Lenore Raphael

Lenore Raphael

“Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.” -Duke Ellington.

Over the weekend, we had a chance to speak with Lenore Raphael – an outstanding Jazz performer and Steinway artist. Inspired by her brother who played trumpet, and by playing the piano at a very early age, Lenore set her eyes on manifesting her dreams to become a great jazz artist.

Though she admired the creations of legends such as Oscar Peterson, Lenore confesses that one of the best things that happened was having the pleasure to play with Mr. Peterson’s drummers – Martin Drew in London and Bobby Durham on a previous Jazz cruise.

NYE: What was the most exceptional place that you have played?

With great enthusiasm, Lenore recalls her experience and performance in Johannesburg, South Africa. “It is such a remarkable moment when you are performing with musicians from other countries who know the music. It is also one of those unforgettable music creations that brings together Western and African combinations.”

We speak a little more about the history of Jazz and how this amazing form of music contributes to the newer generation of its genre.

For those of us who are familiar with different types of Jazz music, it is easy to see how history has contributed to Smooth, Brazilian, Funk Jazz and so much more – especially with a great influence that ties together music from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s until today.

Let’s not forget the individual influences of that time – Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and so many more.

NYE: What would be your greatest advice for those who seek to pursue Jazz?

Lenore sums it up perfectly by stating the best thing to do is to find a good teacher – similar to her mentors: Berry Harris and Michael Longo.

The second piece of advice offered is to listen to everything and everyone in jazz you admire– but most importantly know your instrument. “As you familiarize with your craft, the easier it is to implement what you want to do with your instrument and create what you want to create.”

Though Lenore has cast her Jazz spell at the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and briefly when she was very young at Carnegie Hall, she would love to return back to South Africa in 2015. She would also love to play at the annual Cape Town and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. ..and definitely back to Carnegie Hall for a full performance.

NYE: It’s Saturday night and you are not performing, what are you listening to?

After a few moments of laughter she replies “I’m listening to jazz or classical music.” Her favorite classical pianist is Emanuel Axe because he is “emotionally appealing” – love it.

Lenore Raphael is currently on tour and will be performing at Minton’s in New York on November 14, 2013 before heading to the West Coast in January.

“I’m not sure what Jazz really is.. but I know it when I hear it.” – Unknown.

By: Laura Artis

T: @Lauraslifeonink.