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March 22, 2013

New York Voices give vocal jazz some depth

Boston Globe:

Singing may be the most personal form of musical expression. But New York Voices have taken the team approach for 25 years, carving out their own niche in the sometimes inhospitable world of the jazz marketplace.

“It’s the blessing and the curse of singing. The best thing about it is you just feel like you’re letting people into who you are, but it’s also really terrifying. There’s nothing to hide behind,” says founding member Peter Eldridge. “Your pants are down and you’re right there for all the world to see. I’ve grown to enjoy that vulnerability, but it took a long time."

Composed of Eldridge, Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, and group leader Darmon Meader , the quartet riffs on a mixture of favorites from the jazz songbook, original tunes, and the occasional contemporary-pop cover. (Original members Caprice Fox and Sara Krieger are no longer with the group.) The vibe is an amiable, accessible take on vocal jazz, but the Voices have proven quite adaptable, fine-tuning their musical project to suit a series of successful collaborations.

They won a Grammy for a live album recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra, and a Latin Grammy for their featured work on an album of Brazilian jazz by Paquito D’Rivera. For shows at Scullers on Friday and Saturday, they’ll be backed by a traditional acoustic trio.

The group has a “book” (or repertoire of original arrangements) for work with big bands and for an orchestra environment as well. The latter was coaxed along by calls for collaboration from the Boston Pops.

“You get a phone call and there’s a big band from Estonia that wants to hire you. You wonder what in the world that’ll be like,” remarks Kinhan with a touch of amusement, “but this band was unbelievable. Music that was created here in the United States is adored everywhere. We go to Moscow all the time now and work with a big band there.” For a group without a backlog of hits to “coast” on, Eldridge says, these collaborations offer a chance to “go back to school” and refine their approach. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at March 22, 2013 12:00 AM