Saturday, February 09, 2008
Yr. humble editor can be a tough sell when it comes to female vocalists, but I've liked Sara Gazarek since I first heard her debut CD Yours back in 2005. She's got first-rate technical skills as a singer, and while she's clearly rooted in and respectful of the jazz tradition, Gazarek also projects an ease and a certain unpretentious quality not found among many of her twenty-something peers.
Gazarek will be in St. Louis next week to perform Wednesday through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro, and this week's videos offer a preview of two aspects of her work. The first clip shows Gazarek and her trio performing the Ellington standard "I've Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," in which she shows considerable guts by singing the rarely-included verse of the tune acapella before the band joins her for the more familiar portion of the tune. Even then, it's not an easy song to sing, but Gazarek pulls it off quite nicely.
The second clip showcases her performance of "Let's Try This Again," an original tune written by Josh Nelson, who's also Gazarek's longtime piano player. It's a swinging number in the classic AABA format, almost like something Sinatra or Ella could have sung, and Gazarek gives it an appropriately light touch.
When Gazarek played St. Louis for the first time while touring in support of her first CD, I wrote a preview story about her for the Riverfront Times that you can read here. I felt then, and still believe now, that she's a real standout who's destined for considerable success.