2020 End of Year recap, part 1: Teresa Bright's "Blue Skies"

Where did we leave off... oh yes, with a repress of Mike Lundy's The Rhythm of Life LP, which sold out quickly so we've got another repress in the works. That's due March 2021 (fingers crossed), and includes a new color variant: Sky Blue. When it came time to repress again, I asked Vinyl Don what color we should do and he asked me, "What's Mike favorite color?" So, I texted Mike, "favorite color?" "Sky blue".

Speaking of blue, we assisted Teresa Bright with Blue Skies, an unreleased jazz vocal album recorded in 2005 with Kit Ebersbach and their friend, the late Steve Jones. Accompanying the trio were veteran musicians, handpicked by Teresa. 

The release of Blue Skies coincided with Teresa receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

It was Kit's idea to announce the album on the day Teresa received the award. While we had been tossing around the release, we'd yet to decide on a firm release date — he called me two weeks before the December 6th ceremony to propose we surprise Teresa on the day of the event. 

Kit and I confirmed everything with Teresa's partner Derrick "CM" Llanos, who was fully on board and gracious from the get-go.

I asked Derrick to send me a photo of Teresa's painting, the one I'd seen when I first visited her home in 2019 and had fallen in love with. This would be the album cover, I thought. 

 

Kit proceeded to email HARA and coordinate the surprise: 

"...For the past two months, Teresa, Roger Bong of the Aloha Got Soul record label, and I have been planning release of a nice jazz-flavored album Teresa did awhile back. I just did a remastering of the original mixes, which I will upload to you via WeTransfer later today.

Roger and I had some ideas that weʻd like to run by you for your mana‘o. We thought it would make fortunate timing if we released the album in commemoration of her award. Weʻd like, if possible, to announce the release at the ceremony, provide free download links to all attendees, and play a song or two from the Blue Note PA, if appropriate.

Actually, in our favorite scenario, weʻd love to surprise Teresa at the ceremony, as she currently knows it will be released, but not the release date...

Long story short (sorry, I've got to write the rest of these 2020 recap posts!), Billy V announced the album surprise just after announcing Teresa had finishing receiving her award — she was on stage with her guitar and her band, ready to perform her classic repertoire for a socially distanced and captive audience. 

T almost didn't know what to say, it was all happening all at once — the awards, the speech, the surprise, the performance — it seemed like the best thing to do was to go forth and play, so she did. Everyone loved it, and I'm pretty sure everyone cried too, tears of joy and love and aloha for this wahine whose music has touched so many lives.

Bravo to Teresa for the award, to Kit and CM for their willingness to let Blue Skies find its listeners. 

I didn't get my photo taken with Teresa that afternoon, but my friend Izik did. It's a lovely photo

I'm re-reading what I posted to Instagram earlier, and I think it should be cross-posted here: 

Earlier this month we helped bring to light an unreleased album by Teresa Bright, “Blue Skies”.

When I first started asking Kit Ebersbach to connect me with Teresa (Kit’s her longtime pianist/arranger) in hopes of licensing “Catching A Wave”, he mentioned they had recorded a jazz vocal album in 2005, which was idly sitting on his hard drive — fully mixed and mastered, but never released.

It was a hopeful thought: to first and foremost reissue Catching A Wave (which we did, in August), only then to follow it up with seeing Blue Skies make its way into the world, finally.

It actually happened: when Kit learned Teresa would be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, he came up with the idea to surprise her with announcing its release at the awards ceremony, on Sunday, December 6th 2020. With a few quick moves (thanks, CM), we put the release together in about a week, just in time for the ceremony.

Today, Blue Skies is available on your digital platform of choice. Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal — the choice is yours.

We expect to press this beauty to vinyl in 2021.


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