I am pleased and a little surprised to report that Out Under the Sky, the newest CD from my jazz band, Chaise Lounge, made it to number 9 on a national folk music chart. Folk? you say. That’s what I said! But when I thought about it, it made sense. The band has embraced a lot of musical styles that are pretty far afield from our original “1960’s jazz” mission statement. This album has a traditional Appalachian Christmas carol on it, along with a folksy original called “Clean White Snow” and a few roots numbers. I have always struggled to define the music of Chaise Lounge. Maybe it is “folk music that swings.”
I recently finished scoring a doc called Invisible Warriors for the director Gregory Cooke. This film has been a 12-year labor of love for him—the story of Black “Rosie the Riveters,” including his own mother, who joined factory lines during World War II, but whose inspiring stories were not as heralded as those of other Rosies. With little documentation or archival footage of these women, it was a nearly impossible film to put together, but Gregory somehow managed it: The movie had a virtual premiere in March, and there has been a lot of interest from streaming services. The poster for the film, created by art director Gina Cooke, is a portrait of Ruth Wilson, who worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the war and helped build the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Valley Forge. Ms Wilson recently turned 99. I am rooting for this film and its indefatigable director. It’s time for Ms Wilson and her fellow Rosies to get their due.