“I was literally skipping down a stretch of second avenue in New York for about 30 minutes with George Benson’s ‘Breezin’ on repeat in 2012.”
– Which song reminds you of your most important rite of passage?
Ingrid James: One of the many rites of passage was Spain – both Chick Coreas and Al Jarreaus version. In my twenties, I hopped up on stage with a jazz band in West Berlin and sang it cold with them. That was a brave moment for me.’ Spain ‘wasnt just a normal standard at the time.
– If your life was to become a movie, which tune would be on the end credits?
– Five Days In Hermosa, by this Canadian jazz musician named Mike Field. It’s another fun tune, and it’s instrumental so it would work really well for end credits. I wrote this tune because every time I’d travel on tour from Canada to New Zealand and Australia, I’d stop through Los Angeles and would play at The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. It’s such an iconic club with so much jazz history, and even though there’s a lot of karaoke and reggae bands playing there these days, there’s still jazz three days a week. Each time I was there, it would take me about five days to rehearse with the band and play the show, so after doing that a bunch of times, it inspired this tune, which I ended up recording on my third album.
“I wrote a song as a dedication to this particular genre of song and to Johnny Mercer, it’s called ‘Last Call’.
It’s a great thrill for me that I recorded the song with orchestra in studio A at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, the studio where Sinatra recorded so many saloon bar songs, and Johnny Mercer was one of the founders of Capitol Records. That’s poetry in action.”