Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Deborah Latz - "sur l'instant"

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

"Latz displays the expressive depth and masterful interpretive skills that mark her as one of the most gifted singers of her generation."
- New Yorker writer Steve Futterman in the album's liner notes

"Her voice rings with a fetching richness... I'm bewitched."
— Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

"Latz's vocal control and flexibility is not just on display for itself. She is not just a singer. She is a true performer."
- Kelly Koenig,

"Deborah is a beautiful singer and a great talent!"
- Shelia Jordan, vocalist

In our 5/5/2013 review of Deborah Latz’s CD Fig Tree, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles commented:

“Deborah Latz has something to say and she has the talent and the ability to say it.

Deborah Latz is not putting on airs, she’s not aping or miming or imitating, she is an accomplished Jazz vocalist in her own right.

She is “accomplished” in the fullest meaning of the word: highly trained, skillful, finished, complete, polished, refined, realized.

Deborah’s Jazz vocals have a presence and once you’ve been in their presence you're enraptured by it.

When she sings the lyrics to a tune, she infuses them with a strong mixture of emotion and intelligence. Her range is wide such that she handles everything from sincerity to humor with aplomb.

Her voice is rich; her enunciation is clear; she has a great sense of time. And depending on the mood she is trying to evoke, Deborah’s vocal style has just the right amount of punch and pop or just enough gentleness and tenderness. She is in command because she knows what she is doing and she knows what she wants to do.”

Three years later, all of these qualities are even more refined on Deborah’s new CD for June Moon Productions - sur l’instant [jmp 40515].

The music on sur l’instant is wonderfully entertaining. It comes together as an act of dedication and love by three people performing as one.

As the CD title denotes, an atmosphere of spontaneity and joie de vivre is the main ingredient in all nine of the disc’s well-balanced performances most of which have been arranged by Deborah.

And the musical itinerary of the CD takes us on a vocal Jazz journey through the Great American Songbook, Jazz Standards, Movie Themes, with a couple of lesser known Jazz tunes included to provide a glimpse of the unfamiliar.

Some background on how Deborah’s latest project evolved is contained in these opening paragraphs from Steve Futterman:

“Sometimes its necessary to scale back in order to make a grand statement.

On her fourth album, sur l'instant, vocalist Deborah Latz enjoys the company of two superb musicians, the pianist Alain Jean-Marie and the bassist Gilles Naturel. Gone are the drummers, guitarists and horn players that fleshed out the striking performances on her previous recordings. Yet by reducing the instrumentation, the focus is drawn ever more closely to the fine points of Latz's evolving art. Set in relief against her compatriot's sensitive and open-eared accompaniment, Latz displays the expressive depth and masterful interpretive skills that mark her as one of the most gifted singers of her generation.

Recorded over two days of sessions in Paris, sur l’instant unites the New York-based Latz with trusted players that she's collaborated with on each of her visits to France. Both Jean-Marie and Naturel contributed to arrangements that grew out of club dates preceding the recording.

The instinctive nature of the project reflects Latz's stated goal: to produce an album that demonstrates her deeply felt affinity for swing and the elemental three B's of jazz: Blues, Bebop and Ballads. A straightforward notion perhaps, but Latz has brought a distinct sense of personal wisdom to the game. ….”

Deborah put things even more succinctly:

“For several years it has been a dream of mine to record an album in Paris with two generous and remarkable musicians, Alain Jean-Marie and Gilles Naturel. Et voila we have done it!

Together we have discovered the essence of each tune “in the moment” (sur l’instant), and the result is an intimate and powerful musical conversation. I hope you enjoy it!!

Music is the elixir of Life!”

Ann Braithwaite and her fine team at Braithwaite and Katz Communications sent along the following media release in support of Deborah’s sur l'instant and to also announce that Deborah will be celebrating the new CD on Monday, June 1 at the Bar Next Door and Saturday, July 25 at Cornelia Street Cafe.

sur l'instant, the fourth album by the acclaimed jazz vocalist Deborah Latz, is indeed a jewel of "in the moment" artistry. Recorded in Paris, the recording finds the New York-based singer demonstrating the intimate second sight rapport she's established with two exceptional French musicians, the pianist Alain Jean-Marie and the bassist Gilles Naturel. This spare yet creatively inspiring setting spotlights Latz's subtle swing and dramatically alert delivery to its fullest while also displaying the uncommon gifts of her accompanists.

With a program that imaginatively draws on masterpiece compositions from the jazz repertoire rather than relying solely on typical American Songbook choices sur l'instant trains attention on an engaging swath of songs that have been too often overlooked by vocalists. Dave and lola Brubeck's "Weep No More," the jazz standard "Four" and John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C." (both songs outfitted with lyrics by Jon Hendricks), Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away" and Lincoln's adaptation of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," as well as Alex North's "Love Theme From Spartacus" (with lyrics by Terry Callier) each take on thrilling new identities by way of Latz's nimble interpretations. The few evergreens - "All The Things You Are," "Nature Boy" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" - shed any patina of overfamiliarity thanks to Latz's thoughtful, revivifying renditions.

The notable contributions of Alain Jean-Marie (who can be heard to great effect on Abbey Lincoln's 1991 album, The World Is Falling Down), and his longtime bandmate, Gilles Naturel, weave together with the singer in a delightful musical trialogue.

While Latz's earlier albums each featured a full band, the pared down instrumentation of the new project allows the singer to focus even further on the intricacies and ensuing pleasures of swinging phrasing. No matter the tempo, whether delicately paced, comfortably mid-tempo or spiritedly charging, Latz is in full command. "I wanted to make a straight ahead recording that featured blues, bebop and swing," she says. "I had worked with Alain and Gilles each of the four times that I've played in France. On my last visit, we went into the studio after playing a few club dates. We didn't have any specific arrangements in mind, but it quickly turned into a real collaboration and the recording became a deep conversation between the three of us."

Employing her background in theater, Latz burrows deep to extract a song's core narrative. "With each interpretation I ask myself, 'Did you tell the story?' — that's the ultimate goal," the singer states. "I wanted the album to be about focus - to always ask 'What is this song?'"

Thanks to an assured singer at the top of her game and her symbiotically attuned support musicians, sur l'instant provides us with plenty of exciting and original answers.”

Here’s a link to Deborah’s websites:

The following video features Deborah Latz performing the "Love Theme From Spartacus" with Alain Jean-Marie on piano and Gilles Naturel on bass which is the opening track on sur l'instant.

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