Fans stood in the aisles at Joe's Pub on January 11, 2007 to hear Aga Zaryan, a Warsaw-based singer currently touring in the US to promote her second CD, Picking Up The Pieces. The biggest criticism to levy against Zaryan is that the set was too short for her estimable talents and, absent any plans for expanding the size of the room at Joe's Pub, perhaps Zaryan's two US gigs could be expanded to a run somewhere else in town (Zaryan had performed the evening before at Washington, DC's premier jazz club, Blues Alley). At Joe's Pub, Zaryan's repertoire derived primarily from selections on the recent CD, an engaging collection of standards and jazz renditions of more eclectic tunes. She remained true to the recorded performance, and while she doesn't scat on her CD or on stage, her phrasing and arrangements demonstrate a solid understanding of the jazz vocal idiom. Clearly Zaryan has done her homework both as a singer and as a jazz musician. Well-schooled in classical and jazz vocal music, Zaryan has taken top honors in jazz competitions, received grants to study jazz in the US and toured internationally with her quartet. Her confidence as a singer is palpable, as is her appeal. At Joe's Pub, she opened with "The Man I Love," taken against convention as an up- tempo tune. Her imaginative take on the Gershwin melody line and her unswerving sense of time were worth the revisit to the classic torch song. Other honorable mentions: her rendition of Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream as a rhythmically sure-footed but understated duet with bassist Alexis Cuadrado and the blues tune "Woman's Work, a wry and infectious composition by Darek Oles (also the bassist on Zaryan's CD). Pianist Bryan Roberts and drummer Mark Ferber completed Zaryan's New York trio. Zaryan closed with a dedication to the late Shirley Horn, "Here's To Life, from Horn's 1992 album of the same name. Excepting two songs in Polish (the theme from the film Rosemary's Baby by Krzysztof Komeda and Howard Dietz's "You and The Night and The Music ). All of these tunes are on the albumfor fans who missed Zaryan's all-too-brief visit to New York.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.