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I am entering a new era of jazz and standards….but folk music is not to be forgotten

I have loved every minute of playing and writing folk music and recreating traditional songs and I will still play these songs if requested, but I have entered a new musical era that I really cannot see turning back from. Once bitten by the jazz bug, it becomes an obsession. You want to know who wrote what song and what year it was written and in what movie it was sung and then of course you have to go on You Tube and hear every version of the song so that you can create your own version or sing it as closely as you can to one of your favorite performers. It’s always best to be yourself, but certainly it is okay to be influenced.

I think I shied away from jazz and standards until now because the chords are more difficult and the singing requires more precision, versatility and creativity. Just listen to Ella to know what I am talking about. Basically, you gotta have guts! I have the fullest intentions to put down the guitar more and just sing most of the night and play on a few songs, but first I have to learn all of these songs on the guitar myself. I have finally taken my “new” Gibson electric guitar out of the case after purchasing it two years ago and I am playing it. My son Johnny bought me a new electric guitar chord and that started it all.

It was a long time coming for me. I grew up listening to Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Edith Piaf–the little sparrow with the big voice from France. I listened to classical music as well, Beethoven being my favorite when I am in an aggressive mood and Chopin and Rachmaninoff when I am feeling soft and gentle and romantic. I learned from Piaf to express and to regret nothing while singing! Listen to “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”. I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing the master of phrasing, Frank Sinatra, with my mother, at the Concord Pavillion. Frank was 75 years old and his voice was superb! He sounded like the record. No autotune! I also have seen Tony Bennett who I felt was singing just to me in the big hall in San Francisco. I never saw a guy smile so much while he sings. He taught me to smile more. I saw Liza Minelli three times! (once at Carnegie Hall with the great French singer Charles Aznevour!). These are the singers that I admire! Recently I have discovered, after much prodding by friends and family, great singers such as Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day (who I believe influenced Amy Winehouse..rest her sweet soul) Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney. There’s also Melody Gardot alive and singing as well as Diana Krall! The songs they sing are from the Golden Era of Swing and Big Bands songs that will be listened to 300 years from now I believe much like classical music. Jerome Kern, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and more. My Norwegian grandfather, Magna Nygard,played in the swing bands and jozz combos. He played the upright bass, banjo, and Gibson guitars in the Northeast and Ohio from the 30’s to the 80’s. I get it from him. My father who emigrated from France sang in a Black Gospel Choir in the U.S. Army. My mother sang her whole life at home and in the local church choir and taught me about diction,vowels, phrasing and breath control. I had a very good teacher here in Sacramento, Sana Christian, who still teaches and Claudia Newberry in San Francisco. I mostly just listen to my favorite singers and listen to what they are doing. I cannot even come close to the improvisational genius of Sarah Vaughan or Ella, but I am pretty good at imitating what they have already created. I want to do the creating. That is what excites me about jazz. What can I bring to the table?

I try to always tell a story while singing. That is what Liza Minelli taught me. And to be yourself! She had to distinguish herself from her famous mother by over singing the notes. She’s fantastic! I am always learning and jazz can never be completely learned. The masters of jazz are learning every time they step on stage. I want to keep this music alive. I want to write love songs, songs about broken hearts, funny songs and also passionate songs about socially conscious issues and set them swinging to a jazz beat. If I listen enough maybe I can write something good like the master musicians and lyricists of the Golden Era. There’s some great songs still being written and I want to be part of that. Burt Bacharach comes to mind. The music was still soft and loving up to the mid 70’s.

I still love folk music and love the masters of folk music..Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell,Kate Wolf and many others. Perhaps I’ll take some of their songs and set them to a swinging beat. I have learned the great Americana ballad”Brother Can You Spare a Dime” , a song my grandfather used to perform. It is quite timely. There is even a Bossa Nova version of the song by Judy Collins.

You can find me singing at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s monthly jazz events, local wineries and restaurants and in Europe. France loves jazz and I plan to spend a lot of time there with my relatives after I retire from teaching in 7 years. When I am 60 I will be in full swing and ready to go anywhere I can sing jazz and standards. I intend to go as far as I can go. Maybe my name will be on a billboard one day along with Michael Buble playing in Reno, or Tahoe or Vegas. I will go where there is a listening audience! Dreams are as big as you let them be. Recently, I performed at the Heritage Oaks Winery in Acampo,CA (www.heritgeaoakswinery.com )and for two hours they all just listened while they ate their cheese and bread and cakes and sipped great wines made by Tom Hoffman. No one talked or played on their cell phones or watched a game on the tv or shouted over us to their table mates. I thanked them. During the break, people expressed gratitude and were very complementary. I am always trying to do better and I am always humble!I loved it although it was completely unnerving. I had their total attention…a little too much! I look forward to more shows like that where I can create a relationship with my audience and tell stories through song and banter and give my best shot at singing songs sung by the very best.

So here’s to jazz and all who struggle to bring it back and keep it alive! Here’s to Harley White Jr. and his orchestra, Rick Marcroft (performing at Luna’s this Monday night) Shelly Burns, Todd Morgan and the Emblems, Les Haber, Vivian Lee, Beth Duncan and Ken Teel and many others in Sacramento. Here’s to making it a dominant presence once again in Sacramento, in California, and in the United States. I hope my Social Studies students that I teach at Capital City School will take the time to look up and listen to Ella, Sammy, Sinatra, Judy Garland, Count Basie, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Edith Piaf and Peggy Lee whose pictures I have put on my office walls. I think music was intended to be melodic and beautiful and make you feel good. My good friend and fellow Jazz musician Ken Teel is very excited that I have made the “evolutionary jump” as he calls it. Ken started in rock bands (no offense to rock musicians! My boyfriend and drummer Fred Nelson Jr. was the original drummer in Oleander) I still love Led Zepplin! A lot of jazz and blues in that band! Melissa Collard, an excellent jazz musician and singer-songwriter and teacher of jazz music here in Sacramento made the same leap years ago from folk to jazz. I still like folk very much and it serves a very important purpose. It is simple, and accessible so that everyone can sing and play it. Try Kate Wolf songs! It is perhaps the most historically educational music we have and tells about our history and the history of the world. Perhaps I will find a way to merge the two like the great Holly Near has done.

Peace and blessings and Blessed Be! I thank God/Goddess for the ability and continued interest to make music and share it. I spend about a year in reflection and transition wondering where I was going. I am so very grateful for all of you out there who take the time to listen and come to my shows and anyone’s shows and buying our music so we can create more. Music feeds our souls. If I had no one to sing to I think I would, as Frank Sinatra puts it so eloquently,just roll up and die. So I thank you for being there. If it wasn’t for my love of music I would still be out riding horses that I miss so much! Truly yours, Jenn Rogar born Jennifer Andree Rogar

Jenn Rogar guests on Soapbox! Channel 17 Access Cable Televison Sacramento

I am looking forward to once again being a guest on Soapbox Sacramento, on Comcast Channel 17, with host James Israel of the Humor Times, a great political satire magazine. We’ll be discussing the crucial issues of today affecting Sacramento and the world: homelessness and the ‪#‎rightorest‬, everyone’s right to have access to a public bathroom, police brutality and ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬, the school to prison pipeline, education and my experiences as a teacher, the fight for clean water,and organic food, the fight against GMO’s and Nestle and Crystal Geyser Water, standing up for local business against the corporate giants, and whatever issues we can squeeze into a half hour! Like Bernie Sanders says, it’s time for a political revolution!

Here is the interview on Youtube. It airs on Sacramento Access TV (Comcast 17) on Monday, Feb. 15, on Access, at 8pm. It will also air Tuesday at noon and Wednesday at 4am (for all you night owls/early risers):

The Fall is my Spring

The Fall is my Spring. It is a time for me to reflect all that was in the year past and renew myself. I hope to give birth to new ideas, hopes, dreams, projects, adventures that will aid in my expansion, the expansion of others and of the Universe. I am almost perpetually in a state of gratitude for all that I have in this precious life. The gift of music and voice and song, love for myself and for another, family, work that fulfills me, the beautiful natural world that surrounds me and the feeling of physical and emotional harmony within myself. I go inward for a time and then seek putting forth new recordings.. a new EP entitled “Gratitude” to share with the world. I will once again seek the help of David Houston who is simply the best recording engineer and producer that one can find. I look forward to working together with Fred Nelson, Jr. my loving partner and friend and other talented musicians as they become part of the divine flow. I wrote the following this morning without thinking…only feeling…
Creative Oneness hold me close to the earth’s bosom and nurture me so that I can nurture others and we can nurture each other. Blessed are the animals, rocks, trees and minerals to teach us how to live in synchronicity with You which is ultimately Me. Water flows through us all in our divine connection, our sacredness and desire to love all that is. We are coming home to ourselves slowly and yet so quickly. I believe in the sanctity of our endeavors. There is no wrong or right. There is only love and forgiveness for ourselves. We are learning. Source is learning through us and the Mother Earth bears the brunt of our transgressions. Feel, feel, feel and raise your vibration higher and higher to that of Source. The silence is beautiful as is the sound of water, birds… humming beautiful tones. Love all that is. Hate is forgotten..dismembered..useless..a tool for those who are empty. Love! Love! Love!

Jenn Rogar and Fresh Juice Party @ Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley!

On Friday, June 27th, Jenn Rogar and Oakland based band Fresh Juice Party will be performing songs that are fun, groovy and socially conscious at the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley, Ca …. show starts at 8pm!! $10/door come early and enjoy the art. Subterranean Arthouse is located at 2719 Bancroft Way. For more about Fresh Juice Party go to www.freshjuiceparty.com and for more about Subterranean Arthouse go to www.subterraneanarthouse.org.

Monsanto Shutdown and Rally-3 days!

May 20th 9:30 am

Join us as we lobby against Monsanto.
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1381

We will be visiting all the CA State Senators in the morning. Assignments will be given out that morning. We will have a system in place to assist you, a coach to aid you, and an opportunity to give immediate feedback and receive guidance for successful visits. All of us, in pairs of two or three, depending on how many people show up to participate, will visit all of the senators. (We will bypass the assembly members, as they are not as critical at this moment).

Ideally, we will cover all of the state senators before lunchtime, several times.

SB 1381, the GE (GMO) Food Labeling bill, is now on suspense in the Appropriations Committee, as of last Monday. We want to “push” for the bill to come off suspense and go to the senate floor for a full vote.

On Friday, May 23rd, the appropriations committee will either lift the status (suspense) of the bill, or let it linger in suspense where it can die. If we all are successful (all the groups fighting for SB 1381, and it comes off suspense, it can then move towards a vote towards the end of this May. And, that is exactly what we want! We will work the senators regarding this bill, our health and food concerns because of Monsanto’s poisons, Monsanto’s unsavory business practices, and more.

If there is ample time in the afternoon, people can visit their specific legislators if they didn’t get a chance in the morning, and/or their assembly member.

The Anti-Monsanto Project three days of action:

Day 1:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014–Lobbying Day, from 10am to 3pm. Meet near the North Steps of the CA State Capitol at 9:30am.

Day 2:
Friday, May 23, 2014–Shutdown Monsanto, from 6am to 3 Meet at the Davis, CA Monsanto office/plant.
https://www.facebook.com/events/394542770690715

Day 3
Saturday, May 24, 2014–Rally / March, from 10am to 5pm. The North Steps of the CA State Capitol.
https://www.facebook.com/events/427960777291632/630895430331498/?notif_t=like

I will be singing at noon at the Monsanto Shutdown in Davis, California and sometime on Saturday!

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Homeward StakeDown

Homeward StakeDown a great success! 3 day arts activist campout in Sacramento. May 1st through 3rd SHOC held a permitted camp out for homeless participants and advocates on a vacant lot along one of the busiest commute routes into Sacramento’s downtown. Live music was provided by Jenn Rogar, GP Bailey, John Malcolm, and Kingdom. Read more here.

Me daa si! to Global Mamas on May Day 2014

May 1, 2014 May Day!

To the women clothes makers at Global Mamas

Thank you for the beautiful handmade clothes that you make. I support the Fair Trade Federation today on May Day, and every day, in recognition of workers all over the world and especially women globally who lack the social, economic, and political power of men. Your community helps to change some of that.  I am wearing for the first time the beautiful dress made by Julie and Ellen. This dress is very comfortable and fits perfectly. I will keep buying clothes from you for myself and my friends and family so that I can support women’s economic independence in Ghana and elsewhere and I will let others know about the Global Mamas community (www.globalmamas.org).

I discovered the Global Mamas community through Traditions Café and World Folk Art in Olympia, Washington. I hope to come there to volunteer and participate in cultural workshops one day soon and meet the beautiful women who work there. I believe that your business model is the model for all business around the world to promote fair trade, community, prosperity and happiness for all workers.  I am wearing this dress to work today. I am a teacher. I also intend to wear this dress and the other clothes I bought when I sing with my band. My band is called the Jenn Rogar band and I sing and write folk and blues and a bit of country music. I also play guitar. And if you don’t mind, I will most definitely write a song about Global Mamas and send it to you when it is finished. There will be a link also on my website for Global Mamas!!

Peace and blessings to you all!!

Me daa si (Thank you!)

Jenn Rogar

To shop go to www.globalmamas.org

Joining PARC!

Recently, PARC (Protect the American River Canyon) had a benefit fundraiser/ book signing at the Auburn Theater in Auburn, California and because of the generous help of Bill Mash aka WithoutaRoof (see his You Tube videos) my new music video by Marissa Jestice called  “The River” was featured on a big screen at the end of the event. What an honor! Thank you Bill Mash and Eric and Paula Peach from PARC for including my video in this event.. PARC has been working for decades to preserve the American River Canyon from the proposed Auburn Dam destruction and just released an updated third edition of the book The American River Insiders Guide to Recreation, Ecology and Cultural History of the North, Middle and South Forks.  Also, a week later, I was invited to join Eric Peach for a radio interview on KVMR and sang “The River” live. I encourage you to contact PARC, become a member and support preserving the American River Canyon and be a part of the team in designating the American River as forever wild and scenic. I will be enjoying some rafting this summer on one of Eric Peach’s rafting trips and hiking the beautiful trails. Nature heals! Blessings! Jenn

For more information about protecting the American River go to www.parc-auburn.org

Upcoming shows and events

Hello Friends and Fans!

Spring is here and it’s so lovely! Cool and breezy and sunny with intermittent rain and cloudiness and lots of birds singing! I love Spring! It’s so close to Summer and Summer is a time when I have a lot of time to do music. This friday, April 11th, tune in to KOWS radio with host Kym Trippsmith at 11:45am and I will be on her show interviewing live! Sunday, I will be on KVMR along with Eric Peach of PARC (Protect the American River Canyon) at 5pm singing “The River” as part of a radio show discussing the designation of the American River as wild and scenic as well as the promotion of the new edition of the American River Guidebook published by PARC.

Just last Sunday, my music video “The River” was featured as an encore at the book signing event and fundraiser for PARC at the Auburn Theater in Auburn, CA. This next friday, on April 18th, the Jenn Rogar band heads up to Nevada City to Cooper’s Saloon to perform at 9pm with Hans and the Hot Mess! On April 25th, the Jenn Rogar band, Mike Justis Band and Tamra Phelan band perform at Marilyns on K in Sacramento at 9pm. Yes! An entire evening of great folk music in the heart of downtown Sacramento. More to come in May! Blessings!! Jenn

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