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Beverly Church Hogan Offers a Sweet Invitation

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    Posted: 18 Jun 2022 at 5:19pm

On SWEET INVITATION, vocalist BEVERLEY CHURCH HOGAN once again brings her smoky, affecting voice to a selection of romantic songs from the Great American Songbook. The album follows her 2019 release Can’t Get Out of This Mood. Making a Scene Magazine said of the album, “This is sophisticated, elegant music best appreciated free of distraction. You’ll want to listen repeatedly to appreciate the many nuances.” Although this is only Church Hogan’s second recording, the 86 year old chanteuse packs a lifetime of experience in her interpretations.
The Montreal native grew up listening to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Joe Williams. She began singing as a pre-teen and won an amateur show at the age of 12, which got her a weekly gig singing on the radio. By her late teens, Church Hogan was doing club dates and singing in U.S.O. type military shows. She relocated to Los Angeles at the age of 21 and was offered a recording contract with Capitol Records soon after she arrived. However, Church Hogan was married by then with a one-year old baby, and since the contract required her to tour for 58 weeks, she turned it down to focus instead on being a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman. She never regretted that decision.
She remained an avid jazz fan over the years but never told her many friends about the road she did not take. Then, in 2002, nearly 45 years after putting aside her music aspirations, she was invited to sing at Catalina Jazz Club, one of the premier jazz venues in Southern California. The house was packed with her friends who came to support her. She sang beautifully, the night was a big success, and she has since performed there yearly. Her show has become an annual event, selling out for 20 years straight.
JOHN PROULX, a popular singer, pianist, recording artist, and Grammy-winning composer, has been Church Hogan’s accompanist for a dozen years. The two have become friends as well as colleagues as Proulx became an important part of Church Hogan’s musical journey. “John’s dedication and support has been very important to me,” says Church Hogan. “He’s so familiar with my sound and phrasing, that I just have to say three words, and he knows exactly what I want and what I need.” Proulx played on, arranged, and produced Can’t Get Out of this Mood, and he reprises his role on SWEET INVITATION.
Also joining Church Hogan are some of the top players in the Los Angeles area, including multi-instrumentalist BOB SHEPPARD, who has performed with A-list jazz giants like Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Michael and Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, and Herbie Hancock, among many others; jazz guitarist and Emmy-nominated composer GRANT GEISSMAN, who has recorded with Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach,
 Elvis Costello, Chuck Mangione (playing the now-legendary guitar solo on Chuck’s 1978 hit “Feels So Good”), Brian Wilson, Paula Abdul, and Ringo Starr, among others,; bass player LYMAN MEDEIROS, who has been performing with the popular Concord recording artist Steve Tyrell for many years and leads his own popular duo called Black Market Reverie; drummer CLAYTON CAMERON, who has toured with many pop and jazz artists and has toured with Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, George Shearing, Joe Pass, Billie Joel, Sting, and Mariah Carey; also on drums DEAN KOBA, who performs regularly with many groups led by jazz luminaries; and percussionist KEVIN WINARD, who accompanied many top music acts including The Captain & Tennille for over ten years, pop icon Paul Anka, Vic Damone, Jack Jones. Brazilian singer/guitarist Kleber Jorge, and many others.
SWEET INVITATION was produced by singer and lyricist MARK WINKLER, whose extensive recordings always receive outstanding reviews, while over 250 of his songs have been recorded and/or sung by top artists including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Liza Minnelli, and many others. This is the first time Church Hogan has worked with Winkler. She says, “Mark and I live close to each other, and we frequently take long walks and talk about music. He fascinates me. I can feel his energy, and I trust his musical instincts.”
Church Hogan is a storyteller, and she chose the songs on this album because of imagery they invoke. Her forte is romantic ballads, which she approaches with elegance and sophistication. Proulx’s arrangements never overshadow her vocals, rather they set the stage for her sensitive interpretations.
Church Hogan does a fun, flirty take on “Don’Cha Go Way Mad” and swings gently on “Falling in Love with Love.” She loves rainy days, even though they are becoming increasingly rare in Southern California, so she had to sing “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Her dear friend, Leonard Grainger, suggested she sing “I Got Lost in His Arms.” Sadly, Leonard passed away, so Church Hogan dedicated this song to him. Church Hogan lends a mysterious quality to “Invitation.” She was inspired to sing “I’m Just Fooling Myself” after hearing Shirley Horn’s version. “What a Way to Go” is often done as a ballad, but Church Hogan heard it differently and sings it as a swing tune. “When October Goes,” with lyrics like “I should be over it now, I know / It doesn't matter much how old I grow / I hate to see October go” has special resonance for her. Although Cy Coleman wrote “Why Try to Change Me Now” for Frank Sinatra, Church Hogan saw a video of Coleman singing it and fell in love with the tune.
At 86 years old, Beverley Church Hogan has the wisdom and maturity to imbue a romantic ballad with depth and gravitas without flash or an excess of melisma. Her interpretations of the lyrics come straight from heart. She is the kind of singer that makes you feel she has lived the stories she sings about. “It doesn’t matter how old you are,” says Church Hogan. “This is the only life we’re granted, and you have to take chances and follow your dreams no matter your age.”
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SWEET INVITATION was released on June 10, 2022 on Café Pacific Records and is available everywhere.
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