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“Vocalist Fred Farell’s latest project Distant Song captures the music of Liebman and Beirach beautifully. Farell didn’t merely copy Liebman’s and Beirach’s compositions, he added sublime lyrics and a magically ethereal vocal style.” – Devon Wendell
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By: Leonid Auskern
Serbian vocalist Alma Mizic has gone a long way, typical for many talented jazz performers from Europe. She was born in Belgrade, she began to learn to play the piano at six, and later realized that her element was vocal. At the age of 17, she sang with Big Band radio band and admired the art of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter. In the late 90’s, Alma went to study overseas, at Berkeley, and, having received a bachelor’s degree there, settled in New York, becoming there a notable figure with all the abundance of first-class vocalists in the Big Apple. Alma’s first album was released in 2004, followed by several more CDs, and today’s That Old Feeling, released by a well-known independent label from Dartmouth, Massachusetts Whaling City Sound, was the fourth in her discography.
The album’s structure resembles some previous CDs of the singer. Seven of the nine tracks are standards, with very well-known and very often performed ones, like Cry Me A River, Honeysuckle Rose or Blue Moon, and two tracks are their own, only to this performer: Alma’s own song, Ne Zaboravi Me balladand Russian-gypsy romance Solnishko. Standards – this is a touchstone for any jazz singer: I do not speak at all about the professionalism of the performance, the main thing is whether the given singer or singer is able to contribute something individual to the well-known topics. In my opinion, Alma Mizic does it. Her main trump card is magnificent intonation, the ability to “live” a song with her character and an impeccable sense of style. And her version of Honeysuckle Rose may well stand in line with the best samples of this evergreen from the greatest stars. Well, and in his “own”, Slavic-Gypsy field Mizic is not imitated at all. Her clean, silvery color voice conveys the lyrics very emotionally, penetrating into the very depths of the hearts of listeners.
A considerable part of the success of this album can be recorded by the accompanying Alme Ensemble, in which I would especially single out her husband, guitarist Rale Mizic and very good bass player Corcoran Holt. If the expression “King is playing suite” is true, then Her Majesty can sincerely thank her partners – they were good. I think that those who hear That Old Feeling will be able to appreciate the skill of the singer, and the class of her colleagues
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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
Saturday, October 4, 2014
DEBRA MANN-PIANO & VOCALS