2nd Annual “Vocal Jazz Summit”

It was a privilege to be part of such a wonderful event. Great music and discussion in the wonderful atmosphere of Virginia Beach’s Zeiders American Dream Theatre – a very special...

GIACOMO GATES – YOU

“The context of many songs written and recorded, are composed by people with ‘I’ problems…but not these songs. All of these songs are about you.” – Giacomo Gates Jazz vocalist Giacomo Gates is blessed with a smooth and supremely expressive baritone voice and an all-inclusive musicality which encompasses a hipster-like coolness, a smattering of vocalese, an Eckstine-like seductiveness, the story telling ability of a griot, a firm footing in the blues and a sense of swing which is second-to-none. His performances can be quiet and full of insight (or innuendo) or be ebullient and joyful. Whatever style Gates may offer – be it sensitive, sensuous or syncopated – he infuses the music with an understated humor, wry cultural and social implications and an impish delight in surprising his listeners. You is a perfect example of Gates at his best with the vocalist putting together a program with a unique and decidedly altruistic leitmotiv. Here are 18 songs everybody knows and loves, arranged with creativity and wit and featuring Gates’ gregarious delivery so that there can be no mistake, “it’s all about you!” ALBUM CREDITS Giacomo Gates – vocals Tim Ray – piano John Lockwood – bass James Lattini – drums TRACKLISTING Exactly Like You I Can’t Give You Anything But Love With Plenty of Money and You I Didn’t Know About You The Nearness of You It Had to Be You I Thought About You I Want to Talk About You I Mean You P.S. I Love You Are You Havin’ Any Fun? I Remember You You’re Blasé Everything But You You’ve Changed Since I Fell for You I’ve Got News for You You Never Miss the Water ‘Till the Well Runs Dry “Not many people can master this music, but Giacomo Gates has. He’s an important man.” -Jon Hendricks, Sunday NY Times Feature This unequaled vocalese master is...

MELISSA ERRICO – THE FILM NOIR PROJECT

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, with all the world locked away in lonely rooms and only old movies to watch at midnight, singer and author Melissa Errico suddenly returned to one of her life-long obsessions – noir! That dark, disturbing sensibility of intractable fatalism that Paris existentialists discovered in American film in the nineteen forties, and that runs as a mesmerizing, mysterious current through modern movies and modern music alike. Along with her collaborator Adam Gopnik, she curated a series of film noir classics at New York’s FIAF, appeared in the New York Times with an essay on having a black sequined gown specially made to play the role of the femme fatale on stage and offered Manhattan a concert of noir songs. Now, her recording “Out Of The Dark: The Film Noir Project” brings together all of those threads in a single masterly sequence, a song cycle that offers an unforgettably sexy, sensual, and sophisticated arc, all black-velvet piano and vibraphone tones, telling a complete story of hope, despair, and hope renewed. In no sense a retro project, her choices reach from noir classics, like Laura and The Bad and The Beautiful, into the French chansons of the fifties and sixties, and includes the debut of four entirely new songs, by Michel Legrand, David Shire, and the late Peter Foley, all with arrangements by her musical director, pianist Tedd Firth. Errico’s dream was to paint a picture of an era now made mythological – the world of the 52nd Street jazz club, of the doomed and unfathomable chanteuse, of nightclub gangsters and exiled French poets – that would somehow speak to today’s condition. “Did you ever have the feeling that the world has gone and left you behind?” she sings in the rarely recorded verse of Matt Dennis’ “Angel Eyes” – and at a time when that feeling has become so universal, she sends us back into the past and forward into the future to affirm,...

VIVIAN BUCZEK – ROOTS

Vivian Buczek writes: “This is the most personal album I´ve made so far, where the music sums up my musical upbringing as well as the essence of me as a woman, singer and musician. I was raised in a musical home in Sweden by my parents; both being Polish jazz musicians. Having both feet in two different cultures has made me realize how important my roots are, what they mean and what they have contributed to in my life. As an only child, music was always an comfort and my closest friend and as a little girl I remember singing from the moment I woke up to the very last waking minute of the day. In my adult life, my love for music has affected me and it has become such a strong part of my identity. Now is the time for me to emphasize all the inspiration of which jazz, blues and soul have always been a prominent theme in my musical upbringing. The engaging and strong support from both my parents is something I´m forever grateful for and so I choose to dedicate this album to my loving mother Krystyna Buczek and father Bruno Buczek. A few year ago I met one of the greatest musicians and saxophone players in the world; Seamus Blake. From the very first time i heard him play I was blown away by his musicality that comes straight from his heart and soul; right away I knew I wanted to invite him as a special guest on this album,...

Rebecca Martin & Larry Grenadier – After Midnight

Considering that throughout her career, Rebecca Martin has teamed up with everyone from Paul Motian, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeff Ballard, and Brian Blade to the likes of Guillermo Klein and her partner Larry Grenadier—not forgetting her fairly recent collaboration called “Tillery” with singers Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens, one should think that the vocalist/singer-songwriter would be more widely known. And yet, her brilliant and slowly expanding discography remains a treasure-trove mostly reserved for a rather small group of adepts to relish. We can only hope that After Midnight will introduce her compositional ingenuity to a wider audience. It should. The album is a collaboration between the Portuguese brass and wind ensemble Orquestra Jazz De Matosinhos—directed and arranged by Pedro Guedes—and the duo of Grenadier and Martin. It traces highlights from throughout the singer and composer’s catalogue, plus a handful of standards. Among her compositions are the title track and “The Space in a Song to think,” both originally from The Growing Season (Sunnyside, 2008), now with beautifully layered arrangements that have the horns divided into groups continually echoing the songs’ steady arpeggiated guitar chords. “In The Nick of Time (State of the union),” by Grenadier with Martin’s lyrics, is a harmonically rich, arpeggio-based tune that blossoms in the broad arrangement for horns that subtly reacts to and expands the already complete sounding trio of Grenadier’s bass and Martin’s voice and guitar. There’s both a vocal-jazz quality and a singer-songwriter element to the singer’s voice, as well as her writing, combining a soft and raspy character with subtle, dynamic vocal phrasing while her compositions juggle the intricate harmonic tensions of jazz with often song-oriented structures. These aren’t new insights; in fact, they’re extensively documented over Martin’s past output. What does strike as fresh and yet unheard is how the expansion of the singer’s small group writing to large ensembles not just transforms Martin’s vision into a new dimension, but her songs now appear even more complete— as if...

Major Vocal Jazz Event Coming to “The Z” in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach’s beautiful Zeider’s American Dream Theatre (“The Z) will once again host the second annual “Vocal Jazz Summitt”.  Among the highlights of the 3 day event are live performances by Kurt Elling, Alexis Cole, and Samara Joy.   Check out Thez.org for more details....

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