Saturday, August 1, 2015

story behind the film's title track

Lacy James' "Today in the City" energizes opening and closing credits.

One of my biggest joys while editing this film has been listening to the lyrics in Lacy James’ “Today in the City,” the song heard at the beginning and during the scrolling credits at the end. I first met Lacy when I was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (believe it or not, I ended up at that school not only because it had one of the best dance programs in the country, but because it was in a city with the name “green” in it). 

The towers had recently fallen. I was living in New York City. I decided if the world was coming to an end, I wanted to have fun so I pursued an MA in Dance and Related Studies (Theatre, Film and History). John Gamble and the recently departed Jan Van Dyke served on my committee. I am honored to have worked with them and others.

While at UNCG, I learned how to edit using Final Cut. And while there, I met Lacy, one of the graduate students with prior dance training. She was also a musician, something I did not learn until after I graduated and went on to continue my graduate work in Illinois. 
See her blog entry to learn more about how she came up with the inspiration to write “Today in the City.” I was drawn to it for a number of reasons among them her initial mention of seeing a “friend.” This is said alongside of other things that suggested loss, even loss experienced when the Twin Towers fell.

When Grant, my former husband, interviewed alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson in 1995 under the Brooklyn Bridge, you can see the towers still there. I could feel multiple layers of a narrative in her song and most especially the loss of Grant Green, the father. I’ll leave it there for now. 

Please check out her song which is a jazz tune she had not planned to write or perform. Her line up of musicians include saxophonist Tom Tallitsch whose sound has been compared to Blue Note’s tenor saxmen Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson who passed away just a few months before the towers fell. I love that Tallitsch's horn takes the film to the very last scrolling credit. I am no music critic, but his sound captivates as one sees the words "for Joan" at the very end. This is the name of dear friend who passed away in 2013. Like Jan, she was a huge inspiration. Also performing on this track: Charles Patierno on drums, Jeff Hiatt on double bass and Tony Mascara on vibes and percussion.

One aside: given my love for the Philly soul sound, I was intrigued to learn about Lacy’s recordings in Philadelphia in the Gamble-Huff studios. Jim Gallagher, the co-producer for her first album, was Philly International's main engineer. She later found out that the Jackson 5 had probably recorded on the very same mixing board.

Finally, I am also working to secure the rights to use one of Grant's songs. More to come.


  1. So fab!! I am so blessed to be included in this amazing project! XOXO

    1. So glad to have you participating. Thanks, Lacy! xxox

  2. Thank you for your kind words and generous compliments.