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Suzanne Cloud

Suzanne Cloud started her career in regional theater in the Philadelphia area appearing as the lead in productions both musical and dramatic including Pajama Game, Silent Night, Lonely Night, an original musical version of Bell Book and Candle, touring with The Fantastiks, Carousel and South Pacific and finally Sex Tips for Modern Girls at the Society Hill Playhouse. Cloud also appeared on television in the PBS movie A Woman of Spirit about early feminist Lucretia Mott and was chosen to sing on the talent segment of NBC's Fantasy Show.

In the late 1970s, Suzanne Cloud toured the East Coast with a Top 40 disco band while recording jingles for local banks, retail stores, Armstrong Floors, Comcast Cable and the tune "Come Fly With Me" for the production show at the Playboy Casino in Atlantic City.

By 1980, Cloud had switched from cover bands and jingles to jazz while indulging her love of songwriting. She quickly began working with some of Philadelphia's best jazz artists including: jazz fusion pioneer Eddie Green, famed trumpeter Johnny Coles, pianist Uri Caine, bassist Tyrone Brown, bassist Gerald Veasley, tenor man Larry McKenna, organist Shirley Scott, tenor sax Bootsie Barnes, pianist Sam Dockery, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Darryl Hall, guitarist Jef Lee Johnson and baritone sax player Denis DiBlasio.

Cloud's radio appearances include many interviews on WHYY-NPR The Bob Perkins Show, WRTI—Jazz 90 NPR Live at the Painted Bride, WRTI—Jazz 90 Live at the Aztec and Live from Fairmount Park, WDAS Jazz World, WDCU in Washington DC, The Jerry Hanlon Show and WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss Coane. Suzanne Cloud has played all the major hotels in Philadelphia and Atlantic City as well as the jazz clubs Not Quite Cricket (where she ran a famous jam session in the mid-1980s), Zanzibar Blue, The Upstairs, The Blue Note, Just Jazz, and the Borgia Cafe. She also was featured at many of the Mellon Jazz Festivals, the Berks County Jazz Festivals and Willingboro Jazz Festivals. Suzanne has also shared the stage with other female performers for a Jazz at the Mann appearance that featured Flora Purim, Odetta, Sonia Sanchez, Mavis Staples, Regina Carter and others.

Suzanne is currently executive director of Jazz Bridge, a nonprofit that aids local professional jazz and blues musicians in crisis. An organization she founded with singer Wendy Simon in 2004.

Awards

Martin Luther King Jr. Award 2013


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What the critics say about "With a Little Help":

"With A Little Help From My Friends is an amalgamation of Philly's finest jazz players performing jazz classics and originals, with a healthy dose of funk, dissonance, biting satire, and moral outrage...almost all of the lyrics are Cloud's own compositions. Cloud's voice ranges from melodic oration and soulful wails to sultry moans and mockingly saccharine excess, effects aided by her powerful projection, smooth glissandi, and effortless ornamentation. The musicians throughout are top notch...In addition to the careful instrumentations, Cloud incorporates samples from sources as diverse as ABC, NBC, and C-Span on 'Below the Beltway' to 'It Came from Outer Space' and 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' on 'Watch the Skies.' Despite the variety of performers and sound effects, With a Little Help From My Friends flows easily from track to track. The many highlights include the horn arrangements in the funky 'Talk Radio,' Gerald Veasley's bass playing on 'Watch the Skies,' and Jef Lee Johnson's always virtuosic, at times pianistic, and often Hendrix-esque guitar work on the Lennon-McCartney title track and Cloud's original, 'A Lullaby, Dear Monk.' And finally, Cloud's adept work in more straight-ahead jazz idioms on tunes like Cedar Walton's 'Bolivia,' while her own satirical lounge tune, 'Collagen Lips,' deserves mention. This is a unique album characterized by exceptional musicianship, a fondness for and mastery of contemporary and traditional jazz idioms, and honest expressions of serious concerns through humorous, yet sometimes painfully true, lyrics." - All About Jazz "This set is most intriguing not so much for the fine singing of Suzanne Cloud or her excellent backup musicians but for her lyrics... The words deal with the nonstop and often nonsensical chatter heard on 'Talk Radio,' crooked politicians, Kenny G, plastic surgery, a tribute to Thelonious Monk, and hopes for tomorrow. This is folksinging and social commentary of the highest order, but in a jazz context. And although it was recorded in 1995, the issues are still quite relevant. Recommended." - Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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Primary Instrument

Producer

Location

Philadelphia

Willing to teach

Advanced only

Credentials/Background

Rowan University - American Studies and U.S. History. Thomas Edison State College - History Named Commonwealth Speaker by the PA Humanities Council 2012 - "Commonwealth Cool: Exploring Pennsylvania's Jazz History" Named a Creative Connector by the Philadelphia Leadership Council

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

With a Little Help...

Dreambox Media
2014

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Looking Back

Dreambox Media
2000

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I Like It!

Dreambox Media
1986

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Below the Beltway

From: With A Little Help From My...
By Suzanne Cloud

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