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Susan Krebs "Daybreak"

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    Posted: 27 Sep 2021 at 8:35pm
Released September 3, 2021

Vocalist SUSAN KREBS usually collaborates and records with a small number of close musical compatriots in intimate settings. On her previous album, Trio Work (2018), she recorded with just a guitarist and bassist, and on the two albums before that, Spring (2017) and Simple Gifts (2015), she recorded with her small jazz chamber band music that grew from salons she hosted at her home. But with the exigencies created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Krebs was compelled to apply a completely different recording method for DAYBREAK, her 8th CD.
Rather than sitting in a circle with three or four musicians and allowing arrangements to evolve collaboratively, as she has done for her other recordings and live shows, DAYBREAK was mostly created remotely, with each musician working from their home studio, hence the band name, MIXED REMOTIONS.
The impetus for this album grew out of the pandemic. Living alone and cut off from friends, she was longing for connection. She especially missed being in the creative zone and working with her pals. She felt a deep need to make music. Creating a recording project remotely was a slow process. She began working on this album in September 2020 and completed it in June of 2021. Although the album was created mostly through the wonders of remote recording, it has a remarkable sense of immediacy and intimacy.
It all began when Krebs’ friend, DOUG WALTER, called her to see how she was doing. She was recovering from medical treatments not related to COVID-19, and to help in her healing, he offered to arrange any tune of her choosing. Walter is a woodwinds player and pianist who has performed and/or recorded with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Phil Woods, Chuck Mangione, and Gerry Mulligan. A music director and arranger of Broadway shows, he also orchestrates and composes for television, videos, and theatrical films. Krebs chose Blossom Dearie’s “Inside a Silent Tear.” She sang the tune for Walter over the phone to give him the feel of her concept, and he delivered a complete arrangement just a few days later.
Feeling inspired by Walter’s lush writing, returning her to her musical life, Krebs booked a band of dear pals to make a complete album. She first brought on board RICH EAMES, the versatile pianist, composer, arranger, and Krebs’ closest musical collaborator. He has been on most of Krebs’ albums. Also joining the band are woodwinds player ROB LOCKART, a busy sideman who has played with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Tom Harrell Big Band, Doc Severinsen Big Band, and Kurt Elling, among others; master percussionist SCOTT BREADMAN has performed with such musicians as José Feliciano, Lindsey Buckingham, and The Rippingtons; drummer and vibes player JERRY KALAF has played with Eddie Harris, Gary Burton, and Gary Foster, to name a few, and his performances and compositions can be heard on literally hundreds of soundtracks; guitarist and educator RINER SCIVALLY has performed with Alan Broadbent, Larance Marable, Stacey Rowles, and Putter Smith; and bassist DOMENIC GENOVA is one of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles, playing in many musical genres. DOUG WALTER makes his first appearance on one of Krebs’ recording projects, playing multiple woodwinds on his two arrangements.
Unlike her other recordings, where each musician contributed to the arrangement of every song, Krebs assigned the arranging duties to three of the musicians: Walter, Eames, and Kalaf. Krebs says, “Making this album was so different for me than anything I’ve done before. Not only was I unaccustomed to working mostly remotely, but it clearly wasn’t practical for the band to work together on each arrangement. So, I thought it would be interesting to commission arrangements from three of my closest collaborators, revealing their different voices and musical sensibilities. I chose the songs for this album from a folder of sheet music collected over the years -- songs which especially resonated with me. It was fun assigning those songs to the arranger I thought would capture it best. I’ve worked for so long with these wonderful artists that they understand my approach and aesthetic intuitively.”
DAYBREAK is Krebs’ most straight-ahead project to date. She opens the album with “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” about which Krebs says, “This seemed like a good opener, because it reflects exactly how I felt.” Arranged by Kalaf, the song is a swinger featuring solos by Eames and Lockart. The title tune, “Daybreak,” which was also arranged by Kalaf, is a rarely performed song originally recorded in 1942 by Frank Sinatra with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Written in 1926 by Ferde Grofé from his Mississippi Suite, with lyrics written subsequently by Harold Adamson, Kalaf’s resonant vibes move the piece into the 21st century.
Krebs heard “How Little We Know,” the Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer chestnut, as a flirtatious waltz. The song features a lush, romantic arrangement by Walter with a swinging guitar solo by Scivally. With its many layers of sound, Walter’s arrangement of Blossom Dearie’s “Inside a Silent Tear” is sumptuous and engaging. Walter plays all the woodwinds on this track, while Krebs mines the song for its poignant essence.
“Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” Sandy Denny’s 1960s pop tune about the fleeting nature of life and the wonder of time itself is treated to Eames’ open and fluid arrangement which perfectly captures the song’s bittersweet lyrics. Dave Frishberg’s “Listen Here” appealed to Krebs because of its instructive message about listening to the wisdom of one’s inner voice. Arranged by Eames, Krebs dedicates the song to NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, her teacher, friend, and inspiration.
The last song on the album is “Stardust,” by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish. Krebs says, “I was looking for a closing track while going through Hoagy’s book of tunes when I mentioned to Jerry Kalaf that I had a renewed appreciation of the song, and I understood why so many singers have recorded it. We immediately shared ideas, and soon he had created an arrangement with heavenly vibes and a groove. What a pleasure to sing this American classic!”
Krebs’ intriguing, expressive voice, the gorgeous arrangements, and superb musicianship are the magic sauce that create the warmth and affective qualities of DAYBREAKFocusing on this project gave Krebs relief from her isolation and returned her to a sense of well-being. Making music together was a balm for everyone involved.

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DAYBREAK was released on September 3, 2021 and is available at www.susankrebsmusic.com and everywhere.
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