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New album from Beata Pater

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    Posted: 23 May 2019 at 7:48pm

BEATA PATER is a vocalist who is not afraid to draw outside the lines. A classically trained violinist, she approaches singing with the ear of an instrumentalist and the mindset of a jazz improviser. Her newest album is called TET. It's her ninth CD, which, like all her other releases, pushes the creative envelope.
On her last album, Fire Dance, Pater presented a program of songs without lyrics. She didn't scat, but rather used voice to tell stories wordlessly on songs written for her by pianist and composer Alex Danson. Her originality was awarded with 4 stars by DownBeat Magazine and was included in its "Best Albums of 2017."
On TET, Pater takes her artistry in a very different direction. She's backed by an 18-piece ensemble that includes a wind and brass double quartet, and a double string quartet, creating a full and rich big band sound. The rhythm section comprises just piano and bass, but no drums, which gives the music a loose, fluid feel.

Pater's musical vision is at least partly informed by her wanderings around the globe. She was born and raised in Poland, where she began playing the violin at the age of six. "My childhood was different than the other kids," says Pater. "When everyone else was playing outside, I was inside, practicing my music. I was totally obsessed with the violin."
Although she was a serious student of classical music, she always had the urge to explore other genres, and when she was 15 years old, to the consternation of her parents and teachers, she joined a funk/jazz/fusion band. The band was beginning to enjoy some success, playing some top clubs in Poland and making recordings, but Pater was always looking for something new just over the horizon. So she went to England to continue her violin studies, and another opportunity arose. Western music is very popular in Japan, and she got a job as a violin teacher at the Yamaha school.
The contract was supposed to last just six months, but Pater settled in to life in Tokyo and wound up staying ten years. It was a fruitful decade for her. She not only taught music, but she also became a studio singer for CBS Sony. Because of her vocal control and familiarity with a range of genres, CBS Sony used Pater's talents on commercials, television, movies, and as a backup singer for pop bands that the company was promoting.

At the time, quite a few American jazz musicians found work in Japan, and Pater began yet another career, playing American-style acoustic jazz with American and Japanese players. Over the years, her band had several opportunities to tour around the States, and as Pater became more immersed in the music, she felt it was time turn the page to a new chapter of her life. She moved to San Francisco in 1995, attracted to the city's open, freewheeling attitudes. In 2006 Beata moved to the deserts of Southern California where she has resided since. Pater recorded her first CD in Japan in 1993 while her other eight CDs were recorded in America.
TET comprises a selection of jazz standards and original tunes by contemporary composers. Her many years of studio work gave Pater a solid background in production, and she has produced or co-produced all of her projects. This continues with TET, with Pater producing all aspects. On the album, Beata was reunited with pianist HIROMU AOKI, one of Tokyo's top, first-call accompanists for singers. Pater and Aoki worked together extensively in Japan and have been close friends ever since. Together the two developed the core arrangements for this album, as they did in her 2014 album Golden Lady.
Pater is also accompanied by bassist DAN FIESZLI. A mainstay on the San Francisco Bay Area jazz scene, Fieszli was the also the mix engineer for TET, as he was on Fire Dance. Viola player PETER JANDULA-HUDSON is a longtime friend of Pater's from music school in Poland. Now living in Northern California, Jandula-Hudson brought in the rest of the string section, BRYNN ALBANESE and EMILY LANZONE on violin, and BARBARA SPENCER on cello. ALEX DANSON, the composer of Fire Dance, wrote the strings arrangements for Beata. The brass and wind section was arranged and led by AARON LINGTON. Consisting of some of the top jazz and classical players from Northern California, the musicians include STEFFEN KUEHN on trumpet & flugelhorn, JOHN GOVE on trombone, MEREDITH BROWN on French horn, and Lington on bass clarinet & alto flute.
Pater calls the CD TET because there are nine tunes on this recording and "tet" is the ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the symbol for number 9. Pater also explains in the liner notes "It is symbolic of creativity, a vessel which holds something within, a womb for creation. Goodness is hidden within it."

Pater puts her own spin on two iconic, albeit lesser done, jazz tunes, "Little Sunflower" by Freddie Hubbard and Al Jarreau, and "Crystal Silence" by Chick Corea and Neville Potter. She also re-interprets a couple of tunes from the Great American Songbook. She loves Anita O'Day's sassy attitude and was inspired to sing her own version of "Old Devil Moon." "Invitation" was used in the film "A Life of Her Own" in 1950 but became a jazz standard when it was used as the theme in the 1952 film Invitation. On Pater's version, the string arrangement gives the tune an almost classical feel.
Pater also includes four songs of more recent vintage. "I Feel You" was written by Bill Cantos, the prolific pianist and composer. Pater was attracted to the song because it reminded her of her time in England, where she was very lonely and felt like a stranger in a strange land. She also includes three originals by Alan "Chip" White, "The Countessa," "Ode to Max," and "Strays." White is a drummer, composer, and poet from New York City whom Beata played with in Japan and New York in the 90s. They have remained close ever since.

TET is a tour-de-force of modern singing and arranging. Pater is not afraid to take chances. Whether she's singing lyrics or using her voice as an instrument, the results are often surprising and always impressive.

TET will be available everywhere online on May 10, 2019.
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