Behind the scenes (Part 1)

September 30th, 2013 Debra Mann



Recently on my Facebook Fan Page, I mentioned that most people have no idea what goes into a single performance.  At which point, one of my Facebook fans suggested that I write a blog about this very thing. Perfect!  Especially because I am currently preparing for what I consider to be a pretty big concert at the Narrows Center for the Arts on October 17th, 2013.  It’s a show that is near and dear to my heart, because it is a tribute to Joni MItchell, a brilliant artist who singlehandedly inspired me to be a musician.  Joni will be 70 this year (November 7), and my bandmates (Dino Govoni, Dave Zinno, Marty Richards, & Steve DeConti) and I will be celebrating her life in song, performing material that she’s recorded over her very prolific career.


Preparing for a concert


  1. Book concert date

I have to thank my saxophonist, Dino Govoni, for getting my foot in the door.  For those of you who don’t know Dino, he is a highly regarded artist in his own right, who happens to be friendly with the owner of the Narrows.  Dino recommended me and now we are now scheduled to play on October 17th, 2013. We can never underestimate the value of our friendships.  Thanks, Dino.


  1. Book musicians

Make sure that the band members are all available and, if not, quickly change the date to one where everyone is available and, if that proves impossible, find an equally awesome substitute musician, if necessary.


  1. Book audio engineer

Let’s make this more exciting and record the concert.  Hire a really awesome live audio engineer.  Thanks again to Dino, who recommended Pat Methany’s live-recording audio-engineer, John Farrell, at Middle House Recordings.  Cool!  Done!


  1. Schedule Rehearsals

Recording in a recording studio is a huge deal, but with live recording there are no second takes.  It’s got to be right the first time. I’ve never done a live recording, so I suggested that we actually rehearse for this show, something that we don’t do, since jazz musicians love being spontaneous and in the moment. It’s so Zen.  Oh my goodness!  Try to get 5 musicians together who have lots of gigs and teach at several different colleges and schools.  Not an easy task.  But, I’m happy to say, rehearsals are now scheduled, and I am really looking forward to getting together to fine tune the arrangements.  Plus, these guys are great to hang out with.


  1. Work on the charts

Transcribe two more Joni tunes, Black Crow (Hejira), and Be Cool (Wild Things Run Fast), write out charts/lead sheets. Make changes to arrangements, rewrite a couple of charts in different keys, photocopy charts for musicians, and most importantly, practice!!!


  1. Work on PR

Get the word out with Facebook, Newsletter, Joni Mitchell website, Reverbnation, Blog, Twitter, event postcards, newspapers (print and online), Debra Mann Mobile App, Jazz Near You.  If you have other suggestions, let me know.


This is going to be a really special concert, so get your tickets early at





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