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Take Five With Connie Lansberg

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Connie Lansberg:

Connie Lansberg is a singer/songwriter who performs original folk/pop-jazz and smooth jazz. She is a vocal interpreter of the wonderful stories told by the American Songbook and beyond. She uses her voice in such a way as to reveal and tease out even the most subtle of nuances that define these beautiful songs. Reminiscent of Blossom Dearie and June Christy, but with the modern edge of Everything But the Girl and Sting, Connie Lansberg creates light and shade and sings with an unselfconscious joy that is truly infectious and enfolds the listener within the melody so that each performance is a shared experience that leaves no one out.

Instrument(s):

Vocal/songwriting.

Teachers and/or influences?

Danny Stone was the first singing teacher who told me I should sing jazz. I fell in love with the songs, then Sarah Vaughan, Blossom Dearie, Anita O'Day, June Christy and only then Ella Fitzgerald. Then Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae... the list goes on.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I played the guitar in church when I was young and also the flute but I didn't want to be a musician until I discovered songwriting. I don't play anything well enough to write on it so my songs start with the story then the music compliments the tone of the story.

Your sound and approach to music:

The pop thing was just not working. I started gigging live with jazz and worked my up to playing with great Melbourne musicians then just threw the originals at them. That's how I discovered my sound. I love Hammond and flute and trumpet the most.

Your teaching approach:

I don't teach.

Your dream band:

I'm actually trying to put a group of female jazz musicians together to compliment my all girl Big Band Connie Lansberg & the Sisters of Sass, Australia's only all female professional Big Band.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

Well, we here in Melbourne what I like to call the jazz police. I booked a Hammond player who refused to play a single recognizable chord until I had to walk off and then leave them to it! needless to say I never booked him again and never will.

Favorite venue:

I love Manchester Lane in Melbourne. Classy and the sound is fantastic. I like the Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie because it took me four years to get a residency there.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

June Christy singing "Remind Me." The orchestration is fantastic.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Was a Pocket Songs karaoke CD of Sarah Vaughan big band arrangements. I learned how to sing with a big band from that and now I have my own real one!

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Honesty and my unique vibration.

Did you know...

I'm a great hostess but my house just isn't big enough for parties.

CDs you are listening to now:

Joni Mitchell's Shadow & Light;

all June Christy.

Desert Island picks:

Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits;

Simon & Garfunkle's Greatest Hits;

June Christy's Night People.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

We need to figure out how to get young ones out to the gigs.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Making it look cool to the next generation. Teaching it in schools in order to appreciate what's going on.

What is in the near future?

I'm doing several new albums, one will be a tribute to June Christy and an original album.

By Day:

I'm writing a film and marketing my first album High Expectations.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Actor/writer.

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