Elena Gonzales

My Dad told me once that heíd listen to Schoenberg in the car and though I was about 18 months old, apparently I used to hum along in perfect pitch. Not bad for an infant, but I donít really remember any of that. I grew up living and breathing jazz music. It wasnít until I was about 13 or so that I actually began performing strictly jazz but, as a child it was all around me. My dad was always playing different styles of the music and as a youth Iíd listen and learn to love those melodies of Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Louie Armstrong. The stylings of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Roland Kirk always made me stop whatever I was doing to sit and listen for awhile. My parents wanted their children to grow up cultured, and I owe to my dad for picking up ďWhat is this thing called love?Ē so I could sing it in a competition. Between him and my vocal coach Big Mitch, they realized this girl doesnít do pop, this girlís a jazz singer.

I love music, especially music I can sing to or try to imitate with my voice. A beat that I can dance to and get the audience into. Anything obscure with a good beat will usually catch my interest. Thatís why I love jazz. Itís the original experiment, of course all music is, but in jazz using rhythm and syncopation makes it something different. They make something my whole person just wants to get up and sing it or try to be a part of it in some way. If youíve ever heard Mel Tormeís version of what is this thing called love youíll know what I mean.

Give me any Cole Porter tune and Iíll sing it for you, if you want me to do it like Ella, I will if you want me to do it like Keely Smith, just ask. If youíd like me to do it like I do it, Iíll dance and sing until I drop, cus I absolutely love-love Cole Porter songs. However vocally I would have to say there are just to many great singers out there to name them all. The ladies that I love, and not all of them necessarily jazz women ,are Peggy Lee, Ella of course, Sarah Vaughn, Lila Downs, Cassandra Wilson, the list goes on. I am so glad I have this gift, so I can sing along with the gods and goddesses of music, and maybe if Iím lucky Iíll become a minor deity someday.