound of Music.”

I have loved it since the fay I was strongly built and until today, it is like a fresh breath of air. Time has not changed the tide of love that flurries through my body when I see Julie Andrews walking across each scene doing what she did so beautifully. I guess my love for music falls in line with hearing her song the Do-Re-Mi song. Her singing lured me in and I never miss an opportunity when it is on television to let the hills come alive with the sound of music in my home.

So, when the opportunity to sing the song live came about, you can imagine how many times I had to brush the tears from my eyes to face the audience and sing “My Favorite Things.”

“My Favorite Things” is a tune by Rogers & Hammerstein from 1959 which was originally written for their play, “The Sound of Music.”The main character from the play, Maria, loved raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens. I don’t like kittens so much but the stuffed kitten animals are cute. 

I do love roses though. You should know that on almost every stage that I sung on in Russia, somebody from the audience gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses and it was such a beautiful and welcoming thing for me that kept me smiling in the beautiful, distant place, for miles around.

Maria loved bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. I love bright copper kettles because I am a tea lover and try to have a spot of tea daily. I love woolen mittens and wish I had some when I was in Russia because it was cold. But at least I had gloves. Maybe I’ll get some for the NYC winter that has suddenly embraced us. I mean it is December.

Maria love brown paper packages tied up with strings and I love the strings of a bass guitar that seem to enhance the sound of music, when you listen to it; especially when it is live. She loved girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. I love my nephews in anything they wear and in whatever they do because they are such cute young gentlemen with so much promise. I also love hearing my mother sing and when my father comes out of nowhere and compliments some aspect of my music. I love when my older sister invites me somewhere and when my younger sister sends me leads that might help me with my music. 

You can probably tell that most of my favorite things involve music. Like for instance, I love listening to frank Sinatra sing and I love to listen to Grover Washington Jr’s music. I love poinsettias and I love singing Christmas carols.

“My Favorite Things” has become a song that many refer to as a tune for the holidays. I love John Coltrane’s version and can’t resist enjoying Betty Carter’s rendition. For just one moment, I hope that you will stop and indulge in my rendition, as I performed it live with the Medgar Evers Jazz Ensemble at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY.  Here is the link:

Today's post is dedicated to Frank Sinatra and Grover Washington Jr; two fellow sagges who celebrate their birthdays this week.  As I rambled about some of my favorite things, I am interested in hearing about some of yours. Would you please leave a comment and share those things that make your heart flutter with me? 

Thank you so much for reading my blogpost and from my heart to yours, happy holidays. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yay! A Songwriter: Congratulations Bob Dylan

“What I take from writers I like is their economy - the ability to use language to very effective ends. The ability to have somebody read something and see it, or for somebody to paint an entire landscape of visual imagery with just sheets of words - that's magical.” ― Mos Def

What is it called when someone mentions a name or an event about a person that happened and then shortly after, you unexectedly see that person or thing? 

Collage by Stephanie Jeannot

The conversation was about the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for writing, Bob Dylan, who happens to be a songwriter and just happened not to go to the awards ceremony to receive his award. In conversation, my father mentioned one of his favorite French writers, Jean-Paul Sartre,  and his not showing up to accept his award which in my opinion, is like still being a college graduate even if you do not attend the ceremony to receive your diploma. You still are a graduate. Right? 

But what do I know? I am just a singer and songwriter who loves to read and dream tall
about taking the world within my hands for simple peace of mind when the sun sinks at the end of the day.They most likely dreamed tall too and look what happened. Inspiring ain't it? 

So, after we talked about Bob Dylan’s winning the prize and the news of it scrolled across the morning news and Jean-Paul Sartre's name came up, I came across a copy of his story in his words, "The autobiography of Jean-Paul Sartre" with my name on it and mine for the taking or rather, for the reading.  How ironic is that? 

I am as happy as I can ever be and my enthusiasm has yet to wane knowing that I am going to be sifting through the pages soon. I feel so good, I could probably tango all night like Carlos Gardel, listen to McCoy Tyner's music under my pillow until I fall asleep or lie with joy in front of the television watching Rita Moreno add charisma to “The West Side Story” just so I could sing along to all of my favorite songs from this flick and then let the tears roll at the end of the film when the story turns sad and emotional and let my tears calm me into dreamland.

The word is probably coincidence or coinkidink. Something to that flavor. Anyway, congratulations to Bob Dylan. 

Yay! A songwriter. That’s what’s up! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Things you Can Do On An Extremely Long Train Ride

Who said that you cannot have fun on a train when your destination is eight hours or more away? 

Many people might say that they could sleep the entire way and be okay. But not everyone is an eight-hours a night sleeper who can drift in lala land even through earthquakes that might wake everybody else up. 

For those who find no fun in sleeping, then you might be like me, gazing out the window and looking at your watch every ten minutes as if that would speed things up. What could I gain from sleeping when my eyes were looking at the most beautiful waterways, mountains and trees? I might have missed something spectacular that needed to be photographed. 

And so while I was in Russia and aboard the train going from Novorossiysk to Rostov, here is how I killed time to make the ride go just a little bit smoother without me getting bored.

What do you do on long train rides? Let me know. . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dance Away the Night Holiday Swing

I always enjoy watching old time black and white films where you see a jazz band doing their music thing and dancers getting wildly into the groove swinging and have always been tempted to learn the steps. If you ever wanted to learn, here is your opportunity.

Join the NYC Parks Department as they bring to you an evening of arts, culture and fun which they like to call: "Dance Away the Night Holiday Swing" which will feature swing dance lessons by the Harlem Swing Dance Society, live dance performances by some of their best dancers and live music by the JNote Quintet: : Kim Clarke on Bass, Danny Dalelio on Keys, Stephanie Jeannot on vocals, Herb Lewis on sax and Napoleon Revels-Bey on drums. .

This event will take place on Saturday December 3, 2016 from 5PM to 8PM at the St John's Recreation Center located at 1251 Prospect Place in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY. For more information, you can call 718-771-2781. It's bound to be a whole lot of fun and it's free.

Stop by if you can!  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 2016, Jazz on the JNote from 7 to 8PM on the English Connection Media

This Sunday, November 27, 2016, Jazz on the JNote which will air from 7PM to 8PM EST on the English Connection Media.

Jazz on the JNote is a non-stop music flow of jazz hosted by Stephanie Jeannot. Today's episode comes with a twist; a jazz and not-so jazz mix. 

Tune in to hear some fantastic tunes that you might not have ever heard before or maybe you have and you haven't heard for a minute that you love. 

The link to use for your listening pleasure is mixlr: for this week's show. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Poem: The Destined Manifest

Music I discovered that night, was a sanctuary,
a safe place to hide, a place where scars didn't matter,
they didn't exist.
- Len Vlahos

I sat there clapping in rhythm,
listening to the elastic sound that had struck a chord with me.
I approached the atmosphere that had been taken over by music.
I was taking in tones and feeling all rhythmic.
As limber as a rubber band became my mind;
Peacefulness and love in me began to climb.
My body forgot all about the knowledge
that I’d been burning the candle at both ends.
It had been a grueling week but them sounds
like an energy booster somewhat ironed out the kinks.

I started to leave my troubles behind
as I approached the stage with my glowing light.
The groove was in full swing and I was readying myself
for the destined manifest.

The mystic I’d been longing for was finally in my hands.
Sorry, I don’t mean to be so candid,
but I was tired as shit and experiencing a cold.
I was hoping that the nasal drip thing wouldn’t on stage unfold.
Seeing the faces of the crowd however was spiritually transformative.
Nothing like the sound of music to give me more strength.

I hit the stage, holding my head up high and with the mic in my hand.
The backdrop like the midnight sun; a beautiful illusion.
Thank God for a highly responsive crowd
that made me make more of an effort.
Thank God that I didn’t fall with my stiletto heels
I was wearing under my long flowing skirt.
Thank God I remembered every word
and that my voice didn’t crack.
And thank God that when I tried to hit my high notes,
I didn’t have a cough attack.

Yeah I laid out my individual expression
as the orchestra added their unique contribution.
Yeah I was diving deep into the music
and was drenched in the oscillating fusion.
And yeah, it had been a block of days that I’d once only dreamed of
that hit my heart like a funky guitar riff in a song that I just love.

The mere thought was now my, in the moment, reality.
Yet it wasn’t the arena that made it a safe zone.
I think wherever the music is,
will always for me, be a sanctuary.