Today we celebrate Wednesday Night Jazz Odyssey host Venus Cruz. I reached out to her to ask her about her feelings on Jazz, different songs, musicians, and more.
When asked about some of her Shero’s in jazz she said:
“I truly appreciate the music and contributions of so many: Dinah Washington's loud and operatic voice; Carmen McRae's storytelling; Nina Simone's playing, conviction and savviness, encompassing sadness and joy; Jill Scott's voice, humor, fearlessness; Cassandra Wilson's sultriness and range; Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote) for her voice, genre-hopping, pitch-shifting abilities and progressiveness; and Georgia Anne Muldrow, who taps into all these artists, weaving that past thread into a forward thinking, explorative sound.”
Some of Venus’ thought’s regarding jazz:
“Jazz doesn't lie because it's always in the moment. It is also an aural history of America. My experience of learning about jazz has been that it best shows up in times of necessity; created by poor people, it punches through economic class; it has faded and revived itself many times; and its political awareness can't be denied. Jazz has always constantly moved and evolved, and when it doesn't, has risked becoming a museum artifact. Jazz is a Black American art form that's transformed us all. Experientially, personally, that's been true for me.”
Thoughts on her favorite jazz tune:
I have many a favorite tune. Some songs I will never touch, as they are perfect. But I borrow riffs and lyrics and weave them into my form of songwriting and improvisation. If asked to borrow from one, throughout the years, it's been Carmen McRae's lyrics on "Carmen Sings Monk," especially the song "Looking Back" (originally written by Jon Hendricks as "Reflections"): "In looking back we just peep through the crack between what's real and false/In this eternal waltz, meanwhile, we all keep dancing."
Regarding her Wednesday Night Show:
I actively search for what's next in jazz for my Wednesday Night Jazz Odyssey show. The goal of my program is to demonstrate musically that, "This sounds like this because of this." I strive for musical connections. I dig for what musicians and producers (of all genres) reference and transform. I dig for that in my live performances, as well.”