new album





voice lessons






  1. As Time Goes By / Herman Hupfeld / ASCAP / 4:27
  2. Love For Sale / Cole Porter & Jamie Cullum / 4:06
  3. Fine And Mellow / Billie Holiday / BMI / 4:32
  4. What A Little Moonlight Can Do / Harry Woods / ASCAP / 3:25
  5. You've Changed / Carl Fisher & William Bill Carey / ASCAP / 5:22
  6. My Man / Maurice Yvain / ASCAP / 3:38
  7. All Of Me / Gerald Marks / ASCAP / 4:16
  8. Everything Happens To Me / Matt Dennis & Tom Adair / ASCAP / 5:48

Norman Simmons / Piano & Arrangement
Paul West / Bass
Banard Purdy / Drums
Houston Person / Tenor Sax

Recorded on August 12th, 2012
Mastered on July 13th, 2013
at Sean's Studio: 244 W. 54th St. #806 New York, NY 10019
Hair Design: Shizuko Nakajima & Hiroko Shimizu
Photography: Shuichi Ichikawa / JAMPS
Album Design: Toru Yamashita
Executive Producer: Toru Okuno
Directed by Toru Yamashita / HPNY
12 W. 72nd St. #24C New York, NY 10023

Norman's Liner Notes

Shoko Amano's vocal is an experience like when I first rode the Bullet Train in Japan. Yes, it was just another train ride, but the ride was like no other train in my memory, so air smooth and comfortable, Shoko's sound and feel is unique to her and you can hear that she is so comfortable within the swing. She delivers the music in the tradition that you can feel acquainted with and yet it is a musical experience like no other you have had.

Shoko's vocal style is not artificially created for the intended purpose of trying to be different and away from anything earthly conceivable. She is so definitely in the joy of swing; her music is for the body as well as the ears.

Courageously she presented the idea to me to honor Billy Holiday. The idea even made her somewhat apprehensive that a Japanese Singer could significantly approach the songs of Billy Holiday. Billy Holiday used our band with Claude McLin on sax when she played the High Note Jazz Club in Chicago, Carl Drinkard was the pianist that she brought with her, but I offered the opportunity to play for her, but I did not feel capable of trackling her unique repertoire without written music.

The idea to honor Billy Holiday excited me, I felt that Shoko's mellow swing feeling and her slightly dark vocal sound could do a truly creditable job. What I needed to do as Pianist Arranger was to wrap her in the musical accompaniment that could supply the feeling she needed.

I turned to a few of our most experienced players "The Last of the Mohigans". There are not many of us left who were baptized in the same musical feelings as Billy Holiday and not all players are really competent in accompanying a singer and I wanted the sound and feel to be compatible to Shoko's style.

The touch of the Pulpit is endowed in most Black Singers and Bernard Purdy was the rhythm backbone for Aretha Franklin. Joe Williams relied on Paul West as his Bassist and East Coast Musical Director. Paul West called me onto Joe's gig and job of Piano/Musical Director for Joe Williams was passed on to me, because Paul's position as Director of The Henry Street Music School made him ineligible for travel.

The team of Houston Person and Etta Jones is known worldwide and all the vocalists today are seeking Houston's Saxophone accompaniment on their recordings. I don't believe that better accompaniment personnel that this could be assembled and time may not allow it to happen again. So if you are a Jazz Aficionado and collector, you will want this recording in your collection.

I don't believe that a record review should be done in the liner notes; but, I would be willing guess that you would be curious to hear a Japanese Vocalist interpret Billie's Blues.

Straight Ahead… Norman Simmons, Pianist, Arranger