MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
When you think about children's music, jazz may not be the first thing that comes to mind and that's why the musician we're about to hear stands out. Her name is Lori Henriques. Reviewer Stefan Shepherd tells us that her new album, "How Great Can This Day Be" is an excellent showcase of her talent.
STEFAN SHEPHERD, BYLINE: Lori Henriques started writing for kids simply as a way to teach her piano students.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE")
LORI HENRIQUES: (Singing) How great can this day be? How great, we're gonna see. I love to ask this question and let it hang in the air and smile at me.
SHEPHERD: But recently Henriques has found an even wider audience. Last year she won the Joe Raposo Children's Music Award named for the composer of classic songs for the "Sesame Street" and "The Muppets." It's a natural fit, as her smart and joyful music sounds like it would fit right in on those shows.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I SAY WOO")
HENRIQUES: (Singing) I like to say woo when I'm having a real good time. I say woo when I'm feeling the warm sunshine. I say woo when you're showing your sweet, sweet smile. I say woo when you're dancing your own sweet style. I say woo when I feel a good downbeat. I say woo when I'm standing on my own two feet.
SHEPHERD: There's a song about visiting Paris, sung half in French with her older child. And her interest in science leads to a song about primates. Henriques fills her lyrics with dense wordplay packed with internal rhymes and vocabulary for an older audience as in "In A Park" an ode to food forests.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN A PARK")
HENRIQUES: (Singing) It's so delish I wish I'd thought of it. If I were rich I'd do a lot of it. Parks with edible greenery? Sustenance and scenery. Swing in the sun sounds like such fun. Underdog push. Raspberry bush. Play hide and seek. Go pick a leek. Harvest some kale. Fill up your pail.
SHEPHERD: Even in a kids' music world filled with clever, openhearted musicians, Lori Henriques' songs stand out for their intelligence and empathy. "How Great Can This Day Be" is a reminder that even the most modern kids songs can have a timeless sound.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I AM YOUR FRIEND")
HENRIQUES: (Singing) It feels so good to have a friend like you. I hope we're friends till we're 102.
MATT KEESLAR: (Singing) I feel so happy you befriended me. We'll still be friends till we're 103.
HENRIQUES: (Singing) I love the feeling that's inside of me. I smile so big when I remember we are really friends.
KEESLAR: (Singing) It's not pretend.
HENRIQUES: (Singing) I am your friend.
BLOCK: We're listening to the album "How Great Can This Day Be" by Lori Henriques. Stefan Shepherd is a blogger. He writes about kids music at zooglobble.com.
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