Nora McCarthy

All About Jazz user Nora McCarthy

Modern Jazz Voice, Composer, Poet, Lyricist, Writer, Actor

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Nora McCarthy has been a steady fixture on the New York music scene since 1996 when she recorded her first CD red&blue with pianist John diMartino, bass-Essiet Okon Essiet, drums-Alvester Garnett, t-sax-Mike Lee and percussionist, Sato Takeishi. She and her various groups have appeared in the top jazz rooms, performance spaces, concert halls, clubs, cafes and galleries in the city and elsewhere in the world.

McCarthy possesses the earthiness of an early blues singer, the articulation, phrasing and timbre of a jazz trumpet. An adept and exhilarating improviser, she performs in every situation from duo to a twenty piece large ensemble from straight ahead jazz to the free and avant-garde idioms. Her original compositions and arrangements (over 20) are stunning works of art and she is gifted poet and lyricist as well. Her powerfully moving delivery of the spoken word and interpretation of the lyric reflects a deep and intense emotional capacity that communicates directly to her audience heart to heart. Nora’s vocal identity, aside from a basic jazz orientation, defies classification, and makes spare use of reflexive stylistic mannerisms. In the placement of her voice, Nora can evoke the power of a Malian Diva’s fearless candor, or perhaps a Corsican Voceratrice’s call to invisible worlds in the language of dreams.Her shaping of pitch often foregoes the fluid note-bending of the jazz singer in favor of the full press of a sculptor’s touch against viscous clay.

Ms. McCarthy performs regularly throughout New York City and is a regular at The Bar Next Door in Greenwich Village with her Trio. Other recent performances include: The Latin Free Jazz Festival at Metro Baptist Church as a member of the ACE Collective; at the Why Not Jazz Room in Greenwich Village, The Shapeshifter Lab, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, El Taller Latino Americano; Medicine Show Theatre, NYC; ISIM – International Cross-Cultural Festival at New School University; Michiko Studios Music Series; Mount Morris Church in Harlem w/Craig Harris; Smalls Jazz Club, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Arlene’s Grocery, Flute Bar & Lounge, NY, Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, Trumpets, The Baha’i Center, NYC, The Iridium, NYC, Opia Restaurant & Lounge, Nighttown, Cleveland, Ohio, and Cornelia Street Café, NYC among numerous other venues throughout the New York State area which does not include her work as a poet and member of Butch Morris’ illustrious Chorus of Poets. Ms. McCarthy has also appeared at the Blue Note, Birdland, The Brucknerhaus in Linz, Austria, La Platea, Panama, American Culture Center, Podgorica, Montenegro.

Nora leads the following creative ensembles: The Nora McCarthy Trio with guitarist Marvin Sewell and bassist Donald Nicks; The Nora McCarthy Qu’ART’et featuring: John diMartino; Jeffrey Carney- Bass and Tony Jefferson-Drums; Lyrical Duosity (voice & piano) the sophisticated and eclectic repertoire includes treasures from the Great American Songbook, original compositions, contemporary Jazz, and Blues; the HeartStrings Project that honors the poetic singer/songwriters of the past 50 years featuring: guitarist, composer, educator, Andrew Green, electric bassist, composer, Donald Nicks and renowned percussionist, Kenny Grohowski; Manna For Thought - a free form improvisational trio with Dom Minasi and Ras Moshe; Back To The One – conceptualized improvisation group - saxophone, piano, drums and pedals with original compositions and poetry, Jorge Sylvester, Pablo Vergara and Jay Rosen, and, The Modern Voice Ensemble, with actors/poets Yasha Bilan and Mark Gering—an experimental improvisation group that combines, movement, theater, poetry and sound, Let’s Talk About NOW Duo with renowned flutist, lyricist, composer, Cheryl Pyle.

Additionally, Nora co-leads several unique and groundbreaking projects: A Small Dream In Red, an innovative expressionist voice and saxophone duo; ConceptualMotion Orchestra, a 20-piece all original music ensemble; and the Jorge Sylvester ACE (Afro- Caribbean-Experimental) Collective, a sextet of improvising musicians consisting of: alto saxophone, voice, trumpet, piano electric bass, and drums. The ACE Collective performs original, new and experimental compositions that draw from the Afro- Caribbean Diaspora, jazz and the free music art forms. They recently released a double CD, Spirit Driven, in 2013, recorded in Linz, Austria, 2010.

Nora was listed in the “Best Jazz of 2012 for Female Singer and Top Vocal Jazz Album” categories by Arnoldo DeSouteiro, Founder and CEO of JSR (Jazz Station Records), Music Producer (with over 380 albums to his credit according to the All Music Guide), Voting Member of NARAS-GRAMMY, Journalist, Jazz & Brazilian Music Historian, Publicist, Public Relations.

In 2009 Nora was featured in Italy’s foremost jazz magazine, The Jazz Magazine, alongside luminaries Ahmad Jamal and Phil Woods and her composition “My Dream” from her CD, red&blue, was included on the accompanying compilation CD. From 2009-2010, Nora hosted, New York Jazz Expressions, for UKJazz Radio, an online radio program presenting over 15 shows that featured a vast array of vocal and instrumental jazz recordings from early jazz to the avant-garde and free music art forms highlighting those artists currently on the cutting edge of the New York City jazz music scene.

Nora has been a regular guest on WKCR’s Musician’s Show along with partner Jorge Sylvester, and has been a featured guest on WCPN, in Cleveland, Ohio, CoffeeTalk Jazz Radio in L.A., WMUR, AccuJazz Radio, Good Morning Montenegro TV show and Bourbon Street Jazz TV Show in Hartford, Connecticut.

Nora released three new CDs in 2013, A Time For Love, Spirit Driven and In The Language of Dreams and is soon to be recording several new creative projects in January 2015 on the foUR label—a subsidiary of Unseen Rain Records. Her discography thus far: A Time For Love – 2013 (RedZen Records™); Spirit Driven (foUR Records) – 2013; In The Language Of Dreams (foUR Records) – 2012; Toward A Hill of Joy, 2011; Circle Completing, 2009; A Small Dream In Red, 2005; and, red&blue, 1998.

Nora has performed with the following artists: Conductor: Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris; Saxophonists: Jorge Sylvester, Julian Pressley, James Stewart, Gene Jefferson, Tim Armacost, Salim Washington, Jay Rodriguez, Hayes Greenfield, Willie Smith, Mike Lee; Trumpet Waldron Mahdi Ricks, Dwayne Eubanks, Michael C. Lewis, Mac Gollahan, Josh Evans; Pianists: John diMartino, Joshua Wolff, Neil Alexander, James Hurt, Eric Lewis, Aruan Ortiz, Jon Davis, Pablo Vergara, James Weidman, Donald Smith, Chip Crawford, Richard Clements, Andrew Bemkey, Ray Gallon, Rahn Burton, Ace Carter, Neil Creque; Guitarists: Barry Wedgle, Dom Minasi, Marvin Sewell, Andrew Green, Ron Affif; Bassists: Jeff Carney, Joe Fonda, Ratzo Harris, Donald Nicks, Santi Debriano, Gene Torres, Calvin Hill, Dominic Duval, Juini Booth, Reggie Washington, Ken Filiano, Essiet Okon Essiet; Vibraphonist Gunter Hampel, Bill Ware; Drummers: Elliot Umberto Kavee, Dave Gibson, Gene Jackson, Derrik Phillips, Dafnis Prieto, Michael Wimberly, Mark Johnson, Lou Grassi, Francisco Mela, Bruce Cox, Jay Rosen, David Silliman; Percussionist: Neal Clark, Sato Takeishi; Trombonist: Aaron Johnson, Craig Harris, Kuumba Frank Lacy’s Vibe Tribe; Trombonist George Brandon and the Blue Unity Ensemble, Jay Clayton’s “Different Voices,” among many other notables too numerous to mention.

*****

*McCarthy has penned lyrics to over a dozen jazz standards and countless others compositions by other artists including her own original music.

**McCarthy has been writing poetry for over 30 years and has plans to publish of book of select poems in the near future.

***McCarthy' has written over 20 compositions some are tributes to: Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Grover Washington, and Jimmy Scott.

DISCOGRAPHY:

A Time For Love – Release Date Fall, 2013 Spirit Driven (foUR Records) – 2013 In The Language Of Dreams (foUR Records) – 2012 Toward A Hill of Joy, 2011 Circle Completing, 2009 A Small Dream In Red, 2005 red&blue, 1996 (re-release 1998)

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