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Roberta Donnay

Musicians can take on the role of anthropologist, curious about what came before in music and how musicians reflected their world around them. Award- winning vocalist and songwriter Roberta Donnay is that rare species of musician who almost lives in another time, as she and her Prohibition Mob Band exist to revive the Jazz Age of America.

After two very enjoyable CDs of music from the 1920s-30s, Roberta Donnay and her Prohibition Mob Band continue their exploration of early jazz and swing with a tribute to one of the most influential figures in all of jazz. Donnay is possibly the first female singer to record a full-length project devoted exclusively to Louis Armstrong.

For My Heart Belongs To Satchmo, Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band revive 15 songs from Armstrong's career. Avoiding the obvious hits, Donnay performs both superior obscurities and personal favorites.

"'My Heart Belongs To Satchmo' is such a joyful project for me," adds Donnay, "I wanted to capture the heart of Satchmo and the love that we have of his music." Ms. Donnay, her arrangers, and the musicians of the Prohibition Mob Band succeed at paying a loving tribute to the great Satchmo.

- Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian

Featured performers on the recording are Donnay’s Prohibition Mob Band: John R. Burr, piano; Sam Bevan, bass; Deszon Claiborne, drums; Rich Armstrong, coronet/trumpet; Sheldon Brown, clarinet; Mike Rinta, trombone, Matt Baxter, guitar. Guest artists: Annie Stocking, background vocals on "Pennies From Heaven".

"Bathtub Gin", listed as One Of The Best Albums 2015 in DownBeat Magazine, is another significant achievement in Donnay’s colorful and productive career as a producer, performer and songwriter. Always writing, Donnay has had many of her songs selected for multiple TV and film placements and has served as a music supervisor for movies. Also a producer and a journalist, Donnay understands how music can help tell the story of issues and events. Her song "One World,” an ASCAP Composer Award-winning song, was selected as a world-peace anthem for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and was the theme for World Aids Day in South Africa.

A longtime resident of the Bay Area, Donnay has been a singer and percussionist with the iconic band Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks since 2005- 2016 and also performs still with "The Hot Licks". Her own band, The Prohibition Mob Band, is well known out west and tours frequently.

Shares Donnay, I’m honored to have the opportunity to record and perform this music, to carry forward a piece of this legacy, and I hope I can inspire others to re-discover this music and the reasons we fell in love with jazz.

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2
Album Review

Roberta Donnay: Blossom-ing!

Read "Blossom-ing!" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Pianist, vocalist and composer Blossom Dearie may have been diminutive in stature and voice but certainly never in talent. She began her career in New York in the mid 1940s and then moved to Paris in the early 1950s to form the vocal group The Blue Stars, which eventually morphed into the Swingle Singers. Returning to the US in the 1960s, she began a solo career and gained international recognition through her wry interpretation of unusual song choices as well ...

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Album Review

Roberta Donnay: Blossom-ing!

Read "Blossom-ing!" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Blossom-ing! is vocalist Roberta Donnay's tribute to one of the most memorable jazz singers who ever lived, Blossom Dearie. She does so via sixteen songs associated with Dearie including Billie Holiday's “Billie's (or Blossom's) Blues," retitled here “Roberta's Blues." After leading with that one, Donnay lends her tremulous little-girl voice (eerily similar to Dearie's) to one of Dearie's best-known themes, “Peel Me a Grape," before scanning the others. Unlike Dearie, Donnay doesn't accompany herself at the piano, ...

5
Album Review

Roberta Donnay & The Prohibition Mob Band: Bathtub Gin

Read "Bathtub Gin" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Roberta Donnay is a Jazz Age preservationist, guardian of Depression-era sounds, and extender of traditions, but her music isn't covered with cobwebs or dated in any way. On Bathtub Gin, this singer-composer puts a new coat of paint on the songs of the '20s and '30s, contributes originals sympathetic to the sounds of those times, and conjures thoughts of life during prohibition. Across fifteen tracks, Donnay and her group--the aptly-titled Prohibition Mob Band--deliver snappy statements, sly songs, ...

167
Album Review

Roberta Donnay: What's Your Story

Read "What's Your Story" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone


Bay Area singer Roberta Donnay has an usual past for a jazz vocalist. She already has several albums and a fan base, but according to her website these songs have been in the category of electro-chill-ambient jazz, smooth jazz, trance music, acid jazz, etc. Her initial jazz vocal experience was at the 2003 Monterey Jazz Festival, where she appeared with saxophonist Dave Ellis (who appears on this album), but What's Your Story is her first recorded venture in jazz singing. ...

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2

Recording

Roberta Donnay & The Prohibition Mob Band “Party Like It’s 1925!” On New Release: A Little Sugar

Roberta Donnay & The Prohibition Mob Band “Party Like It’s 1925!” On New Release: A Little Sugar

Source: GoMedia PR

CD Spotlighting the Music of the Prohibition Era Will Be Released on Motéma on November 13 No matter what type of music Roberta Donnay is performing, she sings with the spontaneity,honesty and the individuality of the best jazz vocalists. A colorful and passionate performer, she is a joy to see in concert and to hear on record. In her multi-faceted musical career, Donnay has won numerous awards for her work as a singer/songwriter. However, her first musical love has always ...

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Event

Roberta Donnay Quartet July 6-8th in Southern CA

Roberta Donnay Quartet July 6-8th in Southern CA

Source: All About Jazz

Roberta Donnay and her quartet headline at the new San Diego Club, Anthology and then head up to the Los Angeles area to the Catalina Bar & Grill. Sunday, July 6 & 7th The Roberta Donnay Quartet Anthology 1337 India Street (btwn A & Ash) San Diego, CA Phone: 619. 595.0300 $15/$30 cover 2 shows 7:30 & 9:30 Sunday, July 8th, 7:30pm The Roberta ...

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Performance / Tour

Roberta Donnay CD Release Party Sept. 22 at 142 Throckmorton Theater

Roberta Donnay CD Release Party Sept. 22 at 142 Throckmorton Theater

Source: Kari-On Productions

Fresh off the road from an East coast, LA, Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest tour Rainforest Records is proud to present Grammy Nominated & award winning recording artist ROBERTA DONNAY and her jazz quartet, featuring Jonathan Alford on piano, Sam Bevan on bass, Deszon Claiborne on drums.

Donnay's new jazz CD What's Your Story is produced by legendary jazz producer Orrin Keepnews(Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Aderly). What's Your Story has just been picked up for a major ...

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Performance / Tour

Grammy Nominated Roberta Donnay, Releases Her New CD on June 7th

Grammy Nominated Roberta Donnay, Releases Her New CD on June 7th

Source: All About Jazz

Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Roberta Donnay has toured the past ten years promoting her previous CDs Back Before The Why, Bohemian, and Soul Reverse, which earned her television and film credits including Nash Bridges, The Young & the Restless, Days of Our Lives, One Life to Live, That's Life, along with films, Close Encounters and Reservoirs of Strength. Donnay's single, “Crack in the Sidewalk" was a hit on college and public radio, receiving rotation on 80 stations nationwide. Her song “One ...

" She is an endangered species." - Dr. Herb Wong

With her singularly enticing sound, few contemporary vocalists are as well suited to dustily vintage material as jazz-blues stylist Roberta Donnay. She affectively proved so three years ago when, teamed with her Prohibition Mob Band, she surveyed standards from the 1920s and ’30s on the charming A Little Sugar. Now she’s back for more. – Jazz Times

Roberta Donnay is a Jazz Age preservationist, guardian of Depression-era sounds, and extender of traditions, but her music isn't covered with cobwebs or dated in any way. On Bathtub Gin, this singer-composer puts a new coat of paint on the songs of the '20s and '30s, contributes originals sympathetic to the sounds of those times, and conjures thoughts of life during prohibition. - All About Jazz

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Concerts

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Blossom-ing!

Self Produced
2022

buy

Bathtub Gin

Motéma Music
2015

buy

A Little Sugar

Self Produced
2012

buy

What's Your Story

Self Produced
2006

buy

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