OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Kids CD Review: Lori Henriques How Great Can This Day Be

The new kindie jazz album from Lori Henriques has Dave Loftin reflecting back on Gilberto (João & Astrud), Stan Getz, The Electric Factory, and Dave Brubeck.

Lori-Henriques-How-Great-Can-This-Day-Be-Album-Art

A Review of Lori Henriques How Great Can This Day Be

by Dave Loftin

The world of kindie is a many splendored thing. But like any genre of music, kindie (kid’s + indie) has its hits and, more and more lately, its misses. So, what does a maker of music do when we have more pop, rock, and folk music (boy, do we ever) than ever being released in the kindie world?

Enter Lori Henriques.

How Great Can This Day Be, the Portland Oregon pianist and songwriter’s fourth album, introduces your kids to jazz and all its glory. And I’m talking about the fun-­filled jazz — upbeat time changes, big band, rag time, and the like. Not heroin­-fueled “improv­is­great­but­what­the­hell­was­that” jazz.

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Henriques gets hearts pumping right out of the gate with the title track, a positive note that at the very least will plant a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Make sure you don’t skip over the bossa nova beauty in “Groove”. Listen to this song and tell me you don’t hear an exceptional mix of Gilberto, Getz and Sesame Street.

Immediately following her samba groove is “Beau Paris,” which sounds like a deleted scene from Mary Poppins after the rogue nanny steals the kids away to France. That’s a big compliment, by the way. “I Am Your Friend” makes a strong case for the return of The Electric Company (in its original glory) so that Henriques could sing duets with Tom Lehrer.

Also, and this is something I usually don’t care about, there is the spectacular packaging here. The moment I took this disc out of the mailer I immediately flashed back to flipping though my dad’s albums and recalled stumbling upon his Brubeck vinyl. Moving forward and looking back, that’s the true genius of Lori Henriques’ How Great Can This Day Be.

The breathtaking musicianship on How Great Can This Day Be stands as a shining example that music for children most certainly does not have to suck. This is not the first jazz album to drop on the kindie crowd (see: Coal Train Railroad, Oran Etkin, Lucy Kalantari) but it’s by far one of the best.

*Find more of Dave’s kindie music picks on his radio show and podcast, The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl.

Hear more praise for Lori Henriques’ How Great Can This Day Be on NPR in a piece by Stefan Shepherd, mine and Dave’s old Kindiefest Brooklyn roommate and the proprietor of the robust kid’s music site, Zooglobble.

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