SINGING GREAT GRANDMOTHER RELEASES FIRST ALBUM
After a lengthy hiatus from solo work, Paula Larsen will release her first album in May. The album entitled “Legacy” was produced in Fargo and will include a mix of smooth jazz, vocal hits from the 50s through the 80s, as well as some gospel. The initial release of “Legacy” (16 track version) will be a gift for family and friends. The second release of 11 tracks will be made available to the public on-line in May on CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, and other on-line sites.
Larsen credits her friend, Diane Townsend, with helping to make her dream come true. Townsend played sax with the Jazz Arts Group of Fargo-Moorhead, quiet jazz piano at the Radisson for a number of years, and bass and piano with various F-M bands since 1990. She encouraged Larsen to work with Jeff Mooridian, who has been producing albums in his Fargo studio for many years. As a guitarist, Mooridan is no stranger to jazz aficionados in the FM area, and he is also well-known to rock and country fans.
During her years as Development Director of KDSU Public Radio, Larsen created the River Jazz Festival. Through that experience she met many local musicians as well as national jazz artists that were hosted by the radio station. Jazz historian, the late Dr. James F. Condell, host of “Condell’s Corner” on KDSU 91.9 FM became a close friend. Larsen recalls mentioning to Condell that she sang. His response was “If you say you sing, why aren’t you singing.” That admonishment haunted Larsen for nearly 12 years until she retired. At that time, she began to take piano lessons in order to accompany herself on vocals.
Ten years ago she helped form “The Doves of Peace,” a trio at her home church. It has become a ladies quartet that sings at various venues, including monthly sing-alongs for the residents of a local retirement home. Also, Larsen has volunteered as a strolling musician playing accordion at the annual Scandinavian Festival of Fargo-Moorhead since 2002.
After hearing one of her songs recorded with full instrumentation, Larsen chose to go with a combo for the album instead of simply accompanying herself on vocals. She searched through titles of songs she had loved through the years which she had written on scraps of paper and napkins and tucked away in a file folder. A playlist emerged as well as the title, “Legacy,” to honor her father from whom she received the God-given gift of song.
The band brought together for the album is comprised of Diane Townsend, piano, vocals, alto sax; Jeff Mooridan, guitar, banjo, bass, vocals, and guitar synthesizer; and Glenn Olson, percussion. Guest artists are Russ Peterson (flute and tenor sax), Harley Sommerfeld (flute and alto sax), and Loy Larson (mandolin and harmonica).