2011: The Year That Was

I love this time of year, right before the ball drops, after the mad dash to get everything done before the holidays, while we are still digesting all those cookies and pies.  It is a great time to look back on the year that was, to acknowledge our achievements so that we can get ready to look ahead and figure out how we are going to surprise ourselves in the year to come.

Quite a whirlwind year, people!  I made it to more places in, and out of, the United States this year than I ever have before.  I shared a stage with Ani DiFranco, performed to July 4th fireworks on a rooftop in Brooklyn, got featured on Best Week Ever’s blog, and discovered the Most Fun Street Corner in the World (surprise: it’s in Baltimore).  Here are some other highlights of 2011: The Year That Was…

  • BRAZIL. Well, we all knew this was going to be a highlight.  Not only did it not disappoint, my month-long tour right at the top of 2011 was so much more than i could have imagined.  I met incredible people, ate amazing things, and heard some amazing music – not to mention playing 8 shows around the cities of Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo (meeting up in Rio with the singular sensation herself, Brazilian artist Denise Reis).  Check out the brand new photos i finally posted!

◦ Part 1: Sao Paulo Photos

◦ Part 2: Rio de Janeiro Photos

  • CUBA.  Then, I spent 10 days in Cuba.  I did some things and I’m not allowed to talk about them.  True!
  • CALIFORNIA.  Beautiful shows and beautiful weather in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few in between, with a trip to Gilroy, Garlic Mecca, for a main stage performance at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
  • RIDING IN THE CAR WITH PEOPLE.  I’ve done a healthy heaping of driving this year, most of it by myself.  So it was a nice change of pace to share the car, and the stage, with some of the most talented and nicest people I know.

◦ Denise Reis: Rio de Janeiro, NYC, Philadelphia

Shawn Fogel of Golden Bloom: NYC, Philadelphia

◦ Jennings: NC, MD, DC, TN, GA

◦ ArleneWow!: CT

  • HEADLINING GIGS.  The band and I had the great honor of debuting some featured performances at these wonderful and wonderfully-varied spaces: Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC), The Studio at Webster Hall (NYC), An Die Musik (Baltimore), El Cid Theater (LA), Godfrey Daniels (Bethlehem) and a sold-out show at Grounds For Sculpture (Hamilton).
  • FESTIVALS & CONFERENCES.  Just to name a few: Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts at The Kimmel Center, Musikfest, Appel Farm Arts & Music Fest, NACA, NERFA, UPENN Spring Fling, Dewey Beach Pop Fest, Williamsburgers & Wieners BBQ Block Party Part 5, CMJ, and 7 shows in 5 days at Austin’s SxSW
  • FUNDRAISERS. including events for The National Brain Tumor Society, Abrams Hebrew Academy, and Planned Parenthood
  • FREAKIN’ WEEKEND VIDEOS.  In 2011, I noticed that I had all these videos sitting unviewed, collecting dust on my e-shelf.  So every single Friday since September, i have been premiering some new videos for you.  Here, now, are all of them!  I’ll be posting the last one for 2011 later today…

◦ FWV #1: Shana Tova Lady Gaga

◦ FWV #2: The Real Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song

◦ FWV #3: Mumford & Sons MashUp

◦ FWV #4: It’s Only Me – Live at Grounds For Sculpture

◦ FWV #5: How To Kazoo: A Kazootorial

◦ FWV #6: Friday I’m In Love – Avi Wisnia & Jennings live

◦ FWV #7: This Is Your Birthday Song

◦ FWV #8: Maoz Tsur

◦ FWV #9: Something New – Avi Wisnia (Live from Webster Hall)

◦ FWV #10: Someone Like You – Adele Cover acoustic

◦ FWV #11: Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley cover

  • AWARDS.  It is a gratifying feeling indeed to be recognized by your peers, and even better to know that there has been so much support from all of you.

◦ This year I was awarded the OutMusic award for Outstanding Jazz Song of the Year for The Back of Your Hand.

◦ Your votes placed me as a finalist in the summer’s BetaHiFi band competition in Philadelphia.

◦ RightOutTV named Rabbit Hole the Best DIY Video of the Year

◦ Boston’s Glovebox Film Festival awarded Rabbit Hole 2nd Prize for Video Short of the Year

  • RELEASES.  While I still often feel like my full-length album Something New just came out, and I’ve been tirelessly scribbling away at some new tunes, I was so proud to be involved in these new 2011 releases.

◦ Maoz Tsur – A new single for the holidays; a traditional Hanukkah melody, with a modern jazz spin.

◦ New Arrivals Vol 4 – Proud to be featured on this charitable compilation put out by MPress Records.

A lot of credit must go to Seth Kroll of Fam Jam Productions, director of Rabbit Hole, The Kazootorial and so many other projects we collaborate on. And I am very lucky to be able to make music with Toru Takiguchi, Gil Smuskowitz, Kim Garey, and all the other talented musicians who get stuck in a room/car with me.  Of course, none of these things would be possible without YOU!  For all the meals I was prepared, all the couches I slept on, all the messages and photos posted, all the doors and arms that were opened for me, I thank you.  I have some incredible friends, and I’m so happy to have added to those ranks this year. Your support and encouragement motivates me to be as creative and entertaining as i can be, and I can tell you without a doubt the best is yet to come!

Just you wait, ‘012 is gonna knock your socks off.  Sneak a peak at some dates below, it’s only the beginning.  Remember to stay up to date with the BlogFacebook, or Twitter.  And to receive the most relevant info to where you live, sign the mailing list.  Want me to play in your town? Send any gig suggestions my way, and I’ll do the follow up.  Come out and see me some time soon. Bring cookies!


…and a happy new year