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Shelly Rudolph

The ever-evolving—and expanding—Shelly Rudolph story continues onward and upward with the release of her latest album, the ambitious and atmospheric The Way We Love, her debut on the Origin Records label. Well-established as an organically- gifted and sultry fine purveyor of jazz, soul, pop, blues and more in the Northwest, Rudolph takes a step forward with her latest project, a drum-less and sometimes “chamber jazz-like” journey into musical terrain both fresh and linked to her continuing story in progress. Embedded on this adventure are key tracks, textures supplied and contextual cues by the lyrical, ECM Records-connected cellist David Darling.

Rudolph has long been a favored voice around her hometown of Portland, Oregon, and musical travels have taken her to New York, Los Angeles, the West Indies, Japan, Korea and beyond. She has been dubbed a “robust and captivating vocalist” by Jazz Times and the LA Weekly praised her ability to use her “honey-glazed throat to send chills up and down your spine.”

While interpreting songs of others, and in various classic songbooks, Rudolph is also gifted in the art of original songwriting, as heard on her previous, more “world soul”-oriented album Water in My Hand. The Montecito Journal called the album, recorded mostly in Santa Barbara, California, “a stunning album, intoxicating and stimulating, a mature work from an old soul artist.”

Now, also from the original music/poetess corner of her creative life, Rudolph follows up Water in My Hand with her long-awaited The Way We Love, a unique and lyrical new song set, with signature sonics from legendary cellist Darling. Darling’s layered cello textures blend with a subtle palette of piano-bass-guitar and cameos from the New Orleans-bred and Portland-based Devin Phillips, on soprano saxophone, as with his opening statements and later tasteful riffs woven between Rudolph’s lines on “Faith.”

Among the highlights on The Way We Love is an inventively re-harmonized version of the immortal Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me,” the simple original chord structure of which is imbued with a new tension-and-release sense of drama. The inspired guitarist Chance Hayden (a recording artist on Atlanta Records/Ropeadope) was behind the arrangement. He also supplies a melodic solo over a passage of suspended harmonic ambience, as if in an emotional questioning state—ultimately resolved under Rudolph’s assuring, closing refrain “everything’s gonna be alright.”

On “Slow Life,” Shelly engages in a sweetly soulful and empathetic duet with vocalist Redray Frazier, a New Yorker turned Portlander whose resume includes work with David Byrne. The short-ish, radio-friendly track also features noted jazz (and smooth jazz) pianist Tom Grant, with whom Rudolph has been a regular collaborator for many years.

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“Shelly Rudolph is a captivating and robust vocalist” Jazz Times

"Shelly Rudolph has the looks, talent and charisma to win over new crowds and a honey-glazed throat to send chills up and down your spine." LA Weekly

"A soulful vocalist that prefers not to be contained, (Shelly Rudolph) gives you a taste of what Carole King would sound like if she could kick it out with some real soul—-but she doesn’t stop to limit herself there.  A set that took it’s sweet time to arrive, (The Way We Love is) just right for that in between time when you have shrugged the day off but aren’t quite ready for some after hours adventures yet.  With all the pros on board playing like they aren’t watching the clock, it’s all got the right feel and flow to make itself easily at home on your system of choice.  Solidly sweet." - Midwest Record

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Nina Simone
piano and vocals
Billie Holiday
voice / vocals
Aretha Franklin
voice / vocals
Susana Baca
voice / vocals

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Way We Love

OA2 Records


Water in My Hand

Household Ink Records


Close Enough

From: The Way We Love
By Shelly Rudolph


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