Posts Tagged ‘ Vocal Jazz ’

Clint Holmes – Rendezvous

Singer-songwriter Clint Holmes reminisces about his youth, recalling the times he spent Sunday afternoons with his father at the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo. That captures the essence of the title song to Rendezvous (LL Music, 2017).

A little historical context is needed to understand the venue’s name. Through the 1960s and into the ’70s, “colored” was the common term for African Americans, or black people, in the United States. Holmes’ father was black, and his mother white.

“I was 12, and it was a true coming of age moment for me,” Holmes says. “I had never seen my dad in this world. He worked three jobs and never seemed happy until I saw him in this element. I fell in love with jazz and how cool it felt to interact with those ‘cats’ the way my dad did.”

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Fay Claassen – Luck Child

Vocalist Fay Claassen has been singing for many years. Luck Child (Challenge Records, 2017) is a compilation of favorites that she’s never recorded before.

The artist presents an ode to youth and beauty, with a mix of old songs and new, including two written by Paul Heller.

The musicians are Olaf Polziehn, piano; Peter Tiehuis, guitar; Ingmar Heller, bass; and on “Miniature No. 7,” Paul Heller, clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor saxophone.

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Scott Morgan – Songs of Life

It’s worth noting that when Scott Morgan selected the music for his debut album, he broke with the tried and true practice of remaking standards from “The American Songbook.” That alone makes Songs of Life (Miranda Music, 2016) different from most vocalist debuts. There are a few standards, but there are also jazz arrangements of pop songs, covers of lesser-known jazz pieces and songs written or co-written by the album’s producer.

For his entry into the world of recorded music, Morgan is accompanied by Fred Hersch, piano; Matt Aronoff, bass; Ross Pederson, drums; with special guest Joel Frahm, tenor saxophone on selected tracks.

“Song of Life” is a sunny, easygoing piece highlighted by Hersch’s piano opening and solo, crisp stick work by Pederson, and Frahm’s subtle phrases throughout and his bright, end solo. The lyrics express Morgan’s experience of a fall day in New York City – the sights, the sounds and the joy of being alive.

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Anna Danes – Find Your Wings

During the summer, as vocalist Anna Danes planned the marketing and promotional aspects of her new album, Find Your Wings (DLG Records, 2016), she learned that she has breast cancer. She penned a motivational blog, Cancer Part 1: Vanity Saved My Life, to educate and inspire others who are dealing with their own health challenges.

Accompanying Danes are Rich Ruttenberg, piano; John Ferraro, drums; and Trey Henry, bass. Richard Shelton joins for a duet on “That’s All.”

“I Will Wait for You” has a moderate, finger-snapping, toe-tapping pace. Danes opens with a haunting chant before delving into the lyrics. She sings of a lover whose gone away for some purpose not mentioned in the song. What matters is that she’ll is patient, longing for his return. Ruttenberg complements with fills underneath her lead, as well as a middle solo. Ferraro and Henry are steady throughout, with the pair coming out more during the instrumental fade.

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Maggie Herron – Between the Music and the Moon

Events and locations are typically considered tourist attractions. But if it can be said that a voice is a draw, Maggie Herron fits the bill. But for those unable to travel to Hawaii to see and hear her in person, there is Between the Music and the Moon (2016).

Herron is accompanied in various lineups by Bill Cunliffe, piano; Grant Geissman, guitar; the horn section of Bob Sheppard, sax, Brian Scanlon, baritone sax, Bob McChesney, trombone, and Ron Stout, trumpet; Dean Taba, bass; Abe Lagrimas, drums; Denise Donatelli, harmony vocals; Alex Acuna, percussion; Ramon Stagnaro, guitar; DeShannon Higa, trumpet. Stout and Sheppard each appear on one track without the other horns, the former opting for flugelhorn.

The horn section gives a creepy introduction to “Wolf,” a stealthy, stalking, swinging tune. Think film noir meets “Stray Cat Strut.” Sheppard stretches out a bit during the middle break, with the other horns sounding like a mini big band.

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Lindsey Webster – Back To Your Heart

Originally a cellist singer/songwriter Lindsey Webster found her musical way to the vocal interpretation in the Soul, Pop and R&B genre. With her self titled debut album (2013) she won “Best Acoustic Song” in the Independent Music Awards. Her second album You Change (2015) aroused the attention of the listeners and increased the degree of awareness. With the third album Back To Your Heart (2016) she is designated to achieve her international breakthrough as an artist of the contemporary jazz genre.

Musicians on this album are beside vocalist Lindsey Webster on selected tracks Keith Slattery (keyboards), Mike DeMicco and Tony DePaolo (guitar), Fred Doumbe (bass), Dan Hickey (drums), Foluso Mimy (percussion), Ken Gioffre and Kirk Whalum (sax) and the additional horn section on Ain’t It Funny with Jay Collins (baritone sax & horn arrangements), Ken Gioffre (tenor sax), Joe Fiedler (trombone) and Chris Pasin (trumpet).

Back To Your Heart is scheduled for release November 4, 2016 on Shanachie Entertainment. All songs are written by Lindsey Webster & Keith Slattery. Lindsey comments euphorically: “Here it is our third album! I am excited to say that this is by far our best work. In terms of the songwriting, the production, and the overall sound, we are thrilled to deliver this labor of love to you. Special care was taken on each song to make it the best it could possibly be, and I think that my evolution as an artist, a songwriter, and a producer are reflected on this album″.

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Anna Danes – Find Your Wings

FindYourWingsIt was against all odds that Anna Danes found herself standing in Capitol Records Studio A, in front of the same microphone used by her role models, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, recording an a cappella song that she wrote for her sophomore album. In the dimly lit studio in the heart of Hollywood, the woman who escaped communist Poland as a child and overcame the pain and loneliness of a loveless marriage by discovering her voice just three years ago poured her broken heart into the intimate album closer, “I Love You,” as producer Dave Darling sat spellbound at the recording console. In the famed studio during sessions financed by selling a car, Danes shared her deeply personal tales of love and loss through the six acoustic jazz songs that she wrote for “Find Your Wings,” the DLG Records disc scheduled for release on October 14 that is completed by five standards and a stunning interpretation of blues singer Janiva Magness’ “When You Were My King.”

Late last month, as Danes plotted with her marketing and promotions team to gear up for the upcoming album release, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. True to the theme of “Find Your Wings,” the positive-minded vocalist faced her worst fears, saw the silver lining and penned a motivational blog, “Cancer Part 1: Vanity Saved My Life,” to help educate and encourage others facing their own health and personal challenges (http://www.annadanes.com/2016/07/31/cancer-part-1-vanity-saved-life/).

When Danes began the recording project that is slated to street during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she had the desire to emulate the sound of a pair of jazz vocal albums from the esteemed duo of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. Darling kept Danes’ captivating and expressive voice front and center in the mix using only sparse accompaniment from pianist Rich Ruttenberg, drummer John Ferraro and bassist Trey Henry. Blessed with a classic voice possessing charm, warmth, elegance and grace, Danes’ patient delivery and vocal phrasing uncoils with poise and complete control despite the vulnerability and intensity of her emotion-charged subject matter. Love is her ever-present muse on “Find Your Wings.” On originals, she sings a haunting melody on “The Voice,” pines hopefully on “See You In L.A.” and longs to see forever in the eyes of her lover on “Long Distance.” Among those she interprets from the Great American Songbook are Michel Legrand’s “I Will Wait For You,” Sammy Cahn’s “It’s Crazy” and Johnny Mercer’s “I Want To Be Around” while on the romantic duet “That’s All,” she takes enduring vows with Richard Shelton’s debonair tenor. Continue reading