Emi Takada | Why Did I Choose You?

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Why Did I Choose You?

by Emi Takada

Emi Takada would like to pay tribute to great composer, Michael Leonard and to his beautiful music. She also shows her respect to Jon Hendricks, who was one of the best singers in jazz history.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
1. It Might as Well Be Spring
4:06 album only
2. All the Things You Are
4:40 album only
3. You Must Believe in Spring
5:18 album only
4. I'm in the Mood for Love
5:12 album only
5. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
6:17 album only
6. Blue Skies / In Walked Bud
3:56 album only
7. Stormy Weather
5:07 album only
8. Lover, Come Back to Me
3:02 album only
9. Why Did I Choose You?
3:04 album only
10. No More Blues
4:58 album only
11. Miagetegoran Yoru-No Hoshi-Wo
5:04 album only


Album Notes
We have a word, “EN,” in Japanese. I can’t find an English word for it, but it means a very strong bond. We meet many people every day and a few of them are very special. I believe that we meet those people for a reason, that it’s meant to be.

And I believe that I met Marion Cowings in New York City because we have “EN”. He is my mentor, my friend, and my family. No matter where I am, his heart is always with me, and it is because of him in large part that I have been able to keep singing until today.

Marion introduced me to Satoshi Inoue about seven years ago, who used lived in NYC for twenty-one years and now is one of the greatest guitarists in Japan. He’s has supported me singing in Japan since I’ve been back there in 2017 and I asked Inoue to produce this album.

I met Michael Kanan about 3 years ago through Marion. He is one of my favorite pianists in NYC. I learned that Michael and Satoshi have been very good friends and decided to ask him to join this recording.

Neal Miner is Michael’s favorite bassist. They work together with a widely-known jazz singer, Jane Monheit. He has always had a great reputation but I never got to meet him until this session.

Dwayne ‘Cook’ Broadnax has been one of my favorite drummers since I performed with him about 2 years ago. Cook and Michael worked with the legendary jazz singer, Jimmy Scott.

Those bonds of “EN” in the rhythm section made this recording happen along with Marion joining as guest singer and percussionist.

And the recording sessions were a blast!
Each member had strong feelings about the recording and didn’t compromise easily. I got chills many times when I heard their amazing phrasing and felt the vibration in my whole body. The tunes were diamonds in the rough at the rehearsal, were polished and brightened with everyone’s excellent ideas, and finally became gorgeous jewelry at the end of recording sessions. On the last day of sessions, we dressed up for a promotional video, which made us feel like we were giving a concert and we gave our best performance. We were a great team and I learned that great teamwork can make miracles happen.

Gratitude and tribute to great musicians
I wanted the album title to relate to the “EN” we had in recording it and I finally decided on “Why Did I Choose You?” My answer to that question is that I chose this group because of the “EN” among us. “Why Did I Choose You?” is a beautiful ballad by composer Michael (Mickey) Leonard, who also composed the title song of my previous album, “I’m All Smiles”. I met Mickey through a dear friend (also “EN”) and was very honored to get his original music sheets of these songs. He congratulated me on the release of my first album but passed away about a year later. I would like to pay tribute to him and to his beautiful music.

I would also like to show my respect to Jon Hendricks, who was Marion Cowings’ mentor and who just passed November 22, 2017. Hendricks was one of the best singers in jazz history and was known for adding lyrics to the melody lines of instrumental jazz themes and improvisations.

I believe that my life and my music has always been created and cherished by people who have “EN” and I care and love those people with all my heart.

It Might As Well Be Spring 
Hello, spring! But spring hasn’t come yet. Then why am I so restless? What makes me feel so thrilled and excited, yet somehow gloomy? Enjoy this puzzling feeling in samba rhythm.

All the Things You Are
I love this song with its beautiful melody and poetic lyrics. I started singing the introductory verse recently and that makes this great song even more beautiful and charming.

You Must Believe in Spring
Knowing that my best friend had terminal cancer in March, 2015, I started singing this beautiful song by Michel Legrand. I sang it every week at my gigs praying for her to recover from her illness. She’s gone now and I’m still moved to tears when I sing it.

I’m In the Mood for Love
Every time when I visit Satoshi Inoue at his gig, he plays this tune. I’ve come to like it more and more. The 6/4 rhythm works really beautifully for telling the story that I want to be in love. You might feel like dancing to it.

Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
When I first heard this song, I cried. Just after I was born, I had the experience of being forced me to be apart from my mother. I think this song subconsciously reminds me of my childhood sadness. I still hate goodbyes. It’s also one of my favorite songs by Cole Porter, whom I really love and respect. And singing this as a duet with my mentor, Marion Cowings, filled me with gentle but strong feelings.

Blue Skies / In Walked Bud
Another of my favorite songwriters, Irving Berlin, wrote “Blue Skies,” which became one of the first songs to be featured in a talkie movie. Later Thelonious Monk composed “In Walked Bud” based on the chord progression of “Blue Skies” as a tribute to his musical soul mate, Bud Powell. Later, Jon Hendricks added lyrics.

Stormy Weather
It took me a long time to start singing blues songs because I was afraid of singing them with a Japanese accent. But when I first performed this song at the local club, the whole audience stood up and applauded, perhaps to cheer me up. I’ll never forget it. Everyone knows the blues feeling, and it has nothing to do with ethnic differences. I just sing my heart out with the feeling of pain and loneliness.

Lover, Come Back to Me
This great song expresses the sadness and loneliness you feel when lover is gone. Even with the fast tempo arrangement, she’s begging her lover to come back.

Why Did I Choose You?
Here I am expressing my gratitude for all that surrounds me--family, friends, music, and my life. I choose you and I choose my life. This is also my tribute to a great composer, Mickey Leonard, whose beautiful music will live on forever.

No More Blues (Chega de Saudade)
This song is a tribute to my mentor’s mentor, Jon Hendricks. “Chega de Saudade,” composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, is often recognized as the first recorded bossa nova song and Hendricks later wrote English lyrics for it. “No More Blues” is about the end of sadness, loneliness, and longing.

Miagete Goran Yoru no Hoshi wo
When Cowings was on a Japan tour in 2011 just after Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, I suggested that he learn this favorite Japanese song from my childhood. He has loved it since then and he wanted to include it in this recording. It says: “We’ll hold hands with each other and pursue our dreams so that we can overcome whatever happens, wishing a peaceful future without fights and fears.”

Born in Sapporo, Japan. Emi Takada studied classical piano from a young age. At age of 10, she began singing in the HBC Boys and Girls Choral Group and engaging in exchange with children overseas. She was moved by being able to communicate with others through music, which transcends all borders. She came to the United States in 1997 and joined the Houston Symphony Chorus as a soprano. Following a return to Japan to learn chanson, she had great success with live performances in Shinjuku, Tokyo at the club Champagne and then came to New York in 2010 to study jazz under Marion Cowings. She made her New York City debut as a jazz vocalist in 2011 at 5C Cafe in downtown Manhattan and received great acclaim from various quarters. Then Takada moved to Houston and performed regularly with pianist, Bob Henschen and other prominent musicians. She also had a monthly gig in NYC from June 2015 to December 2016, with pianist, Chiemi Nakai,John di Martino, Michael Kanan and the other great musicians and several times a year in Japan with guitarist, Satoshi Inoue.
She released her jazz CD album “I’m All Smiles” on Nov 25, 2014 and performed at Cezanne, the premiere jazz club in Houston, to standing ovations. She returned to Tokyo, Japan in January, 2017 and keeps performing in several venue.
She continues to pursue songs that connect the power of music with the deep meaning of words, and to touch people's hearts, characterized by her transparent, gentle voice quality and overflowing emotion.

"Emi Takada was born to sing. I enjoy her honest approach to the craft.
Emi relays great feeling, and that's what singing is all about." --- Marion Cowings (Jazz vocalist)

"There is something very special about Emi Takada's singing.
Beyond choosing great songs and displaying real talent in jazz interpretation, Emi touches the heart.
She captivates, which is a rare gift." --- Bob Henschen (Jazz pianist)



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