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Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh: Raising Their Voices

By Published: June 8, 2010
He notes, "We also talked to people who said, 'Look, If I've heard your recording or if I know the concept of it and I go see you guys live and it's just two voices, I'll be disappointed. I want to hear the whole thing.' We took that into consideration. We met in the middle. We performed some with me playing piano and singing, and Julia singing. We take solos. We sing the inner lines and parts, along with tracks, with the rest of the band playing. That's gone pretty well."

They are rehearsing with a couple other jazz singers from Los Angeles with thoughts toward doing it that way, and "start singing with it in our new Vertical Voices kind of thing," Marsh says. "We're going to call ourselves that, I think. Start performing this music, and other music, live in a quartet format with all music that is similar, sort of progressive jazz kind of stuff. We'll probably still perform with tracks, but now the tracks can be thinner, with the live performance more a part of it. We can also do it live with just piano and vocals and percussion, and get a more vocal jazz ensemble happening with it. Which is something both of us have spent a lot of our lives doing. I think we're still experimenting and still coming up with solutions for how to tour it. We know it's really important so it can tip over and start to be heard by lots and lots of people."

As far as the future, the couple hopes to use the approach to Schneider's music on other projects. "We've fallen in love with the whole multi-tracking with the two of us," says Dollison. "We've gotten a lot of suggestions from fans. 'You've got to cover [percussionist/composer] John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
's orchestra next, or Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
.' We know that we want to do something like that and make it another tribute.

"We have favorite artists in common that we think are candidates for it," says Marsh. "We're going through that list now and looking at music and making plans and thinking about it long term, while still having to keep our eye on the ball with this album too. We're definitely trying to make sure we don't take five years to do the next record. We're not sure who we're going to go with the next time, whether it will be one artist or multiple, or how we'll pull it off."

It will be interesting to see where this like-minded, attuned couple—who revel in the joy of singing—carry this style of vocal jazz. Based on the current project, it will certainly have its own panache and style.

Selected Discography

Julia Dollison/Kerry Marsh, Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider (ArtistShare, 2010)

Ben Folds, College A Cappella (Sony, 2009)

Julia Dollison, Observatory, ( Like So Music, 2005)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 2, 5: Courtesy of Julia Dollison

Pages 3, 4: Courtesy of Kerry Marsh.

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