Vocal Jazz • United States
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Everything Must Change, the newest recording from Susan and her longtime collaborators, Rich Eames and Jerry Kalaf, is a departure from their enthusiastically received Jazz Aviary concept recording (2007). Joined by the deeply simpatico Ryan McGillicuddy and Chuck Manning, the Susan Krebs Band made music together one recent summer: “We had some seriously good fun!” says Susan. “I chose tunes which I’d been living with for a while, musically mulling in my garden and on long walks - tunes which resonate with me in a very personal way, with the title tune, “Everything Must Change”, guiding the feel of the album and reflecting the tenor of the times we live in.” The collaborative nature of the project can be heard throughout the recording. “Mostly, it felt that the music just arrived, ya know?”, says Susan. There is an immediacy and an intimacy to this recording which reflect the spirited sessions read more...
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SUSAN KREBS Jazz Gardener album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Gardener
Vocal Jazz 1999
SUSAN KREBS What Am I Here For? album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
What Am I Here For?
Vocal Jazz 2002
SUSAN KREBS Jazz Aviary album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Aviary
Vocal Jazz 2007
SUSAN KREBS Everything Must Change album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Everything Must Change
Vocal Jazz 2012
SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts album cover 3.76 | 3 ratings
Simple Gifts
Vocal Jazz 2015
SUSAN KREBS Spring: Light out of Darkness album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Spring: Light out of Darkness
Vocal Jazz 2018

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SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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Susan Krebs and her Chamber Band definitely get off of the beaten path on their new release, “Simple Gifts”. There is nothing particularly startling or “avant-garde” going on here, but Krebs and her band sound like no one else in today’s jazz world. Krebs is a jazz vocalist with a lengthy background on both of the US coasts, and on this disc she leads a rather unusual quartet made up of percussion, piano, woodwinds and violin. The album opens with a couple jazz standards before veering into something more Latin on “So Many Stars”. The group goes on to show they are no light weights when they tackle the difficult and abstract changes to Steve Swallow’s “Falling Garce”. The final three tracks take on a Middle-Eastern feel as Scott Breadman’s percussion accompaniment takes on a stronger role. The eclectic choice of tunes almost suggests a cabaret type effect, but Krebs and her group have none of that corny schtick associated with cabaret, instead the vibe here is contemporary jazz drawing from many influences from the past.

The musicians on here are outstanding and are very careful as they weave their individual instrumental voices around Krebs vocals. The band is referred to as ‘chamber jazz’, as this group tends to perform in intimate salon settings, often at Kreb’s home, but this is a much warmer sound than is usually associated with contemporary chamber jazz groups of the North European slant. There is no artificial ‘spacious’ reverb on here, instead every instrument is recorded au naturale with a bright clear precision, it really sounds like you are in the room with Krebs and her band. Paul Cartwright's violin, in particular, gives the band an earthy sound that cuts across the decades. Susan is an excellent singer, blessed with a strong voice that understands jazz nuance, but she sometimes resorts to a sort of “stage whisper” type delivery. Possibly this is due to the intimate setting of her concerts, but she sounds best when she just belts it out, she has the pipes, as they say.

SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Using a different approach for her latest release “Simple Gifts’, Susan Krebs decided to record in a more intimate fashion by using Chamber Music as the predominate support backing her vocals. Susan has been playing at times in between gigs, music salons which are small gatherings that are usually held over at Susan’s place requiring the band to be more compact due to available space and out of this concept Susan’s latest album was created. Susan Krebs started her career over in New York working in musicals, plays and television commercials and since moving west to L.A. has continued with many appearances in a variety of acting formats including film and television. In between all this she has also recorded four previous albums starting back in 1999 with most times using what could be best described as a standard Jazz band with piano, bass and drums being the backbone excepting “Jazz Aviary” where a string quartet was used in addition with the band.

This time around the bass and drum kit have been dropped with the highly talented multi instrumentalist Paul Cartwright adding violin and viola, who has appeared in numerous styles of music including Soundtracks, Rock and Pop with Jazz being a favourite. Rich Eames another from L.A. and Co- Producer is on piano and has appeared with Susan on her three previous releases and like Paul before worked in a myriad of styles and bands including session work. Doing percussion is Scott Breadman who has appeared on all of Susan’s albums with the addition of Rob Lockhart on Woodwinds being primarily sax and flute, who has quite an impressive collaboration list including Tom Harrell Big Band, Kurt Elling and the Woody Herman Orchestra and as with all the previous band members, again it is the session work providing the bread and butter.

With the first few words sung acapella from Susan, the album opens with a Billie Holiday song, “Let’s Call a Heart A Heart” which quickly develops into swing with the band gradually coming in throughout the first verse with some lovely input and quick little solos with Paul’s violin, Rich’s piano and Rob’s sax in that order and Susan’s great voice to finish up the last verse. The Chamber is exactly where the following ballad “Looking Back” seems to be originating from, with some stunning violin input from Paul for Susan’s phrasing which at times generates a beautiful traditional folk feel and yes something a little different giving the album its own identity.”So Many Stars” with its mid tempo timing brings more a great summers day feel with Rob’s dreamy sax and Scott’s percussion interspersed with Rich ‘s piano, it was not surprising to see it was a Sergio Mendes composition. “Once Upon A Summertime” has Susan providing some beautiful vocals primarily with Paul’s violin at the fore front within the ballad and although “Falling Grace” which follows is another ballad both are done with quite a different feel with Paul’s violin providing a beautiful distinct classical touch on the first and Rob’s use of baritone and soprano sax on the second having a more introspective Jazz approach which keeps the variety coming along in a superb manner. “Throw It All Away” has Scott’s tambourine providing the base for Susan’s vocals and Paul’s violin with this delightful take of an Abbey Lincoln composition. “For All We Know” is Susan’s dedication to her brother who she lost, and an old Shaker tune “Simple Gifts’ being the album’s title brings the show to a close with more wonderful input from Susan and the band. Who does their solo’s better, I should let you decide for this delightful number.

So nice to hear Jazz performed in a slightly different manner. The sessions must be fabulous over at Susan’s Salon with great vocals and musicians included. A big thumbs up to Paul Cartwright with his strings addition for playing with quite a traditional approach, especially in the album’s title, “Simple Gifts”. Wonderful new release from Susan Krebs and highly recommended.

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