Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
This acquisition also marks the Harlem native's "return" to the neighborhood of his youth. Rollins was profoundly influenced and inspired by the sights and sounds of the Harlem Renaissance and its pioneers, including Duke Ellington and Louis Jordan, who shaped modern music and Rollins's creative life.
"Well, I'm home again," Rollins said. "Home, where I absorbed the rich culture which was all around me. Where, on 137th Street, two blocks from the Schomburg, I was born in 1930. This archive reveals my life in music, how someone principally self-taught became taught. How the spiritual light of jazz protected and fed me, as it does to this day."
Spanning a 60-year career and more than 80 albums, the Rollins archive is rich with texture, offering an intimate look into the creativity, curiosity, and organization that led to the artist's creative process and practice. Archive items range from audio reels and cassettes of unheard music and practice sessions, personal photographs from Rollins's travels abroad, sheet music with margin notes, personal writing, practice diaries, and handwritten letters between Rollins and his wife and partner of more than 45 years, Lucille Pearson Rollins.
The archive also offers insight into Rollins's social and professional network of musicians through detailed notes from recorded sessions, letters, and snapshots from touring over the decades.
To be primarily housed within the Schomburg Center's Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division, the Rollins archive joins a robust collection of jazz-related materials across the institution's divisions, including the A Great Day in Harlem Documentary collection, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History project, the Don Redman papers, the Billy Taylor collection, the Ron Carter collection, and the Duke Ellington Society collection.
This acquisition also adds significant weight to the New York Public Library's collection of jazz-related items including the George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian papers, which include letters from Rollins to Avakian and several unreleased live and studio recordings from Rollins's time at RCA; the Ivan Black papers that include promotional and performance photographs of Rollins; along with the Sy Oliver, Phoebe Jacobs, and Benny Goodman collections.
"Rollins had a measure of professional and personal stability that allowed him to collect the artifacts of his life from original manuscripts and compositions to his business records, unlike many of his peers. In this sense, his archive is unique," said Shola Lynch, curator of the Schomburg's Moving Image and Recorded Sound division."He has also been aware of keeping the flame. As Rollins said recently of his peers and mentors: 'They're not here now so I feel like I'm sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I'm one of the last guys left, as I'm constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.' As in life, Rollins's archive will undoubtedly evoke them and their musical relationships, and through it, will add granularity to a swath of black history. For the first time, Rollins has opened the doors to studying his music, life, and work as a giant of jazz."
"Famous for his reinventions, Sonny Rollins and his archive reveal the profound nature of jazz, America's classical music. Drafts, notes on composition, extensive correspondence, the entire spirit and scope of the Rollins archive show his sophisticated, sustained, and spiritual creative process up close in a way that may best be called literary," said Kevin Young, noted author and Director of the Schomburg Center. "Having the archive of Sonny Rollins come home here, just blocks from where he was born and grew into one of our finest artists, provides a connection to the geniuses who made Harlem and whose legacies, like those of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou, also are housed at the Schomburg."
Highlights from the Sonny Rollins Archive include:
● Personal papers, diaries, notes, and drawings illuminating Rollins's private thoughts and creative process sporadically through the decades
● Recordings of practice sessions as well as recording takes from as early as the 1960s
● Snapshots and photos from life on the road with his fellow musicians from as early as the 1960s
● Personal correspondence between Rollins and his wife and manager, Lucille Pearson, over the decades that range the gamut from love notes to unfiltered thoughts related to colleagues, bandmates, and business
The Sonny Rollins archive will be processed over the next year at NYPL's Library Services Center in Long Island City, and will be made available for research at the Schomburg Center.
About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 90 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg's collections and programs can be found at schomburgcenter.org.
About the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations-including research and branch libraries-throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.
Photo of Sonny Rollins by John Abbott.
Web Sites: sonnyrollins.com, schomburgcenter.org
Read the New York Times piece about the archive acquisition (by Giovanni Russonello)
Born Sebastião Oliveira da Paz in 1926, he died February 23, 2010 in São Paulo, Brazil. Sabá was also a member of the Dick Farney Trio and played for many years with Wilson Simonal as well as with Elis Regina, Jair Rodrigues, Casé etc.
CONTEMPORARY, RETRO-Inspired SOUL SONGS with Male or Female Vocals are needed by an excellent Film/TV Music Library that has a TON of awesome placements in many high-end Films and TV Shows. They’re searching for soulfully expressive, Mid-to-Up Tempo Songs that could be found on the same playlist as artists/songs like (but not limited to):
“Fool For You” by Cee lo Green ft. Melanie Fiona
“Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor
“Valerie” by Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse
Give them well-crafted Songs that have all the retro appeal of the references mentioned above. Your submission should have Motown era rhythms, catchy melodies, captivating lyrics and a great big, infectious chorus. You’d be wise to have a really strong vocal performance that’s full of attitude and soul! Lyrics that don’t have references to specific names, dates, times, brands, and places could make your song more appealing.
Please do NOT copy or rip off the referenced artists or songs in any way, shape, or form. Use them as a general guide for tempo, tone, and overall vibe. Broadcast Quality is needed (great sounding home recordings are fine).
This company offers an EXCLUSIVE deal, so please be sure the songs you pitch for this opportunity are NOT already signed with any other Libraries or Catalogs. Any sync fees will be split 50/50 with the Company. You’ll get 100% of the Writer’s share, and the Publisher will get 100% of the Publisher’s share. You must own or control your Master and Copyright to submit. Please submit one to three Songs online or per CD, include lyrics. All submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PDT), on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017. TAXI #S170621RS
Join TAXI Today To Submit www.taxi.com
FUN, FEEL-GOOD TOP 40 INSTRUMENTALS are needed by an A-List Film/TV Music Publishing Company that’s always landing lots of upper crust placements. They’re looking for fresh, Mid-to-Up-Tempo Instrumentals in the stylistic ballpark of Artists/Songs like (but not limited to), Pharrell, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, etc., etc., etc. Please listen to the following references they gave us to get yourself in the general ballpark of what they’re looking for:
“Happy” by Pharrell
“Moves Like Jagger” By Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Although the references have vocals, please submit only Instrumentals for this pitch.
Give them well-crafted Instrumentals that have an emotionally up-beat feel, with catchy melodies, rhythmic beats, and a cool sounding ear-candy through-out. Your overall production should be current sounding (not dated, please) and have a slick, polished, Top 40 sound.
All submissions should be at between 3:00 and 5:00 minutes long, give or take. Non-Faded/Buttoned endings with a natural ring out will work best. Do not copy the references in any way, shape, or form. Use them only as general guide for overall feel, texture and tone. Broadcast quality is needed (great sounding home recordings are fine).
This company offers an EXCLUSIVE deal. You’ll split all upfront sync fees 50/50. The Publisher will get 100% of the Publisher’s share, and you’ll get 100% of the Writer’s share. You must own or control your Master and Copyright. Since this is an EXCLUSIVE deal, please be sure the material you submit for this pitch is NOT already signed with any other Libraries or Catalogs. Please submit one to three Instrumentals online or per CD. All submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PDT), on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017. TAXI #Y170620FI
Join TAXI Today To Submit
CONTEMPORARY, POSITIVE RAP/HIP-HOP SONGS with Male Vocals are needed by a Music Licensing Company that’s not looking for “typical library music”. They’re looking for music that is either from real artists, or sounds so convincing that you can’t tell that it’s not from a working artist or band. They’re always pitching to competitive, high-end placements, and they want music that doesn’t sound like it came from a typical “library.” Please submit fresh sounding Mid-to-Up-Tempo Songs that could be found on a playlist with acts like (but not limited to):
“Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
“Black SpiderMan” by Logic ft. Damian Lemar
“Perfect” by J. Cole ft. TLC
Please send them well-crafted Rap/Hip Hop Songs that are rhythmically compelling, with plenty of great hooks (rhythmic, melodic, and lyrical), with a great chorus. Your submission should have a current sounding beat, and a vocal performance that has a confident vocal delivery that’s full of swagger.
Your lyric themes can vary, but should be in the general range of the references and other songs in that ballpark. Universal lyrics will usually work best, so please avoid specific names, places, dates, times, brands, and especially profanity. Do NOT copy the referenced acts in any way, shape, or form. Use them only as a guide for tempo, tone, and vibe. Also, do NOT submit any material with unauthorized samples of other artists’ songs, sounds, or any other form of media. Broadcast Quality is needed (great sounding home recordings are fine).
This company offers an EXCLUSIVE deal. You’ll split all upfront sync fees 50/50. The Publisher will get 100% of the Publisher’s share, and you’ll get 100% of the Writer’s share. You must own or control your Master and Copyright. Since this is an EXCLUSIVE deal, please be sure the material you submit for this pitch is NOT already signed with any other Libraries or Catalogs. Please submit one to three Instrumentals online or per CD. All submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PDT), on Friday, June 16th, 2017. TAXI #S170616PR
Join TAXI Today To Submit
5010 N. Parkway Calabasas, #200, Calabasas, CA 91302
The Song of the Year songwriting contest will award over $80,000 cash and prizes to the top writers in the contest. Submit your best songs at http://www.songoftheyear.com
YOUR SONGS SENT TO RECORD LABELS AND PUBLISHERS
The top 50 songs from the Song of the Year songwriting contest will be sent to major and minor record labels, music publishers, managers, booking agents and more (including Warner Music, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music). Song of the Year has many music resources who are always excited to review the top songwriters in the contest for further consideration. More information at http://www.songoftheyear.com
"PICK MY PRIZE" PROMOTION
When you enter the songwriting contest you will automatically be eligible for the "Pick My Prize" promotion. Five individuals will be selected to receive any "one" of three promotional packages they choose. More information at http://www.songoftheyear.com
TEN SONGWRITING CATEGORIES
The songwriting contest offers ten categories so that everyone has a category that best fits their songwriting style. The ten categories are:
Only the "songwriting" merits of the songs are reviewed and judged in the songwriting contest. Production quality is not taken into consideration. Home recordings are accepted. International entries are accepted. More information at
Monday, May 22, 2017
PIANIST BILLY CHILDS QUARTET
Moss Theater (New Roads School at The Herb Alpert Educational Village)
3131 Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica
Sponsored by Performance Fund donors: Harry and Ellen Sondheim
DAYNA STEPHENS - SAXOPHONE
HANS GLAWISCHNIG - BASS
ARI HOENIG - DRUMS
SARA GAZAREK - GUEST VOCALIST
This performance is made possible, in part, by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts through a grant from the Western Jazz Presenters Network.KJAZZ 88.1 - official media sponsor.
Check out www.JazzBakery.org
for upcoming June shows!
Brazilian composer/multi-instrumentalist and NEC honorary Doctor of Music degree recipient Hermeto Pascoal presented New England Conservatory Interim President Tom Novak with an original score.
Fabulous drummer. Saw him live with Dizzy and later with the Pablo All-Stars.
Roker performs in some of my favorite albums by Duke Pearson (How Insensitive with Andy Bey, Bebeto Castilho, Dorio Ferreira, Airto & Flora, the Christmas project Merry Ole Soul, and specially It Could Only Happen With You, on which he performs alongside Hermeto Pascoal and Flora Purim), Donald Byrd (Electric Byrd - with Airto and Hermeto - and Kofi, with Airto and Dom Um Romao), Milt Jackson (Olinga), Herbie Hancock (Speak Like A Child), Astrud Gilberto (Now).
Plus many many sessions with Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Bob Cranshaw, my friends Randy Brecker and Mike Longo, Stanley Turrentine, Shirley Scott, Horace Silver, my late friends Art Farmer and Joe Shepley, Blue Mitchell, Clark Terry, Harold Vick, Horace Silver, Frank Foster, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Mann, Cedar Walton, Albert Dailey, Roy Ayers, Zoot Sims, Mary Lou Williams, Blue Mitchell, Benny Carter, Jon Faddis, Hank Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ray Bryant, J.J. Johnson, Al Grey, Joe Williams, Hank Jones, Dusko Goykovich, Nat Adderley, Hank Jones, Gigi Gryce, Gene Ammons, Jim Hall, McCoy Tyner, Ben Webster...The list goes on and on.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Saturday June 24th, 2017, 7:30 pm - 10 pm
2698 Folsom St. @ 23rd St.
San Francisco, CA Ph: (650) 731-5383
$20 - $25, Doors open at 7 pm
Tickets are only available at the door. Payable by cash or check -- no credit cards.]
Featuring: Molly Holm, vocals; Frank Martin, piano; Jeff Chambers, acoustic bass; Deszon Claiborne, drums
Vocalist/composer Molly Holm, with her all-star jazz trio, makes her Red Poppy debut exploring the multicultural crossroads of improvised music through original compositions, straight-ahead and modal jazz tunes and traditional folk songs. Molly's music, often intertwined with the elements of North Indian raga, experimental vocals, or playful free-form improvisation, also reveals the rhythmic and note-bending influences inherited from the music of the African diaspora.
died on May 19, 2017 in Evanston, Illinois)
I was introduced to him in 1986 by Chuck Mangione, when Morris produced Chuck's "Save Tonight For Me" album. He also played keyboards, sang, and co-wrote most of the songs on that project.
At 64, Stewart died last Friday due to complications from surgery and a long battle against cancer. The man behind familiar theme songs to the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Tom Joyner Morning Show, also wrote jingles for Coca Cola, McDonald's and many other companies. B
Stewart grew up in Harvey, Illinois and later attended DePaul University. He soon married his sweetheart, Brenda Mitchell and began to build a budding career working as background vocalists for Ramsey Lewis and later Earth, Wind and Fire.
He also produced for The O'Jays, Howard Hewett and Danniebelle Hall. Stewart was the founder of JoyArtMusic, creating jingles for some of the top creative agencies becoming a one-stop destination for television and radio shows, helping to cultivate multiple careers including his sons’ group, the Rich Kidz.
Rest in Power.
Monday, May 8, 2017
The cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer: a type of chordophone composed of a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top. It is a musical instrument commonly found in Hungary and throughout the group of Central-Eastern European nations and cultures which composed Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), namely contemporary Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is also popular in Greece. The cimbalom is (typically) played by striking two beaters against the strings.
The steel treble strings are arranged in groups of 4 and are tuned in unison. The bass strings which are over-spun with copper, are arranged in groups of 3 and are also tuned in unison. The Hornbostel-Sachs musical instrument classification system registers the cimbalom with the number 314.122-4,5. Moreover, the instrument name "cimbalom" also denotes earlier, smaller versions of the cimbalom, and folk cimbaloms, of different tone groupings, string arrangements, and box types.
In English, the cimbalom spelling is the most common, followed by the variants, derived from Austria-Hungary's languages, cimbál, cymbalom, cymbalum, țambal, tsymbaly and tsimbl etc. Santur, Santouri, sandouri and a number of other non-Austro-Hungarian names are sometimes applied to this instrument in regions beyond Austria-Hungary which have their own names for related instruments of the hammer dulcimer family.
In 1993, Marius was invited to the Netherlands, and in '95 he began to study the Vibraphone at the Jazz Department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands, where he graduated with a distinction. With the skills, he accumulated over these years, Marius was able to develop a new way of playing the cimbalom. As a result, he became the first cimbalom player in the history of Jazz.
Over the years, Marius has played with and contributed to: Arturo Sandoval, Mike Stern, Vladimir Cosma, Dennis Chambers, Tom Kennedy, Teymur Phell, Sanah Kadoura, John Patitucci, Andreas Oberg, Lewis Nesh, Leonid Ptashka, Dave Kikoski, Didier Lockwood, André Rieu, Flairck, Anne Ducros, Philip Catherine, Rosenberg Trio, Nolwen Leroy, Richard Sanderson, Gheorghe Zamfir, Robby Lakatos, Decebal Badila, Tudi Zaharescu, The Basily's, Taco Gorter, Robin Koerts, Kiba Dachi and many more!
Respected and lauded by other musicians for his mastery, Arturo Sandoval explains it best, "Marius is a gift from God for our own enjoyment," which Sandoval and Vladimir Cosma both were involved with the production Mission Cimbalon. Cosma explains, "Marius is one of the best musicians that I have worked with during my entire music career."
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Idris Muhammad: "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This / Tasty Cakes / Turn This Mutha Out" (Kudu 3318P) 1977/2017
Rating: ***** (music performance and sonic quality)
Produced, Arranged & Conducted by David Matthews
Composed by David Matthews & Tony Sarafino
This is NOT a bootleg, it's an official Kudu release licensed by Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited to be pressed & distributed in UK by www.primedirect.co.uk as a "Record Store Day 2017" very special release.
And this is NOT a jazz session, but a first-class disco-funk effort. These 3 tracks originally appeared on Idris Muhammad's most commercially successful album ever, "Turn This Mutha Out." Produced, written & arranged by the criminally underrated maestro David Matthews for Creed Taylor's Kudu label, a subsidiary of CTI Records, the album features an all-star cast: Michael Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Clifford Carter, Will Lee, Jeremy Steig, Brazilian percussion master Rubens Bassini, Sue Evans, and many more.
Maria de Fátima Fattoruso: "Bahia Com H" (Sondor/Think! Records THCD-420) 1981/2017
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Featuring: Maria de Fátima (vocals, Ovation guitar), Hugo Fattoruso (piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Arp Odyssey and Arp Quadra synthesizers, arrangements, vocals), Osvaldo Fattoruso aka George Fattoruso (drums), Eduardo Marquez (electric bass), Pippo Spera and Marcos Szpiro (guitar), Chango Castro, Jorge Graf, Roberto Galletti (percussion) etc.
One of Brazil's best kept secrets, Maria de Fátima Fattoruso lived in Los Angeles during the second half of the 70s, having worked and recorded with Manolo Badrena, Jon Lucien, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento and many others. She married keyboard wiz Hugo Fattoruso (founder of the legendary OPA trio) and traveled with him to Uruguay to record this album in 1981 for the Sondor label. Soon after, both relocated to Brazil and became a fixture of Rio de Janeiro's busy studio scene; Hugo joined bands led by Djavan, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Marcio Montarroyos and Geraldo Azevedo, while Maria kept working as backing vocalist on albums by Milton, Gilberto Gil, Arthur Verocai and Dom Um Romão.
This is the second CD release of "Bahia Com H," but the first one with a paper sleeve Mini-LP gatefold cover. The musical content is magical, including many intriguing original songs by Maria and beautiful renditions of Jards Macalé/Capinam's "Movimento dos Barcos" (maybe the album highlight), Milton Nascimento/Ronaldo Bastos' "Três Pontas" and two songs that had been rediscovered one year earlier by João Gilberto on his "Brasil" album: Dennis Brian's title track "Bahia Com H" (graced by gorgeous synthesized strings in a fabulous arrangement) and Ary Barroso's "O Tabuleiro da Baiana," sung in duet with Hugo (Gilberto had recorded it in duo with Maria Bethania.)
There are also funkyfied versions of Gilberto Gil's "Toda Menina Baiana" and Gil/Caetano Veloso's "São João Xangô Menino," the track chosen by Sondor to be released as a single back in '81, with "No Tabuleiro da Baiana" on Side B. Thirty six years later, it remains a timeless album, and its charm is intact. Sadly, it has never been released in Brazil neither in the USA.
ブラジル音楽の大家Arthur Verocai、Gilberto Gilの作品への参加や ウルグアイ音楽史に大いなる足跡を残すバンド、Barcarola、OPAでの活動で知られるブラジル人女性シンガー“Maria de Fatima”唯一のソロ・アルバムが初の紙ジャケットCD化。中古レコード市場で常に高額で取引される本作品は、公私を共にしたHugo Fattorusoとの共作を含めたオリジナル3曲、Ary Barroso、Caetano Veloso、親交の深いGilberto Gil、Milton Nascimentoらのカヴァー6曲、全9曲で構成。先述の当時夫であったHugo Fattorusoを中心にウルグアイ名うてのミュージシャンに囲まれ残した、81年発表ブラジリアン美しき傑作。
Carlos Franzetti & Allison Brewster Franzetti with City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra: "Luminosa" (Sunnyside) 2017
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
CD release date: May 26, 2017
Total Time 56:12
Produced by James Fitzpatrick
Executive Producer: François Zalacain
Recorded @ Smecky Music Studio (Prague, Czech Republic) on Sept. 15 & 16, 2016
Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner
Mixed & Mastered by Gareth Williams
Cover Photo: Alain Picq
Liner Photo & Graphic Design: Christopher Drukker
Piano: Allison Brewster Franzetti
Conductor: Carlos Franzetti
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Excerpts from the liner notes by James Fitzpatrick:
"Carlos Franzetti is that rare Renaissance Man, partnered in his musical entrepreneurship by his colorful wife, concert pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti. With this release we find Carlos once again bridging that supposed gap between contemporary classics and the jazz and "easy listening" world. It also shows a more reflective Carlos with the title track, "Luminosa," which is seemingly contemplative yet has a strict Bach-like classical structure. "Tango del Eco" by Horacio Salgan, arranged by Carlos, is more playful yet has quirky harmonies that are not expected. In his music you can hear the influence of Shostakovich and de Falla, Dave Grusin and Piazzolla, George Gershwin and Cole Porter... "anything goes." Therefore, a work such as "Concierto del Plata" is both challenging (both for listener and soloist) and yet totally accessible but, most importantly, memorable in this age of forgettable and "throwaway" downloadable music. The three interludes from the ballet, "Dante Porteño" are just a taste of more to come from the ubiquitous and prolific pen (and mind) of Carlos Franzetti... a true original."
Sarah Partridge: "Bright Lights & Promises - Redefining Janis Ian" (Origin Records) 2017
CD Release Date: April 21, 2017
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Produced by Allen Farnham
Co-Producer: Sarah Partridge
Associate Producers: Bill Moring & Tim Horner
Recorded & Mixed by Chris Sulit @ Trading 8s Studio (Paramus, NJ) on August 18 & 19, 2016
Additional recording by David Kowalski @ Teaneck Sound Studio (Teaneck, NJ) on September 17, 2016
Mastering by Alan Silverman @ ARF! Mastering (New York, NY)
Cover Photo: Chris Drukker
Session Photos: Gary Stein & Chris Drukker
Cover Design: John Bishop
Arranged by Allen Farnham and Tim Horner
Featuring: Sarah Partridge (vocals), Allen Farnham (piano), Bill Morning (bass), Tim Horner (drums & percussion), Paul Meyers (acoustic guitar), Ben Stein (electric guitar), Ben Williams (trombone) and Scott Robinson (tenor & soprano saxes, flute, clarinet)
Special Guest: Janis Ian (on "A Quarter Past Heartache")
Vocalist Sarah Partridge introduced an impressive body of original compositions on her 2015 Origin Records release "I'd Never Thought I'd Be Here," but for her new project, she wanted to celebrate a singer/songwriter outside of her own genre and beyond the Great American Songbook. On "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian," her 5th album and 2nd for Origin Records, Partridge reimagines 11 well- and lesser-known works from the legendary singer/songwriter's discography, and also co-wrote two with Ian. The new CD was released April 21.
"To pay tribute to a folk artist like Janis was extremely interesting to me," says Partridge. "In her case, her very early songwriting seemed influenced by jazz, and I saw real possibilities for a reimagining of some of that work. We connected with each other last year through the Recording Academy and when I mentioned that I was thinking of doing an album of her songs, she lit up. She said she'd like to be helpful to me, and there it began. I don't think I've ever met a more generous artist."
Ian exploded on the pop music scene in 1967's Summer of Love as a precociously talented singer/songwriter confronting the dark side of American life. She was just 14 when, in 1965, she wrote and recorded "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)," her single about a young interracial couple ripped apart by prejudice. Championed by Leonard Bernstein two years later on his CBS-TV special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, the single went gold and established Ian as one of the era's most promising young performers. She recorded several critically praised albums for Verve over the next few years but didn't break through again until 1975's chart-topping Between the Lines, featuring the Grammy-winning single "At Seventeen," a song she performed that year on the debut broadcast of Saturday Night Live (and which is included on "Bright Lights & Promises").
As with her previous Origin outing, Partridge is joined on "Bright Lights & Promises" by her stellar working band of pianist Allen Farnham, bassist Bill Moring, and drummer Tim Horner. Trombonist Ben Williams, reed virtuoso Scott Robinson, and guitarist Paul Meyers are also back in the fold. Farnham, who produced the album, arranged 11 of the songs; two were arranged by Horner. Janis Ianherself provides vocals on the wry and briskly swinging opening track "A Quarter Past Heartache," which the women co-wrote.
Relocating to L.A. in 1984, she worked steadily in film and television, carving out a niche doing voice-overs. Out with friends one night at the Improv, she accepted their dare to take a turn at karaoke and delivered a stunning rendition of "Summertime." The impromptu performance caught the ear of a booker, who promptly hired her to sing in a concert with the top tier of L.A. jazz musicians. It was a successful gig that rekindled a long-buried dream.
Partridge spent years honing her technique in L.A. and New York City, where she moved in 1994, and instantly bonded with legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham, "the first musician I played with in New York." Attending one of his regular Sunday brunch performances at Sweet Basil, Partridge's husband convinced pianist Chuck Folds to let her sit in. Her version of "Every Day I Have the Blues" went over well and Cheatham told her "You can come anytime you want." "After that, I sat in regularly and we did some gigs together," Partridge recalls. "I learned so much from him, just seeing the obsessive dedication he had. He was a real inspiration."
Partridge released her widely-acclaimed debut "I'll Be Easy to Find" in 1998 ("She's a pleasure to hear in any emotional guise, whether one of regret or exaltation" -- Billboard) featuring jazz greats Frank Wess, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Gene Bertoncini. She has grown exponentially with each successive recording: "Blame It on My Youth," 2004; "You Are There, Songs for My Father," 2006; Perspective, 2010; and "I Never Thought I'd Be Here," 2015.
With her rich, fine-textured sound and rhythmically acute phrasing, Sarah Partridge puts an irrepressible jazz stamp on everything she sings, and "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" presents a portrait of an artist fully in command of her craft.
Partridge and her band will be performing two CD release shows in May: 5/11 at New York's Bitter End (where Janis Ian performed nearly 50 years ago), and 5/20 at Trumpets in Montclair, NJ.
Photography: Chris Drukker
Web Site: sarahpartridge.com