Friday, April 29, 2016

Kim Nazarian: Some Morning

By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Some Morning

In spite of her years of experience on the musical stage, this is vocalist Kim Nazarian’s first album, and it’s a technical tour de force. More than 25 musicians, vocalists, engineers, mixers, masters and producers participated. 

Nazarian got her start as one of the founding members of the famed New York Voices. She’s the overall vocalist here, and is joined on some by Peter Eldridge — a former New York voices member — and her son, Ian Ashby. Various instrumentalists appear on one or more tracks, and it’s quite the family affair: pianists Mark Shilansky and Mark Soskin; bassists Dwayne Dolphin and Leo Traversa; trumpeters Sean Jones and Steve Hawk; trombonist Jay Ashby (Nazarian’s husband); reedists Paquito D'Rivera, Greg Nazarian (her father), Anna Nelson, Jesse McCandless and Alexa Still; guitarists John Pizzarelli, Marty Ashby (her brother in-law) and Jiro Yoshida; drummers Roger Humphries and Jamey Haddad; vibist Gary Burton; and harpist Caitlin Mehrtens.

Nor are we done. Production utilized half a dozen recording studios and many mixers, masters and engineers. That’s where the technology comes in; most of the tracks were recorded with various combos, but several featured a virtual “big band.” The instrumental horns/sections were overdubbed in the studio by clever engineers! “Road to Kursk,” a variant of an old bebop tune, is the prime example; you’d swear that an entire big band had been involved.

Nazarian is a true jazz vocalist; she makes you believe she has “lived” the lyrics. She’s also one of the great scatters: Her voice — tone, clarity, expression and capability to improvise — blends perfectly with other voices and horns.

I hope we’ll hear more from Nazarian, her family members and friends.

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