Singer Helps Children Learn To Bop

New CD Jazz for Kids — Everybody's Boppin aimed at youngsters.

Boston Herald

BOSTON — Plenty of people have good ideas. Following through with original, well-executed results is something else altogether.

Easton, Mass., jazz singer Lisa Yves has managed that nifty trick on a new CD, Jazz for Kids — Everybody's Boppin (DCC).

Uh oh, you may be thinking, that sounds a little too cutesy to handle. And if it's pure McCoy Tyner, John Zorn or Sonny Rollins you're looking for, you might want to pass.

But Jazz for Kids manages to do justice to the genre while actually informing and entertaining kids — or kids at heart.

Offering an entree into the jazz world for children and helping to build a new generation of jazz lovers are what drove Yves to undertake the project. That was underscored when she began teaching music to kids after she moved to Easton from New York with her husband and young daughter in 1995.

"I really wanted to teach the kids what I loved most, jazz, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed it and how much they really wanted to sing that style of music," Yves said, adding that her first student was 7 years old.

The album captures Yves singing with a small group of well-trained students and backed by the crack ensemble of woodwind player Mike Monaghan, bassist Marshall Wood, pianist Brad Hatfield, trumpeter Ken Cervenka and drummer Jim Gwin.

It's a mix of Yves originals, classics such as "Twisted" (RealAudio excerpt), "In a Mellow Tone," "Sing Sing Sing" and "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and tunes such as "Freddie Freeloader" with lyric changes by Yves.

"I was always looking for good stuff to listen to in the car with my kids," Yves said about her daughters, Laura, almost 6, and Dagny, 3. "I love different kinds of music and I didn't find anything on the market that I was crazy about.

"I was looking for stuff that was jazzy, maybe not for a jazz purist, but jazz you could bop your head and snap your fingers to."

Yves found it with "Jazz For Kids," and now she's planning a follow-up.

"I always test everything on (my daughters)," she said. "They love it. I'm really happy about that because I want my kids to like what I'm doing. I want them to like my music."

— Bob Young