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Canadian-born singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, ninth on Rolling Stone’s list of The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time, turns 75 this month. Though best known as a ‘70s folk-pop musician, Mitchell’s jazz influences run deep: she’s collaborated with the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and, most notably, Charles Mingus. Jazz singers love interpreting Joni Mitchell material because of this jazz influence—the innately singable melodies, the deeply colored harmonies, the poetic lyrics.
To understand just how beloved Mitchell is among jazz singers, here’s a quick (unofficial and incomplete) list of those who’ve recorded Mitchell songs: Karrin Allyson, Becca Stevens, Cheryl Bentyne, Theo Bleckmann, Ann Hampton Callaway, Fay Claasen, Holly Cole, Denise Donatelli, Michael Feinstein, Melody Gardot, Sara Gazarek, Diana Krall, Karin Krog, Amy London, Jane Monheit, Judy Niemack, John Proulx, Diane Reeves, Janis Siegel, Bria Skonberg, Luciana Souza, Cassandra Wilson and Andrea Wolper. Songbook composers aside, is there another popular songwriter so well represented in vocal jazz?
Rhode Island-based Debra Mann, who credits Mitchell’s work as the inspiration for her own career in jazz, is the most recent singer to launch a Mitchell tribute disc. The album, Full Circle: The Music of Joni Mitchell (Whaling City Sound) tackles a dozen of Mitchell’s better-known tunes (“Circle Game”, “Big Yellow Taxi”, “A Case Of You”); Mann’s fresh arrangements and expert phrasing provide a new context for the material, even as the singer references Mitchell’s own unique vocal sound. With this album Mann joins the ranks of singers offering compelling, definitive interpretations of The Mitchell Songbook.
(From page 31)
by Kurt Gottschalk
We like to think of Joni Mitchell (who turns 75 this month) as a singular genius, but in truth her work is in no small part a product of the company she has kept. While she is one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic songwriters, her career can still be seen through the lens of, first, fellow folk travelers (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, et al.) and, later, fusion bohos (Pat Metheny, Tom Scott, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, The Brecker Brothers). Part of her genius was in bringing both camps to her own middle, adding layers of complexity to the singer-songwriter craft and then updating the jazz song from Broadway and Tin Pan Alley to long, linear narratives that matched the development of the form.
Her catalogue contains such natural grist for variation and improvisation that it’s surprising jazz players don’t pluck from it more often. Herbie Hancock and Peter Herbert both released albums of arrangements of her music and Fred Hersch, Keith Jarrett, Diana Krall, Brad Mehldau, Danilo Pérez, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Jamie Saft, Norma Winstone and Cassandra Wilson have all recorded Mitchell’s music to varying degrees of new interpretation.
continue reading THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD here page 31
Whaling City Sound celebrates release #110 today, Sept 28, 2018! “Still Happy” by singer-saxophonist Danny Bacher
Join us at release show this Sunday (9/30) at The Cutting Room NYC
For details see https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1740946
“The secret of serious fun is not to take it too seriously, especially if it involves playing jazz.
That attitude is something that the easygoing singer and saxophonist Danny Bacher, knows in his bones.”
– The New York Times
A new voice in jazz-steps out-and man, does he swing!
(Get ready to shake your tuchas!)
In the meantime,
Debra Mann/Full Circle The music of Joni Mitchell is #46 on 10/1/18 Radio Chart
For more information, click here.
Mixed Media Client since: 2014
Publicity: Brown University, What’s Up Rhode Island (Holiday Feature on local musicians) The Rhode Show, The Cranston Herald/Warwick Beacon, The New York City Jazz Record Feature (page 11),The New York City Jazz Record Review (page 31), What’s Up Rhode Island, Motif, Providence Journal, Fall River Herald News, Southcoast Today: Debra Mann, Southcoast Today: Narrows Fest, Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes, Midwest Record, Sippican Week
Radio: New World N Jazz
It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the unexpected passing of Debra Mann, an acclaimed and supremely talented jazz singer, pianist and composer on our Whaling City Sound label. Her most recent recording, #FullCircle, featuring the music of Joni Mitchell, was released in August 2018. She had also released three CD recordings on her label, Jobe Records.
Her career was decorated with highlights. A Berklee College of Music grad, Debra was widely hailed as Rhode Island’s premier jazz pianist and vocalist. She performed at Symphony Hall Boston as a featured guest soloist with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra. She had the distinct honor of performing at the request of Frank Sinatra. In celebration of Women’s History Month, she performed with her trio on Ron Della Chiesa’s WGBHradio program “Music America.” She was a prized member of the regional jazz community, having shared the stage with artists including Dick Johnson, Herb Pomeroy, Gray Sargent, Marshall Woodall, Ted Casher, Jeff Stout, Ed Saindon Vibraphone, and many others. Dino Govoni, Jay Azzolina, David Zinno, Marty Richards, Jerry Leake, and Paul Angel joined her on our “Full Circle” release, recorded with Steve Rizzo, Stable Sound Studio.
We at Whaling City Sound, along with the music community, will miss Debra’s extraordinary and elegant musical voice. We mourn deeply her passing and extend our sympathy to her family and friends.
Debra Mann Performs “Be Cool” at the Narrows!!
Midwest Record review of Full Circle
JazzWeek Most Added+12 Debra Mann “Full Circle Music of Joni Mitchell” Congratulations to Debra on the hard work and fantastic album
A Woman of Heart and Mind
Jazz talent Debra Mann interprets
The textured sounds of Joni Mitchell
It is rare indeed to catch a sighting of Joni Mitchell. The Canadian songwriter, chanteuse and sublime talent has not really toured much, or released an album of new material for that matter. The last time that happened was 2007. So what’s a Joni fan to do? Catch Debra Mann.
Mann is a Joni fan from way back, so much so that she’s taken to performing her songs. The Providence-based jazz artist will be performing a night of jazz-tinged interpretations of Mitchell’s music at Chan’s. The combination makes good sense, considering the fact that Mann is an outstanding jazz performer and so much of Mitchell’s oeuvre resonates with generous jazz overtones.
Debra Mann, pianist and vocalist, has performed in the northeast corner of the U.S. for three decades. Her own artistry was deeply influenced by Joni’s music—from her folk years through her more than deep exploration into jazz.
The reclusive Mitchell is widely regarded as one of the most influential and revered songwriters of our time. Her category-defying style links the worlds of acoustic music with rock, jazz, and classical. Her lyrical sense, phrasing and poetic imagery are as visual as they are musical. Certainly, with no chance of seeing the original, why not enjoy the next best thing?
This is not Mann’s first shot at covering Mitchell’s work. In fact, the first few times were so memorable that her fans were asking for an encore. As an added attraction, Debra’s band features the mega talents of Dino Govoni (sax), Steve DeConti (guitar), Dave Zinno (bass), and Marty Richards (drums).
So come by Chan’s for a night of great music as we celebrate the work of a gifted and influential artist being covered by a gifted and supreme talent in her own right. Ladies and gentleman, on piano and voice, Debra Mann!
I hope you all had a great summer. I can’t remember a better one, myself. As summer comes to its inevitable close, I am preparing for another Joni Mitchell Tribute concert in a new venue. Please help spread the word to jazz and Joni lovers. I hope to see you there. Peace, Debra
Debra Mann Quintet
Joni Mitchell Tribute
Saturday, October 4, 2014
For Performing Arts
25 1/2 Court Street
DEBRA MANN-PIANO & VOCALS