Malesha Taylor(opera) and Richard Thompson(pianist/composer)
Richard Thompson, educator (San Diego State University), pianist, composer expands his recorded and performed body of work with art song cycles. The Scottish born musician is a mentor and a friend who encouraged me through graduate school. Thompson and I continue to talk from time to time, despite both our busy schedules and various music projects in need of completion.
As many of you already know, his opera about Paul Laurence Dunbar has been successfully staged in several American cities so far.
I have written several interviews featuring Richard Thompson over the years, but still enjoy casual collegial conversation, sharing thoughts about music without interview questions and responses cluttering the dialogue--just sharing thoughts about music and artistry as musicians.
Richard's work spans classical to jazz on a music continuum that has blended genres and his work is delightfully difficult to place in one specific genre. He likes it that way.
During one such discussion, talking music while in his office, Richard "posed" for the photo below as he talked about working on a song cycle. The picture, one of my favorites.
I first heard Malesha Taylor sing at a memorial service for master educator Tchaiko Guyana. The service was at The World Beat Center in San Diego, CA. Makeda Dredd, a family friend, opened the venue to the community.The audience celebrated Tchaiko's work, community contributions, and her life.
Makeda Dredd and Delores Fisher
Malesha Taylor, a guest vocalist, soulfully sang one of Tchaiko's favorite hymns, offering her artistry as consolation to the family observing Tchaiko's transition. She blended vocal techniques of the African American "raw" spiritual and "the Fisk Jubilee Singers" style with ease.
A few weeks later, San Diego experienced Thompson's song cycles interpreted through the vocal beauty of opera singer Malesha Taylor in a premier performance at Dizzy's, A venue where people actually go to listen to and enjoy artists play and sing music.Malesha Taylor
Much in demand, Malesha Taylor also works in the chorus of the San Diego Civic Opera. Malesha Taylor sings two of pianist Richard Thompson's song cycles at Dizzy's http://sdcitybeat.com/events/richard-thompson-malesha-taylro/
Taylor continues to perform in the San Diego area and there may be another song cycle performance in the future. Here's an example of Taylor's artistry.
Richard Thompson returns to Dizzy's on October 20th http://www.dizzysjazz.com/index.php
with his Richard Thompson Quintet, with Derek Cannon-trumpet, Tripp Sprague-saxophone/flute, Mack Leighton-bass, & Charlie Weller-drums.