Throughout my life, playing music has connected me with some of my best friends and most influential role models, like Anna Dolde and Joan Griffith. I met Anna when I was a sophomore at Macalester College, struggling to sight read charts as a new guitarist in jazz band. Anna was one of the alto saxophonists in the front row holding down the melodies. Joan was our director, and also my guitar teacher.
Both of these women have been instrumental to my growth as a musician; after becoming friends with Anna in jazz band, we now play in a band together called Rabeca. In March, we released our first album, Potluck. Joan’s ever-encouraging teaching pushed me to write my own music, like the song “Butter,” which became the first single that Rabeca released.
This podcast episode is more personal to me than most. I wanted to pay homage to the women who encouraged me to pursue music, Joan and Anna. I met up with the two of them to talk about how they got into music, and the journeys they’ve taken to creating their own sound. We all have different backgrounds; Anna grew up in a competitive school jazz band environment, and Joan fell in love with bossa nova before studying classical guitar in college. In this episode, we talk about how we fell in love with music and how we found the confidence to say, “I’m going to sound like myself.”
I love this quote that Joan mentioned at the end of our conversation. It was Wayne Shorter who said, “To me, the word jazz means I dare you.” But to Joan, jazz means saying “I give you permission.” Both of Joan and Anna have given me permission to break out of the molds I grew up with, and to learn to play like myself.
Songs included in this episode: “Sautéed Mushrooms/Deviled Eggs,” “Butter,” “A Lot of Things Are Edible If You Only Eat One,” and “Detective Sprout” by Rabeca; “Blues in Hoss Flat” by Foster & Basie performed by Mac Jazz; noodling from Joan Griffith
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