MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, “MOONGLOW”
Welcome to Afterglow, [a show of vocal jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook], I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
The year is almost up, so it’s time once again to take a look at some recent releases in the world of vocal jazz. Coming up this hour, we’ll hear new recordings from Afterglow mainstays like Stacey Kent and Veronica Swift. We’ll hear a new holiday recording from the duo of Gregory Porter and Samara Joy. And I’ll showcase several Canadian artists who are making the American songbook their own.
It’s a roundup of recent releases for the second half of 2023, coming up next on Afterglo
MUSIC - VERONICA SWIFT, "THE SHOW MUST GO ON"
Singer Veronica Swift, from her latest self-titled LP, performing a jazzy Afro-Cuban version of “The Show Must Go On,” a song originally written and performed by the British Rock band Queen. Swift describes this latest record as “transgenre,” and on it, she performs jazz versions of songs by Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim, as well as Nine Inch Nails, and opera composer Charles Gounod, as well as a hard rock version of the Broadway song “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
MUSIC CLIP - EMMET COHEN, "I LET A SONG GO OUT OF MY HEART"
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, I’m yet again shining my spotlight on some jazz singers currently working and recording, highlighting some recent releases. It’s something I like to do about every six months here on this program, as a way for me to stay connected to the music business, but also to keep you all informed as well.
I’d like to start my exploration with one of my favorite singers, the young Canadian singer Caity Gyorgy. I’ve featured her several times on this program before. Not only is she a fantastic jazz singer and songwriter (she’s won awards for both), she’s also very prolific. She seems to have a new album or at least a new single every time I put out one of these Recent Releases episodes.
Her latest album called You’re Alike, You Two is a duet album with pianist Mark Limacher, and features all Jerome Kern songs. It’s a must-listen for any American Songbook fans, as it evokes some of those fantastic Ella Fitzgerald and Ellis Larkins duet albums from the 1950s.
Let’s hear a track from it now. This is Caity Gyorgy with Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ “A Fine Romance,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - CAITY GYORGY, "A FINE ROMANCE"
Caity Gyorgy and pianist Mark Limacher with “A Fine Romance,” a track from her latest record called You’re Alike, You Two, a tribute to the songs of Jerome Kern.
I first encountered Caity Gyorgy on social media—she has a really active presence there. And my first thought was, “when can I see her perform?”, not realizing that she was Canadian and she only performs occasionally in the states. But this put me down a rabbit hole of discovering other Canadian artists who are, frankly, doing a fantastic job at preserving and performing the American songbook, often better than other American artists! I suppose I shouldn’t be entirely surprised: other great Canadian interpreters of the American songbook include Holly Cole, Michael Buble, and Diana Krall.
I want to feature some of these newer Canadian artists now. And first, I’d like to turn to Diana Panton. Panton, I suppose, isn’t exactly new to the scene. She has already had quite a career so far—10 albums, including one album that won a JUNO award for best Vocal Jazz album (the Junos are the Canadian Grammy Awards). Perhaps she’s just new to me.
Her latest record, which actually came out at the end of last, but fell under my radar for a while, is titled Blue. It’s the third in a trio of color-themed albums, each representing different parts of a relationship—Blue being the end of a love affair. While Caity Gyorgy is a singer full of exuberance and agility, Panton’s voice is full of clarity and emotion.
Let’s hear a track from that album now. This is Diana Panton performing the Lennon/McCartney song “Yesterday,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - DIANA PANTON, "YESTERDAY"
MUSIC - EMILIE-CLAIRE BARLOW, "SKYLARK"
Music from two Canadian vocalists. Just now, we heard Emilie-Claire Barlow, from her latest album called Spark Bird, performing the Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer tune “Skylark.” Before that, Diana Panton from her latest album called Blue performing the Beatles tune “Yesterday.”
There are also several great male Canadian singers interpreting the American Songbook that I want to highlight. And here, I’m talking about singers beyond just Michael Buble (although many of the male singers are in the Michael Buble mold).
Both of the singers I want to highlight are both named Matthew: Mathew V and Matt Dusk. Mathew V is more of an adult contemporary pop singer than a jazz singer. However, his 2023 album Anything Goes features American songbook standards including “Moon River,” “At Last,” and “Georgia On My Mind.” Matt Dusk is more of a straight-ahead jazz crooner, with a penchant towards the swinging arrangements of Frank Sinatra and his ilk.
I’ll start this next set with Mathew V. Here, he’s putting a modern twist on an old (and traditionally-gendered) Gershwin classic. This is Mathew V with “The Man I Love,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - MATHEW V, "THE MAN I LOVE"
MUSIC - MATT DUSK, "THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT"
Canadian jazz vocalist Matt Dusk, channeling Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle, performing the Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields song “The Way You Look Tonight.” That was released as a single, a re-recording of a track he originally made over a decade ago. Before that, Mathew V with “The Man I Love,” from his latest record titled Anything Goes.
The next singer I want to feature is one of the most successful (and perhaps polarizing) figures in jazz, the Icelandic singer-songwriter Laufey. Her latest album called Bewitched hit number one on the Billboard Jazz Album charts, and had the biggest debut for a jazz album in Spotify history. Her style is part jazz, mixed with soft bedroom pop, which is why she’s often considered polarizing, especially among hardcore jazz fans. But the singer and instrumentalist is clearly talented, and highly-influenced by the American songbook, and often includes at least one jazz standard on her records.
Let’s hear a track from her latest album now. This is Laufey with the jazz standard “Misty,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - LAUFEY, "MISTY"
Icelandic jazz singer Laufey with Errol Garner’s “Misty.” That comes from her latest best-selling album titled Bewitched.
MUSIC CLIP - BRAD MEHLDAU, "FOR NO ONE"
We’ll have more vocal jazz recent releases in just a bit. Stay with us.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to Afterglow
MUSIC CLIP - CARL WINTHER TRIO, "MISTY"
MUSIC CLIP - JOEY ALEXANDER, "ZEALOUSY"
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. This hour, we’ve been exploring some recent releases in the vocal jazz world for the second half of 2023.
I want to turn my attention now to a new album from jazz singer Stacey Kent, one of the more successful singers working internationally today. Her latest album, titled Summer Me, Winter Me, is a collection of songs that she had been performing live, but never on record. If you’re a fan of Stacey Kent, you’ll notice a few familiar tropes: there are songs in both English and French, there are appearances by her husband, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jim Tomlinson, and there’s even an original song with lyrics by famed author Kazuo Ishiguro.
But the album also contains standards, and I’ll play one for you now that ties into her French connections. Here is Stacey Kent with a swinging version of the French tune “Under Paris Skies,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - STACEY KENT, "UNDER PARIS SKIES"
MUSIC - JOSHUA REDMAN, FEAT. GABRIELLE CAVASSA, "BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX"
Saxophonist Joshua Redman and vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa with a jazz version of the Jimmy Webb song “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” That comes from Redman’s latest album called where we are, featuring all songs about locations. Before that, Stacey Kent with another city song, “Under Paris Skies,” from her latest album Summer Me, Winter Me.
The next artist I want to feature is actually a vocal ensemble, and one I’ve featured on the show before. The ensemble saje (S-A-J-E) consists of the four jazz vocalists Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, (zhohn-aye) Johnaye Kendrick, and Erin Bentlage, and their latest album, a self-titled album, features lovely jazz vocal arrangements of originals and standards. It’s a lovely album who are fans of vocal harmony, and searching for something eclectic and moving.
Here is one of their original songs from the album. This is the ensemble saje with “Desert Song,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - SÄJE, "DESERT SONG"
The jazz vocal ensemble saje (S-A-J-E) with their original song “Desert Song,” from the newest self-titled LP.
I have one more track to close off this recent releases episode. Since it’s December, we have lots of new holiday records that have come out from several jazz and pop singers. And one of those singers is the Grammy-award winning singer Gregory Porter. Porter hasn’t released a new album since 2020, so his latest record titled Christmas Wish, his first holiday album, is a highly anticipated release. The album features some traditional standards, like “Silent Night” and “Little Drummer Boy,” as well as more recent holiday favorites like Marvin Gaye’s “Purple Snowflakes” and Stevie Wonder’s “Someday At Christmas.”
For our last song this hour, let’s hear a New Year’s song, and a duet between Porter and another Grammy-award winner, the great Samara Joy. Here is Gregory Porter and Samara Joy with “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - GREGORY PORTER, FEAT. SAMARA JOY, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?"
Grammy winners Gregory Porter and Samara Joy with a duet of Frank Loesser’s “What Are You Doing New Years Eve.” That comes from Porter’s latest holiday record Christmas Wish.
Thanks for tuning in to this recent releases edition of Afterglow.
MUSIC CLIP - MARK GUILIANA, "RADIO CARBON DATING APP"
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow