It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the unexpected passing of Debra Mann

It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the unexpected passing of Debra Mann

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, Full Circle, 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 grad, Debra was widely hailed as Rhode Island’s premier jazz pianist and vocalist. She performed at Symphony Hall in 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 Dellachiesa’s WGBH radio 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 Wood, Ted Casher, Jeff Stout, Ed Saindon, and many others. Dino Govoni, Jay Azzolina, Dave Zinno, Marty Richards, Jerry Leake, and Paul Angel joined her on our Full Circle release. 
She was also a passionate educator, on the faculty of Brown University and Wheaton College.
 
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.
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Kristen Lee Sergeant/WCS

Kristen Lee Sergeant/WCS

Kristen Lee Sergeant

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KRISTEN LEE SERGEANT has been gigging around the New York City area for several years, developing her jazz vocal chops. Inside/Out (Whaling City Sound – 087) is her first album, and from the evidence here, she was certainly ready to spread her talent to a wider audience. With backing from David Budway on piano, Chris Berger on piano and Victor Ector on drums, she sings six standards, “Never Will I Marry,” “Old Devil Moon,” “Lullaby of the Leaves,” “So Many Stars” “I Wish I Were in Love Again” and “It Never Entered My Mind.” Like so many younger singers, she grew up listening to the pop music of her generation, and has chosen to include some material from more contemporary sources to her repertoire. In this instance, she selected hits by Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” the Police, “Every Breath You Take,” and Modern English, “I Melt with You,” to fill out her program. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but these songs just do not hold up well next to the older songs, but Sergeant does a fine job of bringing them into a jazz context. The lady can sing, and there should be more fine albums like this one coming from her down the road.

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August 12, 2016

Kristen Lee Sergeant Debuts:

“Inside Out”

Some vocalists aspire to be jazz singers. Others claim the mantle but fall short. The lucky few, like Kristen Lee Sergeant, meet the challenge and merit the title.

Inside Out displays Sergeant’s qualifications – her superior intonation and control, an interpretive command that ranges from defiance to gentility, a willingness to take risks with harmony and rhythm, the freshness of her arrangements, synchronicity with her accompanists, and the manner in which all these elements yield a supremely musical package. She has refined these skills over the past decade, and her woodshedding period has yielded an imposing debut album.

Sergeant grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a suburb on Boston’s North Shore that she is quick to point out is the home of Singing Beach. During her high school and college years, she was focused on theater and classical singing, and when she moved to New York after graduating from Brandeis University her intent was to pursue a theatrical career and study opera. Then her roommate suggested that Sergeant check out cabaret legend Marilyn Maye, and a new fascination took hold. “I had listened to cabaret and jazz a bit, but hadn’t really been exposed,” Sergeant recalls. “Seeing Marilyn perform convinced me that there was a more intimate way of reaching an audience.“ Sergeant has become a student of Maye’s. “Marilyn reminds me to celebrate the beauty in my instrument.”

Sergeant also found herself immersed in jazz after the leader of a big band heard her rehearsing bel canto in a practice studio and invited her to sit in. Soon she was a permanent member of the ensemble, which only added to her growing sense of the music. “I was able to observe how the soloists were trying to discover something,” she explains, “which taught me to embrace the process of improvisation. The band played a lot of transcribed solos from Art Blakey records, and just singing along was a great education in itself.”

Hearing Maye and working with the big band led Sergeant to reconsider her musical priorities. “I saw that technique is a double-edged sword,” she says. “Classical training can make you more adept, but it can also be a shield, as if being able to do all of the tricks puts you beyond criticism. And there’s stuff you miss in more traditional vocal study, particularly in the area of rhythm. I began to realize that as a student I had reached a peak, only to discover that I could see a higher summit.”

Another key moment in Sergeant’s development was encountering a Carmen McRae video from the 1960s television series Jazz Casual. “Carmen’s incredible commitment to the lyrics, together with her complete musicality, made me realize that such things were possible. Around that time, a theatrical project I had been involved in for quite a while got a New York tryout on a night that I had a jazz gig. I realized that I had undergone a transition and missed the tryout.”

Studies with vocalist/pianist Tom Lellis put the finishing touches on Sergeant’s jazz apprenticeship. “Tom is a great teacher,” she confirms, “and he was particularly helpful in my approach to rhythm. Hard bop is my favorite listening music, which may seem like an odd choice for a singer, but Tom helped me apply the colors of hard bop to my approach. And he made me realize that, in jazz, vibrato is a choice rather than an essential. Most importantly, I learned that while I may be as deliberate as need be when I practice, what comes out when I perform has to relate more to instinct. When I’m into a song, the chances I take are all instinctual. And the meaning of each tune is my window into improvisation. If what I’m trying to do is not based in a deep well of feeling, it’s not going to happen.”

Sergeant has put her philosophy into practice in this debut program, which places her individual stamp on a half-dozen consensus standards plus three additional hits from the ‘80s. She explains the presence of the latter by noting that “I chose `Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and `Every Breath You Take’ because these songs are in the back of all of our minds. We hear them at Whole Foods, or in malls, or wherever we find ourselves wandering around; yet they aren’t sacred cows, so they are approachable for rearrangement. I took that freedom,” she jokes, “and abused it.” “I Melt with You,” the Modern English hit, is less familiar than the Tears for Fears and Police tunes, yet provided the kind of open meaning that Sergeant finds inspiring. “Thinking about melting led me to the messy intro,” she explains, “and then thinking more about melting led to the spoken word statement that alludes to both personal attraction and nuclear war.”

The rest of the program is personalized as well, with such memorable touches as her half-time statement against the rhythm section at the start of “Old Devil Moon,” the Monkish setting of “I Wish I Were in Love Again” and the straightforward wonder of “So Many Stars.” As the tracks were being recorded, producer Suzi Reynolds pointed out that Sergeant had created a song cycle, one that began with the power of “Never Will I Marry” and ultimately looped back to another form of never. “All of these songs mean something to me,” Sergeant confirms, “and the musical vocabulary of jazz allowed me to reinvent. `It Never Entered My Mind’ is so personal that I can’t listen to it. It’s the sucker punch at the end of our visit to all of these rapturous places.”

Sergeant is quick to share the credit with her rhythm section, which is comprised of players who, in her words, “can say what they need to say explosively.” She has a history of playing with pianist David Budway and bassist Chris Berger; and while many of her gigs do not allow for drummers, she found Vince Ector “a treat to work with.” She shares this writer’s appreciation of Budway’s contribution, both as a member of the trio and, on the closing two tracks, as the sole accompanist. “I’ve done gigs with David almost as long as I’ve been in New York. He’s such a versatile musician that he’s even done classical things with me. David has an endless imagination. You can work with great accompanists and great soloists, but only a few can do both. David is one of the few.”

What has resulted on Inside Out is nothing less than a confirmation of Kristen Lee Sergeant’s embrace of the jazz aesthetic. “Jazz is about bringing something new to what may be familiar material,” she insists. “The art form doesn’t need you if you’re not seeking a new way. Unlike my work in theater, it’s about what I want to say, what I can bring that no one else can bring. And while my training with a big band was invaluable, your own improvising is limited because this massive machine surrounds you. The trio gave me more opportunity to play off what everyone else is doing, which is another thing that I love about jazz. It allowed me to follow Suzi’s advice to `seize the musical moment.’”

Consider the moment seized.

Bob Blumenthal

Track Listing & Publishing Info

1  Never Will I Marry   3:32
(Frank Loesser, rearranged by Kristen Lee Sergeant) MPL Music Publishing Inc. OBO Frank Music Corp.

2  Everybody Wants to Rule the World  4:06
(Orzabal, Stanley, Hughes, rearranged by Kristen Lee Sergeant) Platinum Songs OBO Amusements LTD, Rights Management Rosetta VM PKA Virgin Songs, BMG

3 Old Devil Moon  4:28
(Burton Lane & E.Y. Harburg) Chappell & Co. Shapiro Bernstein OBO Glocca MorraMusic

4  Lullaby of the Leaves  3:38
(Joe Young & Bernice Petkere) Bourne Co. Cherio Corp. OBO Warock Corp. ©1932

5  I Melt With You  5:44
(Richard Ian Brown, Stephen James Walker, Robert James Grey, Michael Frances Conroy, Gary Frances Mcdowell, Dalton Dieh, rearranged by Kristen Lee Sergeant) Universal – Songs of Polyg OBO Universal/Momentum Music 3 LTD

6  So Many Stars  4:02
(Sergio Mendez, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman) WB Music Corp Spirit Two Music OBO Spirit Services Holdings, SARL

7  Every Breath You Take  3:16
(Sting, rearranged by Kristen Lee Sergeant) EMI Blackwood Music Inc. OBO Magnetic Publishing LTD.

8  I Wish I Were In Love Again  2:06
(Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers) Chappell & Co., Williamson Music Co. – A Div. of Rodgers & Hammerstein ©1937

9  It Never Entered My Mind  2:45
(Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers) Chappell & Co. Williamson Music Co.-A Div. of Rodgers & Hammerstein ©1940

 

Show Dates:

10.27: Kristen Lee Sergeant, Birdland Jazz Club, 315 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Shawnn Monteiro/WCS

Shawnn Monteiro/WCS

Shawnn Monteiro

“Inside a Silent Tear” Coming Soon

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Re-watch Shawnn’s July 9th birthday performance from Virtual AHA! Night: Set 1Set 2

WCS3571

Whaling City Sound‘s Jazz vocalist Shawnn Monteiro will be recording with long time friend, Jazz pianist and icon Kenny Barron. Both have spoken about doing something together for many years and now they are making their wishes come true. Monteiro and Barron will be at renowned Systems Two Studio, in Brooklyn, NY recording TODAY 9/22 and TOMORROW 9/23. Rounding out the trio with Kenny are Nat Reeves on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums.

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Wed Aug 29 12  01:00 PM
Venue: Greenvale Vineyards
Address: 582 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth, RI, 02871, US Details: w/ Mike Renzi & Dick Lupino
401-847-3777

Sun Sep 09 12  11:30 AM
Venue: Hartford Jazz Society Cruise
Address: Connecticut State Pier 152-198 Little Meadow Road, Haddam, CT, 06438, US
Details: 7 hours on the Connecticut River: Haddam to Long Island Sound and back
Reserved Tables: ALL BOTTOM DECK TABLES RESERVED. Tables of 10 seats on bottom deck $650.00 until Sept. 2, 2012; after Sept. 2nd., $750.00.
ALL RESERVED TABLES SOLD ONLY AT HJS OFFICE.
Bring your own picnic baskets, drinks and coolers. Hot dogs are available on board. Ice and cold drinks available free on the lower deck.
ADULTS ONLY! • NO PETS!
> BUY TICKETS (60.00 per person)

 

Shawnn Monteiro offers tribute the wonderful and all-too-overlooked jazz singer Carmen McRae in To Carmen with Love, a soulfully beautiful album. Monteiro sings in the same style as McRae once did, accompanied by a spare three-piece band; the songs are carefully selected from among McRae’s personal favorites. To Carmen with Love is a joy to experience for fans of jazz, and highly recommended. Midwest Book Review Library Bookwatch: June 2012

Shawnn Monteiro   –   To Carmen with Love    4/4 O’s Notes: Shawnn sings with her soul, reaching down deep like the early jazz singers. Specifically this is a tribute to Carmen McRae, not a trivial task but Monteiro pulls it off. She has the perfect compliment with her swinging trio including pianist Mike Renzi, Dave Zinno on bass and drummer Steve Langone. There are twelve songs that help us revisit memories of one of the greatest jazz singers (Carmen). — D. Oscar  Groomes O’s Place Jazz Magazine P.O. Box 38430 Charlotte, NC 28278 http://www.OsPlaceJazz.com

To Carmen with Love

A Tribute to Jazz, A Tribute to a Talent, and a Tribute to One Artist’s Effort to Keep a Memory Alive

Tributes to the jazz greats of yesterday, performed by the artists of today, are many. But few of today’s artists can boast the same intimacy and familiarity with the objects of their musical affection as Shawnn Monteiro. On her new CD, To Carmen With Love, Shawnn pays tribute to the artistry of the legendary—but often overlooked—jazz vocalist,

Carmen McRae. But Monteiro, whose earthy voice and masterful phrasing is reminiscent of McRae’s, chose McRae for a few very good reasons …

“My dad Jimmy Woode,” she explains, “played bass with Carmen for quite a while, and my godfather, trumpeter Clark Terry did also. I used to listen to them tell stories about their time with Carmen and it was fascinating.”

The influence of Carmen’s music and the direct connection to it, takes Monteiro’s tribute to the next level. With a similar singing style, the same, spare three-piece band, and a love of the repertoire, Monteiro made it a mission to bring greater attention to the amazing craft and music of McRae. “I really want Carmen to be heard,” she says. “She was just a great entertainer, a great singer.”

On To Carmen With Love, Monteiro is helping to do just that. In preparing the album, which was produced by Monteiro and Mike Renzi, Shawnn took great care in choosing the songs she had a feeling were special to the singer. She sifted through her own three-dozen-plus recordings by McRae, and pinpointed the songs that kept popping up in their grooves: “That Old Black Magic,” “Lamp Is Low,” “Old Devil Moon,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” and “I Have the Feeling I’ve Been Here Before.” A few years ago, a former band mate presented Shawnn with a DVD of McRae’s last performance, recorded back in 1986. “All the tunes I loved were on it,” she says, and their inclusion convinced Shawnn she was on the right track. “She had a love in her heart for them, obviously.”

And so does Shawnn.

Along with recording and gigging, Monteiro shares her love for McRae and jazz in general as an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Not only that, she deepens her commitment to the genre by giving master classes in jazz vocals all over the world —including in Italy, France, Croatia, Spain and more. She takes teaching as seriously as singing.

“I teach them about this thing we call jazz. It’s our American art form. I turn my students on to this music, and they say, ‘Oh my God! We’ve never heard this! And I tell them, ‘Unless you pass it on, it’s going to die.’”

On To Carmen with Love, Monteiro is doing her part and much more in keeping the glow of jazz alive. It’s in her heart, it’s in her performance, and it’s in every note she sings.

    Featured Artists Shawnn Monteiro: vocals Mike Renzi: piano Dave Zinno: bass Steve Langone: drums Track Listings Old Devil Moon • Yesterdays • I Concentrate on You • Old Black Magic • You’re Looking At Me • Mean To Me • Come In From the Rain • Miss Brown • Speak Low • Nice Work • The Feeling • Nature Boy Quotes “Fresh and adventuresome … a dynamic presence.” — JazzTimesFeatured Artist: Shawnn Monteiro: vocals Mike Renzi: piano Dave Zinno: bass Steve Langone: drums Track Listing: Old Devil Moon; Yesterdays; I Concentrate on You; Old Black Magic; You’re Looking At Me; Mean To Me; Come In From the Rain; Miss Brown; Speak Low; Nice Work; The Feeling; Nature Boy Jazz vocalist Shawnn Monteiro’s father, bassist Jimmy Woode, played for the late, great Carmen McRae. So did her godfather, trumpeter Clark Terry. • As Monteiro listened to their stories and studied McRae’s work, she became an admirer. The influence of McRae’s earthy contralto voice and masterful phrasing comes through loud and clear in Monteiro’s own jazz stylings. • Ms. Monteiro has delighted audiences from the USA to Europe with her highly popular jazz repertoire laced with blues-oriented improvisations and the American Songbook. The true quality of Shawnn’s voice is best experienced in the ultimate setting of the club dates where her warm charisma can be personally felt by those fortunate enough to spend an evening with her • She continues to teach Master Classes all over the world, including one ongoing every summer in Italy since 1995. She is an adjunct Professor at the Hartt School/Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz , University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut and also Rhode Island College in Providence Rhode Island. • Her popularity continues to grow as club-goers from Los Angeles to Rome extol the special feelings they share as she lulls them into a mellow mood as only a sensitive jazz vocalist can do. The true magical quality of Shawnn’s exciting voice is best experienced in the ultimate setting of the club dates where her warm charisma can be personally felt by those fortunate enough to spend and evening with her. Promotion to Key Markets Label Hometown: New Bedford Artist Hometown: Providence Also:Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, San Jose, Hartford Also Available: Whaling City Sound, 022, Shawnn Monteiro, One Special Night JazzTimes – “fresh and adventuresome…a dynamic presence”

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“Exciting, captivating and completely distinctive” is how most jazz cognoscenti describe Shawnn’s pulsating lyric style. Whether in the intimacy of a club date or the glitter of a Las Vegas showroom, Shawnn has delighted audiences from USA to Europe with her highly popular jazz repertoire laced with blues-oriented improvisations. Evident in Shawnn’s liveliness of lyrical phrasing and intermittent scat variations is the influences of Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan, from whom she draws that inner core of creative energy. But good genes help, too. Shawnn’s father was the late renowned bassist Jimmy Woode, veteran of the Duke Ellington band. Throw into the mix, a lot of musical inspiration and guidance from her Godfather, Clark Terry, and you come up with a combination that can’t miss. Percussion great and latin/jazz impressario Mongo Santamaria discovered Shawnn working in a club in San Jose, California and signed her on the spot to tour with his band. Shawnn electrified audiences as his only vocalist and female percussionist during that two-year circuit where she shared the stage with such greats as Stan Kenton, Celia Cruz, the Fania All-Stars, and Weather Report. Since then, Shawnn has shared the state with a prestigious list of notables jazz names:  Clark Terry, Red Holloway, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster and the Basie Band, Nat Adderly, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Bobby Durham, James Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Keter Betts, Stanley Jordan, Ed Thigpen, Johnny Griffin, and Benny Golson….to name a few. Ms. Monteiro has delighted audiences from the USA to Europe with her highly popular jazz repertoire laced with blues-oriented improvisations and the American Songbook.  The true quality of Shawnn’s voice is best experienced in the ultimate setting of the club dates where her warm charisma can be personally felt by those fortunate enough to spend an evening with her, She continues to teach Master Classes all over the world, including one ongoing every summer in Italy since 1995.  She is an adjunct Professor at the Hartt School/Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz , University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut and also Rhode Island College in Providence Rhode Island. Her popularity continues to grow as clubgoers from Los Angeles to Rome extol the special feelings they share as she lulls them into a mellow mood as only a sensitive jazz vocalist can do. The true magical quality of Shawnn’s exciting voice is best experienced in the ultimate setting of the club dates where her warm charisma can be personally felt by those fortunate enough to spend and evening with her. Shawnn teaches a Master Vocal Class in Rome and Genova, Italy every summer. (Ongoing since 1995) Artist in Residence – 2 Years at Rhode Island College (Jazz Vocals) She is also an adjunct Professor (in Jazz Vocals) at both Rhode Island College, Providence, RI and Harrt School of Music, Univ. of Hartford, Hartford, CT.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012 The Rotary Club of New Bedford presents a night of Sweet, Sultry, Swinging Jazz with Shawnn Monteiro featuring Tim Ray on piano, Dave Zinno on bass, Steve Langone on drums The Wamsutta Club County Street, New Bedford $50.00 7 – 8pm  Deluxe hors d’oeuvres 8 – 11pm  JAZZ

Tickets are available at: Baker Books on Rt. 6 in Dartmouth the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford or by calling Nancy Wood at 508 971-8533 For additional information visit the <http://www.newbedfordrotary.com/>New Bedford Rotary Website or contact Jim Oliveira at 508 837- 8255 Proceeds will be used to fund non-profit organizations in the Greater New Bedford area

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