Sarah Silverman: Sarah Silverman: Sarah

Geannine Reid By

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Vocalist and pianist Sarah Silverman was born into music, Silverman grew up surrounded by music from her parents; her father toured as a drummer with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and her mother performed as a classical violinist in Toronto. Silverman's musical and creative DNA showed itself at a young age, with effortless talents in theatre, dance, and of course, music. Silverman attended the Glenn Gould School of Music on scholarship, and earned her Bachelor's Degree in classical piano performance with James Anagnoson. She spent six years in conservatory honing her skills on piano, and in 2004 Silverman relocated to New York to complete her Master's Degree at the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) with Daniel Epstein. While at MSM, Silverman began to widen her musical scope and gravitated towards jazz. Silverman explains, "I was using jazz as a way to relax and escape before piano performances. I found myself becoming envious of the spontaneous creation and communication my peers in the jazz program were experiencing on stage."

In 2010, Silverman made her Broadway debut as a pianist for the Tony Award winning show In The Heights. Silverman was also a pianist for Disney's Mary Poppins until its closing in March 2013. Silverman performs mainly as a jazz vocalist with her collaborator pianist Bruce Barth. Silverman recorded her debut album, Sarah with Bruce and it represents her continuous search for more freedom, flexibility, spontaneous creation and intimacy in music. Inspired and mentored by two great contemporary jazz performers, singer Luciana Souza and pianist Bruce Barth, Silverman has developed an exciting new approach to the vocal/piano duet. Drawn to intimate performances, Silverman's duo with Barth naturally developed into the recording of Sarah.

Sarah is a collection of eleven tracks that feature jazz standards, brazilian bossa novas, originals and a classical piano pieces set with original lyrics by Silverman. Luciana Souza has this to say about Silverman, "Sarah is a beautiful and curious singer and musician... I am very excited to see where she is going with her music and her abundant talent."

"Nature Boy" starts the CD with Barth establishing a percussive accompaniment for Silverman to improvise over. Silverman's voice is warm and focused as she builds her melodic line with Barth to the entrance of the well-known melody. Silverman's unique phrasing and the flowing nature of the rapport between the two really breaths fresh air into this ol' boy. Barth creates multiple layers that both support Silverman's lines as well as creates counter melodies. Silverman's ability to embellish the melody without destroying it is very enjoyable. The duet setting really allows the two to build and respond to each other in a way that is only possible in a well-played duet and it is the intimacy of this track that is so captivating. "Take Love Easy" is just that, an easy steady swing setting with Silverman's velvet voice takin' it easy with her melodic delivery. Barth's solo combines a stride styled left hand with a fluent right hand commentary. Silverman's placement of her rhythmic accents are full of confidence and are very enjoyable.

"Samba Em Preludio" finds Silverman singing a cappella; exhibiting great pitch and breath control, Silverman is eventually joined by the lush chords from Barth's piano. The two convey the storyline in a relaxed romantic feel. Barth's climbing solo is very well crafted and leads right into Silverman's warm long tones, building the story, climbing with control and confidence to a four bar repeated ending that logically and musically ends our journey. "Once I Loved" also is a wonderful bossa that finds the duo making a truly musical statement; pushing and pulling every ounce of emotion from each phrase.

The amalgamation of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "I Get Along Without You Very Well" is simply beautiful. Silverman's voice commands control as she conveys the vulnerability and fragility of the emotions behind the lyrics. Barth's accompaniment is full and breaths with Silverman to produce elegance and forward motion while providing support. "Love Me or Leave Me" is given a playful treatment by the dynamic duo, Silverman seems to sing with a slightly lighter vocal tonality for the first chorus. This allows her to really dig in for the following chorus and that she does; there are some excellent twist and turns to her phrasing with bluesy ornamentations to the melody. Barth's solo finds his left hand hard at work walking a bass line for the majority of the time with his right hand flowing between graceful single lines and accenting chords. Silverman's fine chorus really shows her command of pushing and pulling the phrase, very nicely. Edward Grieg's haunting "Arietta" melody is given heartfelt lyrics by Silverman and we get to hear the vocalist on the piano too, a very enjoyable ending to a unique duet outing by two highly creative and responsive musicians.

Track Listing

Nature Boy; Take Love Easy; I'm Glad There Is You; Samba Em Preludio; Two Sleepy People; Waiting On the Weather; Once I Loved; Medley: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; I Get Along Without You Very Well; Love Me or Leave Me; Arietta.


Sarah Silverman: voice, piano; Bruce Barth: piano.

Album information

Title: Sarah Silverman: Sarah | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


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