Wednesday, July 31, 2013

USA, Chicago: Lucy Smith Sings! Wednesday, August 7, 8:00 pm @ Katerina's

Lucy Smith Sings!
Wednesday, August 7, 8:00 pm
@ Katerina's
1920 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 348-7592
$10 cover
Lucy, vocals; Marcus Evans, drums;
Marcin Fahmy, piano; Junius Paul, bass

New Release
Lucy Smith
"Autumn in Augusta:
Songs My Mama Would Like
(LMS 1263)
Street Date September 10, 2013

Autumn in Augusta is a sly smile, a deep chuckle and a fierce belief that “everything is going to be alright.” Autumn in Augusta is a tribute project for and about my mother and her music. It is music I grew up listening to and rebelling against. Now I find my mother and her music in just about everything I do. It turns out she had pretty awesome taste! My mom, Julia Ann Smith, was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia and died in Chicago almost twenty years ago. She introduced me to Josh White, Nina Simone, Mariam Makeba and Trini Lopez, just to name a few. I am forever grateful. 

Autumn in Augusta: Songs My Mama Would Like 
1. Joyful, Joyful We Adore You 2:36 
2. Wayfaring Stranger 4:12 
3. How Can I Keep from Singing? 3:14 
4. House of the Rising Sun 5:48 
5. How Long, How Long Blues 2:52 
Total Running Time: 18:42 

All arrangements by Lucy Smith (BMI) 
Recorded, mixed and engineered by Anthony Gravino at The Drake, Chicago, IL 
Mastered by Jonathan Pines and Anthony Gravino at Private Studios, Champaign, IL 
CD Design/Layout by Nicold Pittman 

I grew up in Chicago and listened to all kinds of music. Our living room had a wall covered, floor to ceiling, with mirrored tiles that reflected what was happening outside on Racine Avenue. My mom’s console stereo (encased speakers, turntable AND an AM/FM radio) sat in the corner of the room. A stack of LP’s was always ready to go. I was in my own kinda heaven. I spent hours listening to and singing along with Josh White, Nina Simone, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Trini Lopez, Mariam Makeba, Eric Carmen, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and (yes) Barry Manilow. 
Now I make my own music—composing, arranging and performing. I am earnestly committed and pay homage to music that constantly feeds and informs jazz. Roots music – music born in America—blues, gospel, folk and ultimately jazz. We speak and live in blues and folk -- articulating struggle in regional languages and dialects. Both of these music forms often provide audacious and timely comic relief while gospel and jazz are outlets for release and infinite expression. My mother schooled me by playing Josh White’s John Henry over and over again and Nina Simone’s tribute to Martin Luther King. They informed me musically and politically. When I select music for this project, Autumn in Augusta, the requirements are clear. 

Anecdotal and Track Information 
1. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You 
To me Joyful, Joyful is an international folk song. Beethoven’s music and Van Dyke’s text have inspired arrangements that cross a chasm of genres - cherubic boys’ choirs that bring tears to my eyes to the gospel rock of the film Sister Act. This arrangement, a laid back rumba to swing, is “influenced” by Oscar Peterson’s version of My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Night Train). Marcin’s inside the piano action makes the arrangement pop. 

2. Wayfaring Stranger 
I’ve listened to many versions of this Appalachian tune. Even though Wayfaring Stranger references death and is presented at ballad pace, it is a jubilee and it grooves! I believe music has always helped people deal with difficult times and for me this tune does just that. 

3. How Can I Keep from Singing? 
So this should be my motto, right? “It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?” I can’t. 

4. House of the Rising Sun 
I remember hearing this song when I was a kid and not really “getting it.” My mom often played Nina Simone’s organ-grooving version. I understand it now. House of the Rising Sun is all about the lyrics—it’s a compelling story—in fact a story within a story which is open to much interpretation (if you get what I mean.) 

5. How Long, How Long Blues 
Leroy Carr’s blues standard was a musical staple in my house. I was most familiar with Lead Belly’s version that was full of hollers and nasally groans. Marcin and I took our time with it and found a great space 

LUCY SMITH: Vocals, Arranger
Lucy Smith was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. As leader/arranger for the Lucy Smith Quartet/Quintet and as singer/songwriter for the jazz-infused Passing for Normal/Swag, Lucy has led a myriad of musical combinations exploring the worlds of traditional jazz, blues, gospel and other popular music. Inspired to make her passion her life, Lucy completed vocal performance and jazz studies under the tutelage of pianist and jazz vocalist Patricia Barber, and trumpeter Orbert Davis. She’s currently the music director for Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian’s “Jazz at Four” service where she creates a new jazz infused paradigm for worship while rearranging centuries old hymns and keeping alive the legacy of sacred jazz music. Her other music director work includes projects at the Park West Theatre, Goodman Theatre and at Steppenwolf Theatre where she shared the stage with blues legend Koko Taylor and others. Lucy has composed and performed music for the feature film Hannah Free and the documentary Woke Up Black. She makes music with many musicians who have Chicago roots, including Ernest Dawkins, Joshua Ramos and Greg Ward. Lucy was lead vocalist for the Center for Black Music Research's Stop-Time Ensemble and the Concord Orchestra.

Michael Caskey (aka Bunny Patootie) hails from rural Southwestern Michigan. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Western Michigan University's school of music in 1999, Michael has performed with artists as diverse as Chuck Mangione, Koko Taylor, Toni Tennille, Danilo Perez, Marvin Hamlisch, The Heritage Blues Orchestra and John Sinclair. Currently, Michael is a member of Eastern Blok, a pan-cultural ensemble that performs and presents master classes throughout the United States (including Princeton, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Michigan among others). He plays with numerous Chicago artists including (but not limited to) Grazyna Auguscik, Hood Smoke, Leslie Hunt, and The Claudettes. A DownBeat jazz magazine award winner and five-time Detroit Music Award recipient, Michael has performed for audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Poland, France, Germany, Denmark, and Belgium. At Columbia College in Chicago, Michael coordinates the dance department's accompanist program and teaches Music and Rhythm in Dance. He has also collaborated with Chicago dance companies, composing and producing original sound scores for Hedwig Dances, Lucky Plush Productions, Zephyr Dance, Same Planet Different World, Pete Carpenter and members of Mad Shak.

MARCIN FAHMY: Piano and Keyboards Originally from Krakow, Poland, Marcin Fahmy is a graduate of Karlowicz Music School and DePaul University. While still in high school, Marcin was one of only two pianists in the country chosen to play in the Grammy All-American Jazz Ensembles, joining an elite group of musicians in a series of concerts and recordings in New York City. This event gave him the opportunity to work with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis and Chick Corea. He was also invited to perform at the 1997 Grammy Awards and many of its accompanying events. Marcin has shared the stage with, Gary Peacock, Peter Erskine, Bill Evans, Dick Oatts, Nicholas Payton, Koko Taylor and Kenny Werner. He is currently one of the most sought after pianists performing in Chicago.

Junius Paul, born and raised in the Chicago area and a graduate of St. Xavier University in Chicago, is known internationally for his passion and skill as a performer, composer, sideman and bandleader. Junius is well-established in many musical genres, ranging from jazz to hip-hop, house music, funk, classical and gospel, and has shared the stage with such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell, Ernest Dawkins, Donald Harrison, Kahil El’Zabar, Hamiett Bluiett, Nona Hendryx, Corey Wilkes, KRS-One, Dee Alexander, Marcus Strickland and Gary Bartz to name a few. In addition to his many local and national television appearances, he has appeared on numerous audio and DVD recordings for many artists as well. Some of Junius' recent performances include the Umbria Winter & Summer Jazz Festivals (Umbria, Italy), Kuumba Festival (Toronto, Canada), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), the Sons d’hiver Festival (Paris, France) and the Made in Chicago Series (Poznan, Poland). Junius also serves as an adjunct music professor at Trinity Christian College.

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