Artist Gallery Photo

Sara Gazarek

Thu, Jul 10 -
Sun, Jul 13, 2014

Doors open at 6:00 PM each night.
First sets begin at 7:30 PM, and second sets (when applicable) begin at 9:30 PM (doors: 9:15 PM).
$24.50 Free parking

KPLU 88.5 and the Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley welcome jazz singer and songwriter Sara Gazarek for four nights. Band members Josh Nelson (piano), Hamilton Price (bass), Zach Harmon (drums and Larry Koonse (guitar).

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Amongst a community teaming with startlingly gifted young singers, Sara Gazarek stands out as a particularly extravagant artist. With Blossom & Bee (2012), Gazarek turns over an exciting, glistening new leaf. Working closely with the brilliant pianist/organist Larry Goldings, who produced the album, Gazarek and her band have crafted a program of emotionally expansive standards, inspired contemporary fare, and uncommonly memorable originals, all delivered with her insouciant sense of artistry.

As the title track might suggest, an undeniable thread running through Blossom & Bee is the irrepressibly buoyant spirit of jazz pianist, singer, and songwriter Blossom Dearie. “When I looked at the 4 or 5 songs from our book that absolutely had to be on this record, I was surprised to realize they had all been inadvertently added to our repertoire over the years through our love for her.” From the upbeat and humorous “Everything I’ve Got,” their refreshing, glockenspiel-laden take on “I’m Old Fashioned,” and the meter-shifting “Tea For Two,” Gazarek acknowledges the direct correlation between these songs and Dearie’s. But, rather than a tribute project, Blossom & Bee is meant to reflect the working repertoire of Gazarek’s stellar Los Angeles based group. “We are so excited to finally be able to share something with our listeners that encapsulates the energy, humor, and sheer joy we feel in our live performances,” Sara states.

Born and raised in Seattle, Gazarek grew up without much exposure to jazz. In her early teens, she was inspired by musical theater and dance, but she ended up discovering and falling in love with the jazz choir at her high school. The director, Scott Brown, became the first of several essential musical mentors, and he started steering her towards great jazz singers/musicians and classic jazz recordings. When Gazarek arrived at the University of Southern California (where she is now on faculty in the Jazz Studies department), she studied privately with vocalists Tierney Sutton and Carmen Bradford, pianist Shelly Berg, and bassist/arranger John Clayton, who become one of her most important champions. By 2003, people outside USC were starting to discover Gazarek. She won the prestigious Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Collegiate Jazz Vocalist, a distinction that directly led to a spot on the Concord Jazz Festival Tour (with Oleta Adams, Karrin Allyson and Diane Schuur). With three highly acclaimed CD’s under her belt at the young age of 30, Sara is steeped in the jazz tradition, but is not afraid to embrace the music that moves her generation. And with the release of Blossom & Bee, she is taking her rightful place as an original artist with a sound and concept that will continue to bloom.

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Alicia Olatuja

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Shemekia Copeland

Tue, Mar 26 - Wed, Mar 27

"Shemekia Copeland is one of the great blues voices of our time. No one comes close to the sheer repower that Copeland conjures at will." –Chicago Tribune

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