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CLIFF BEACH "YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY"

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    Posted: 09 Feb 2024 at 1:42pm
 

VOCALIST, PIANIST & COMPOSER CLIFF BEACH

BRINGS HIS UNIQUE BLEND OF JAZZ, FUNK & SOUL

TO THE ELLA FITZGERALD SONGBOOK

YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY

To Be Released March 15, 2024 on California Soul Music

 

 

CLIFF BEACH - You Showed Me The Way cover

 

 

The funky, soulful, swinging singer, pianist, and composer CLIFF BEACH sounds like he could be the love child of Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder. A prolific recording artist, he is now releasing his newest album, YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY, a collection of jazz tunes that show the breadth of Beach’s imagination and the many influences that have shaped his aesthetic.

 

A native of Washington, D.C., Beach grew up in church. He says, “Nearly all my relatives were ministers except for me and my mother. I learned vocal harmony in church, singing in 6-part harmony acapella groups and choirs. I also started studying piano when I was very young, and I loved singing and playing for my family at home.” Beach continued singing and playing piano throughout his school career and eventually went to Berklee College of Music, where he studied voice and graduated with a BM in Music Business/Management.

 

Beach launched his professional career in 2003 when he moved to Los Angeles. He started playing small gigs and as his popularity grew, he eventually performed with a full 7-piece band with background singers. He also knew how difficult it is to support his recording projects as a musician, so he went to Pepperdine University where he earned an MBA degree, specializing in marketing. He chronicles how he is able to work full time while also pursuing his recording projects in his book Side Hustle & Flow.

 

Beach has released one album a year for the last 10 years. His 2013 debut recording project, Who the Funk is Cliff Beach?, earned Beach several L.A. Music Awards nominations, including Record of the Year, Jazz Artist of the Year, and Urban Music Artist of the Year. Alpha Magazine has said, “Cliff Beach is a one of a kind musician, with powerful vocals and mean hands when playing the keyboard. The writing skills he has developed are top notch. What makes him even more unique is his soulful funky music style.”

 

He has expanded his musical activities from albums to radio and tv, licensing, publishing, and a record label. His popular podcast, Deeper Grooves, was streamed on station 88.5fm. With his 3+ octave range and unique blend of jazz, soul, traditional R&B, funk, and neo-soul, his music has found a wide audience, including over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify. Beach has also won numerous awards, including four Global Music Awards, two World songwriting awards, and The John Lennon songwriting contest Grand Prize.

 

Beach’s music reflects the many styles of music he has absorbed. He says, “It doesn’t matter whether you play jazz, soul, gospel, country, or pop, because all the different musical styles are really branches of the same tree that has its roots deeply embedded in American soil. When I’m composing or singing, I don’t think about a particular style, I just think about what I’m trying say and try to make it different and engaging.”

 

YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY is Beach’s first foray into a full album of jazz standards. Most of his earlier work featured his original music, but for this album, he contributed just one original song. Instead, he dedicated the album to Ella Fitzgerald and chose songs from her songbook, with each song coming from a different period of her career. He says about Ella, “I’ve been so inspired by her not only because she was an amazing improviser, but she also delved into different types of music later in her career. She did songs by the Beatles, Ray Charles, Jobim, and others.”

 

This is also the first album where he does not play piano, leaving the keyboards for his principal arranger, MUNENORI “Moon” KISHI, a young television and film composer originally from Japan. Beach wanted musicians who can navigate easily between jazz, funk, and gospel, and he depended on his old friend and musical cohort, EVAN MACKEY, to be his music director and lead trombonist. Mackey brought RUBÉN SALINAS (baritone sax), SAM WILLIAMS (tenor sax), LUIS CÁRDENA-CASILLAS (trumpet), SATOSHI KIRISAWA (drums), ANDY MORESI (guitar), LEAH CONCIALDI (baritone and alto saxes), and JOE FERRUZZO (trumpet).

 

Beach’s innovative approach to jazz standards is apparent right from the opening number, “That Old Black Magic.” The arrangement is swinging and funky, and Beach sings it with joyful brio. Beach also puts his own eclectic spin on other swinging chestnuts like “Round Midnight,” “Love You Madly,” “Alright, OK You Win,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “How High the Moon,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “It’s Alright with Me,” and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” His concepts never overwhelm songs with his modern approach, even on the ballads, “How Long Has This Been Going On,” “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” and “You Showed Me the Way.” He closes the album with his original composition “The Gift of the Blues,” a tune that sounds like it was written in an earlier era.

 

Cliff Beach has a commanding voice and sings with a great deal of heart. Although the songs on YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY have been performed countless times by artists over the years, Beach convincingly adds his own very contemporary, appealing and unique treatment to them that will surprise and delight aficionados of the Ella Fitzgerald songbook.

 

#  #  #

 

YOU SHOWED ME THE WAY will be released on March 15, 2024 and will be available on all streaming platforms. Physical CDs will be available at Cliffbeachmusic.bandcamp.com/album/you-showed-me-the-way.

 

Online:

Cliffbeachmusic.com

Facebook.com/cliffbeachmusic

@cliffbeachmusic (IG/X)

 



Edited by snobb - 09 Feb 2024 at 1:42pm
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