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This is for Jim in particular, but anyone else who wants to take it too...

What are the opinions (pro or con) about Judi Silvano??? (Joe Lovano's wife)

I mostly only know her from her contribution to Joe's Universal Language.

On "Universal Language" she seems as much like a horn player as any singer I've ever heard. (Can't say I've ever heard Jon Hendricks before). I'm not suggesting that she's "the best" (or even necessarily "really great"), but was that the kind of "horn-like" singing you were getting at, Jim, in your prior post?????

Certainly, speaking as a singer myself, I could never in a million years do what she does. I'd have to call her as least "pretty darn good", but again - I don't listen to much vocal jazz, so I don't have much to compare her with, for that "horn-like" singing style being discussed.

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Something else that's been bugging me the last few years is the trend of marketing what are essentially "cabaret singers" as "jazz singers". I'll not name names, but you know the type - they come out all glammed up just oozing of "sophistication" and take us on a trip throught the Great American songbook, throw in a few "obscurities" just to reinforce their "sophistication", and they do it all with something resembling a jazz rhythm section and without a hint of any feeling for the lyric and/or the melody other than how impressed they are with themselves for singinging such "sophisticated" material. We are supposed to feel special for having the good taste to enjoy such a presentation. Nobody breaks a sweat or sheds a tear, except on cue. Hoopty Damn Doo!

I'd be hard pressed to define exactly what "jazz singing" actually is, but much less so to define what it's NOT, and this ain't it.

Dig it, I work occasionally with these pretentious kinds of "cabaret-theater-actor singers" who fancy themselves to be Jazz singers and find myself bored to death :( .. And often these are the ones getting over with the "wine tasting yuppies with money set".. And I cringe because most of them also think they can scat! :rmad:

They should go back and check out Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Dakota Staton, and Nancy Wilson for starters.. And Betty carter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sunny Wilkinson for scatting.

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Jazzmoose-you have seen the light on Nina Simone.She has a box set coming out later this year that might bear checking out. JSngrey-I would enjoy your thoughts on Ella's scat singing.

Chris, I heard stuff previewed from the box set on a special program KCSM ran during their last pledge drive; in fact that was my big exposure to Nina Simone. Rest assured, the box set pretty much is my wantlist right now. It's a definite buy for me, and I can't wait!

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Jim, good point you have about the scatting!

How about Mel Tormé? I think he's a hell of jazz-singer and I consider his bethlehem albums (Lulu's back in town, At the Crescendo, Sings Fred Astaire) some of the best vocal jazz ever done. And Mel's scatting (go for "Lullaby of Birdland" on Lulu) seems to be very musical. (I know there are some who like Mel and dislike Ella scatting, for instance...)

And do you (or anyone around here) know Roberta Gambarini? She seems a tremendous singer (with extremely musical scatting/improvising/soloing like a horn player), imho!

ubu

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This is for Jim in particular, but anyone else who wants to take it too...

What are the opinions (pro or con) about Judi Silvano??? (Joe Lovano's wife)

I mostly only know her from her contribution to Joe's Universal Language.

On "Universal Language" she seems as much like a horn player as any singer I've ever heard. (Can't say I've ever heard Jon Hendricks before). I'm not suggesting that she's "the best" (or even necessarily "really great"), but was that the kind of "horn-like" singing you were getting at, Jim, in your prior post?????

Certainly, speaking as a singer myself, I could never in a million years do what she does. I'd have to call her as least "pretty darn good", but again - I don't listen to much vocal jazz, so I don't have much to compare her with, for that "horn-like" singing style being discussed.

I respect her abilities, which are undeniable, but what she does with them has yet to appeal to me personally. For that "wordless vocal" thing (or even "that thing" WITH words) to work for me, the context has to be JUST right, and rightly or wrongly, I'm pretty damn finnicky. Two examples that spring readily to mind are both Ellingtonian - Adelaide Hall

on ' Creole Love Call' & Kay Davis on "On A Turquoise Cloud".

What I meant by horn-like was the improvisational language that a soloist uses, a language that as the music became more technically involved became less vocalistic in terms of actual vocabulary (although not in terms of inflection and tonal quality). The practitoneers of vocalese, notably the great Eddie Jefferson, could sing the actual lines the horn players played (with words no less!), which besides the often daunting speed of execution required often involved some harmonic play that was decidedly non-diatonic in nature, and therefore a bit more demanding for the average singer who dealt mostly with melodies that were usually not too chromatic or harmonically altered, or if they were, not done so at the speed of an instrumentalist's improvisation. But I don't know of too many vocalese singers who could actually improvise in the manner they sung other people's solos. Jon Hendicks is definitely one who can/could, although most of his recorded work is in either the traditional melodic mode or the vocalese bag (yet another indicator that, important, invaluable even, as they are, records are an incomplete documentation of the totality of this music) - I think he began as a tenor saxophonist, and it shows. Betty Carter had the harmonic ear for it, but she had her owm deeply personal bag, and scatting in the traditional sense wasn't really what she was all about. But DAMN did that lady have an ear!

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Jim, good point you have about the scatting!

How about Mel Tormé? I think he's a hell of jazz-singer and I consider his bethlehem albums (Lulu's back in town, At the Crescendo, Sings Fred Astaire) some of the best vocal jazz ever done. And Mel's scatting (go for "Lullaby of Birdland" on Lulu) seems to be very musical. (I know there are some who like Mel and dislike Ella scatting, for instance...)

And do you (or anyone around here) know Roberta Gambarini? She seems a tremendous singer (with extremely musical scatting/improvising/soloing like a horn player), imho!

ubu

Sorry, not familiar with Roberta Gambarini. Where can I hear her?

As for Torme, I'm not a fan, actually. Great, GREAT chops, totally agile with a great ear, but the emotional "tone" of his work just doesn't reach me at all. My problem, no doubt, because the guy's skills are undeniable.

Somebody mentioned Ella too, and this is a sticky one for me, because I'm slowly but surely going from "like" to "love" with her as an interpreter. but her scatting is something I am very much on a "case by case" basis with. She comes out of a strong Swing Era bag with it, and can throw down pretty nifty in that vein, but sometimes it seems to me that seh goes for effect more than content when she scats. Again, that's no doubt my problem entirely, but that's just how it hits me. But

GOD what an instrument she had, one of a kind.

With scatting, like so many other things, Louis Armstrong set the standard, and as easy as he made it sound, he did it with such a totality of musical sophistication AND emotional naturalness that he actually set the bar INCREDIBLY high, at least as far as I'm concerned.

Now, somebody who was an INCREDIBLE scat singer was Eddie Harris, but he was a freak anyway. ;)

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OK, here's a devil's advocate typ question for those who proclaim an aversion to vocal jazz, or singers in general:

How much of your dislike do you think is reflective of a desire to somehow be "seperate" from the world of Popular Music, where, after all, vocals rule. Do you think of jazz as a citadel of superiority, a domain where virtuosity, seriousness of purpose, and sophitication (in the good sense) rule and there's no room for the infiltration of something tainted with the possiblity of commoness as a singer, somebody who reminds us of the song's (and therefore the music's) roots in a world FAR less rarified than the instrumental jazz world?

A devil's advocate question indeed, but one I ask without some slight degree of seriousness, because the ethos described above is one that I myself once shared, not fully, but to a fairly significant extent. I didn't want to hear "just" the song dished out by a singer, I wanted to hear something done with/to it by an instrumentalist. I wanted to hear the song made better than it really was! :D :D :D

Wellsireebob, I kinda grew out of that (or more accurately, am GROWING out of that). I still don't care for a mundane singer, and probably cut them SLIGHTLY less slack than I do a mundane instrumentalist (otoh, I've been digging this thing they've been playing on KNTU by JOANIE FREAKIN' SOMMERS, and digging it pretty hard for God knows what reason, so maybe I've crossed the line and need to be shot before it gets any worse...), but for whatever reason, I've become quite attracted to the resonance, physical and emotional, of a good voice communicating directly, without the in-between of an instrument. It is a deeply personal matter, no doubt, but when, for example, Shirley Horn sings "Goodbye" on I LOVE YOU PARIS and hits that wavering climax, it grabs me in a way that I don't think that ANY horn player could. Not better in any way, but most certainly different, and unquestionably REAL and unambiguously DIRECT, the objects of our game, indeed!

So never say never, Dear Friends - it could happen to you too!

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In addition to the harmonic knowledge, an improvising vocalist needs the concepts of structure and development that are fundamental to jazz improvisation. It seems the vast majority are just out there treading water, both in terms of harmony and in terms of *saying something* - it just fills space until the chorus is over (let alone getting into multi-chorus development).

Yes, Jon Hendricks has concerned himself with this - but who else? Even Hendricks isn't really up there with the greatest instrumentalists. His presentation isn't the clearest and he gets hung up by his technical limitations. Still, he can hold his own on the bandstand.

Almost everyone else out there could be ripped to shreds by a mediocre "non-singer" instrumentalist scatting. There are thousands of student players who know how to construct solos - why not singers? And god, don't get me started on the college "vocal jazz" world. It has about as much in common with jazz as "jazzercise" does.

Betty Carter could have been a real contender in the scat area. In his bio, Bill Bauer points to her work on "Babe's Blues" which is amazingly innovative. But she had other fish to fry. Which is fine.

In her scatting, Ella Fitzgerald seems to be a little too pat, too planned out, too many stock phrases. Great execution, but it seems safe.

I've never been that thrilled with Roberta Gambarini. Seen her live a few times. Just doesn't have the impact.

When I have broached this subject with singers, I have received quite a bit of righteous indignation, but I'm still waiting for them to back it up with performances.

Mike

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While hanging out with a bass player I worked with last weekend I was sipping on some good coffee and to my surprise he had popped in the the Nancy Wilson/ Cannonball Adderly album in his cd player. That record is as fresh now as it was when originally released.

This album is a perfect marriage of great singing and great

musicianship, outstanding arrangements, and emotionally charged solos by Cannonball, Nat, and Joe Zawinul ( who went on to form Weather Report less than 10 years later!)

and bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes swing for days and play deep in the groove on all the tracks..

If you haven't heard it, pick up a copy! It's one of those recordings that can always re-charge my batteries when my enthusiasm starts to wane. It always reminds of what it is that sets Jazz apart from Pop music..

It's been re-issued on CD and originally was on Capitol Records.

Also, there is a Jazz singer I think is an outstanding scat singer as well as a fine vocalist and entertainer. Her name is Sunny Wilkinson. She has a few cds out. If you can find

find her latest cd or if she performs anywhere near your area, check her out..

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STRONG seconds for this one, Randy. HELL yeah!

"Save Your Love For Me", "Happy Talk", & "The Old Country" were staples of AM jazz radio in these parts for years, and when we had that kind of programming on a 7-day basis, these tunes got ingrained into my subconscious, the same way any "hit" does. Unlike the kind of hit where you eventually get to hate it and try to erase it from your memory, these tunes's appeal only grow stronger as the years pass.

Great stuff - timeless joy and eternal soulfulness in action.

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Mike: I've only heard one set (off the air) from Ms Gambarini, but I did like what I heard. No need to argue. What seems to me is that she's maybe a little bit too, say, "artistic"? Maybe the concert I heard was good cause Ronnie Mathews, Jimmy Woode and Roy Hargrove were accompanying her...

Jim: No idea if she's made a record.

Then another recommendation: swiss singer Susanne Abbuehl. She made an ECM record called "April", where she's accompanied by her band (piano, percussion & clarinet/bass clarinet). I saw her live once and heard several broadcasts. She has studied among others with Jeanne Lee, her disc has songs she wrote for lyrics of e.e. cummings and Carla Bley compositions she wrote lyrics to. Now you may say this sounds special, but I think it's not just for the sake of being different. She does her thing for quite some time now, has a stable band with constant line up who are extremely responsive, and she does have a good voice with much musicality and feelings projected. Anyone knows her?

ubu

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c46994b5u5u.jpg

STRONG seconds for this one, Randy. HELL yeah!

"Save Your Love For Me", "Happy Talk", & "The Old Country" were staples of AM jazz radio in these parts for years, and when we had that kind of programming on a 7-day basis, these tunes got ingrained into my subconscious, the same way any "hit" does. Unlike the kind of hit where you eventually get to hate it and try to erase it from your memory, these tunes's appeal only grow stronger as the years pass.

Great stuff - timeless joy and eternal soulfulness in action.

Jim, thanks for the amen... I grew up on this album. My mother wore out a copy of it.. I was no doubt the only 10 year in my town who could scat along with most of the solos on this great recording.....

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I'll stick my neck out on a couple of folks who have not yet been mentioned. Both are what I would call acquired tastes, one male, one female. The former would be Chet Baker, especially early to mid-50's Chet before he got crispy. Although, having said that, I'll admit that even late period Chet has its own peculiar allure, not at all unlike Billie's Lady in Satin.

The woman is Blossom Dearie. I find her to be truly unique. She has a fair number recordings available from her days with the Verve label. She also sang with a European vocal ensemble called The Blue Stars of France. Those CD's are much harder to come by. If you haven't ever heard her, she's worth checking out. No guarantees here, though. Like I said, an acquired taste.

If I was to dip myself in more populated waters, I'd have to go with Anita O'Day. I bought her Mosaic set a couple of years ago only because the price was too good to pass up. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a major understatement. I've since become a big fan. She's a remarkable talent. I'd challenge anyone to find a jazz singer who exemplifies the term to a greater degree than Ms. O'Day.

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I'd challenge anyone to find a jazz singer who exemplifies the term to a greater degree than Ms. O'Day.

OK I accept your challenge.. Pick up a copy of the Columbia re-issue on CD, "Carmen McRae Sings Lover Man & Other Billie Holiday Classics"..

Though Anita is truly a great singer and entertainer, Carmen was and still is the Boss!!

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About Judi Silvano, check out her new cd with the late Mal Waldron on Soul Note, Riding A Zephyr, very nice. I think it was also Mal's last recording. Just piano and voice, though I think Joe Lovano is on one cut.

There's two vocalists out right now who are among my favorites that I haven't seen mentioned, they're both radically different from each other, but I like them both - Luciana Souza and Stacey Kent. Luciana's new cd North and South is great, a nice mix of originals, standards and brazillian songs. The band is great, with Fred Hersch, Bruce Barth, Ed Simon, Scott Coley and Clarence Penn. She gives the material very original and distinctive treatments, yet shows a lot of respect for the material.

Stacey Kent is a totally different sort of singer, but I've become a huge fan of her work. She has a great voice, but more importantly, knows how to use it, and how to deliver lyrics like some more "popular" jazz singers can't. There's also this refreshing lack of irony in her music, and a great sincerity that comes through that I also don't always find in other current singers (you could also say the same thing about sincerity in regards to Luciana Souza too). Her band is also perfectly suited to her, and her rapport with her husband (saxophonist Jim Tomlinson) is great. Some may say she falls more on the cabaret side of the spectrum, but I don't see it that way, I don't care much for those singers, and I hear something different in her approach. Check out her new cd "In Love Again" on Candid, it's a Richard Rogers songbook album. She may not be doing anything innovative, but within the tradition, she's a nice and welcome addition.

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Joe: no, Lovano's not on the Silvano/Waldron disc, though he cowrote one track. The disc was the last release during Waldron's lifetime but the session was in the can for a little while--there are more recent recordings of his (e.g. the Sketch disc with Avenel & Lacy). -- I can't say I really like Riding a Zephyr all that much, though it has its moments: but the lyrics are hit or miss & Silvano's voice doesn't greatly appeal to me. Waldron is unimpeachable throughout, though. There's also the use on one track of Silvano's multiply overdubbing her voice to create a chorus, which irritates me a bit, & the final track has one of those "[Jazz Musician X] is the greatest" lyrics which comes off as awkward flattery when the subject is Waldron himself & he's in the studio there accompanying the words.......

Yeah, Blossom Dearie can be good--Once Upon a Summertime has truly stunning versions of "Tea for Two" & "Manhattan", in particular. I have a couple other Verve discs of hers but they haven't grabbed me as much.

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But I don't know of too many vocalese singers who could actually improvise in the manner they sung other people's solos. Jon Hendicks is definitely one who can/could, although most of his recorded work is in either the traditional melodic mode or the vocalese bag (yet another indicator that, important, invaluable even, as they are, records are an incomplete documentation of the totality of this music) - I think he began as a tenor saxophonist, and it shows.

Jim, check out Carla White, especially her first album with manny Duran, where she is a second horn rather than a voice in the conventional sense. Full-fledged bebop.

Carla White at Jazz Corner

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I'm gonna throw in my 2 cents with randissimo's 2 cents. That makes 4 cents. I'm no longer making any cents, so I'll get on with it already (get it? cents, sense? Its a pun, a play on words, see? sure sure...)

I guess I don't really like or dislike vocal jazz as a rule, I just like what is (to my ear) musical. And as much as I do love Ella, the vocalist who really captured my heart is Carmen Mcrae. For lots of reasons: her interpretation of head melodies is awesome - imo really great melodic deconstruction, she's really helped me to understand that it's not a jazz musician's job to play off a page but to express a melody differently as appropriate for that unique moment; her scat soloing is really great - great sensibility, rhythmic/melodic development, lotsa blues (strength or weakness?); she really interacts with the musicians she's performing with - this is my favorite thing about jazz, it becomes closely related to a living language at the highest levels.

Well, that is my whole spiel! Hope I contributed something to the discussion.

The views contained in this post are not necessarily held by those who run this site. Organissimo or the owner of the Organissimo Forums may not be held liable for the content expressed herein. This message is suitable for children over five years of age as conformed to the standards of the Internet Posting Authority message board rating system. The IPA has also determined that any quotations around a poster's name (i.e. "Jazz") shall be met with a fine not to exceed three chickens and one cow (please refer to the IPA "Agrarian Barter to Modern Currency" conversion table for comparable currency value) and one smilie face with the tongue sticking out. This announcement brought to you by the Friends of Stuff. Stuff, without it, there'd be nothing at all!

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The views contained in this post are not necessarily held by those who run this site. Organissimo or the owner of the Organissimo Forums may not be held liable for the content expressed herein. This message is suitable for children over five years of age as conformed to the standards of the Internet Posting Authority message board rating system. The IPA has also determined that any quotations around a poster's name (i.e. "Jazz") shall be met with a fine not to exceed three chickens and one cow (please refer to the IPA "Agrarian Barter to Modern Currency" conversion table for comparable currency value) and one smilie face with the tongue sticking out. This announcement brought to you by the Friends of Stuff. Stuff, without it, there'd be nothing at all!

:lol:

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