Bridging The Gap– “To make a connection where there is a great difference.”

All you have to do is stop, look and listen to realize that there is a great difference in the music that is produced today. I’m not arguing for a return to the production values of yesteryear(although embracing some of them wouldn’t hurt) I’m really discussing the great difference in the basics of music that will never change: melody, pitch, tone, sense of rhythm, phrasing etc., etc., these will never change.

One of the reasons that accounts for this great difference I believe is that we don’t speak the same language or even in some cases we don’t know about the great progenitors of music. If you sing and don’t know the music of Ella Fitzgerald intimately, I seriously question your commitment and respect for your chosen craft. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like the particular style that Ella sang in, it’s the fact that she had such a command of pitch, range, phrasing etc., that no matter what style of music you choose to sing there is much to be learned from Ella.

We need to stop coming to the table with the excuses of mediocrity. You know those excuses that begin with “I meant to do that” or something on that order. The truth of the matter is probably 90% of the people that use that excuse didn’t mean to do what they said, they just don’t know any better. Why don’t they know any better? Because they have not spent time with better to know better.

This is what Bridging The Gap is all about. The opportunity to get to know the better. What an individual chooses to do after they are exposed to the better is ultimately up to them but those of us who know the better feel compelled to help expose others to it because while there is a lot of great music being produced there could be a lot more, a whole lot more.

One thing that sticks out with me about Ella Fitzgerald is that in her over 60 year career(yes 60) she sang duets with just about everyone. Ella could do that because her ability made her a pleasure to perform with. That’s the standard that we should all strive for, being good enough at what we do that it is always a pleasure to work with and not a problem.

Here are a few selected duets featuring Ella later in her career where she was still able to prove why she was referred to as the “First Lady of Song”.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.