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From Japan to NYC, Vocalist Masumi Ormandy

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    Posted: 25 Sep 2023 at 10:16pm





Produced by Grammy Nominated vocalist, Roseanna Vitro

Releasing September 1, 2023 on Miles High Records


MASUMI ORMANDY - Beyond The Sea cover





After Japanese vocalist MASUMI ORMANDY released her debut album in 2016, Sunshine in Manhattan, a world of opportunities opened up for her. During the past seven years, she has released three CDs in Japan, performed recently with the “Father of Slovak Jazz,” Peter Lipa, in Slovakia, who invited her to participate in a concert tour to the Czech Republic, plus she has performed concerts in Japan, Italy, the USA and Vienna, where she was featured at the Viennese Ball in 2023. This was quite an accomplishment considering she is an astute businesswoman and educator who followed her dream to become a singer, making her debut album at the age of 77.


Ormandy’s adventurous heart, now 84 years young, yearned to return to where it all began in New York City to record a new album, BEYOND THE SEA, in June 2023. ROSEANNA VITRO produced once again along with master audio engineer, PAUL WICKLIFFE. Vitro is an esteemed performer, clinician, recording artist, and jazz vocal instructor, who has released fourteen critically acclaimed recordings. Her album The Music of Randy Newman earned a Grammy Nomination for "Best Vocal Jazz Album." Vitro and ALLEN FARNHAM, longtime collaborator and renowned New York pianist and arranger, worked for two months creating a travelogue interpreting music of America and back to Japan in this inspiring new recording.


Ormandy is surrounded by a stellar cast of New York’s finest musicians, including Allen Farnham on piano and synth, DEAN JOHNSON on bass, TIM HORNER on drums, star tenor saxophonist HOUSTON PERSON, trumpet great BRIA SKONBERG, master trombonist JOHN ALLRED, the formidable DANNY BACHER, who plays soprano sax and performed a vocal duet with Ormandy, guitar great CHIELI MINUCCI, who’s known for his group Special EFX, the swinging guitarist PAUL MEYERS, tenor saxophonist TIM RIES (Rolling Stones), ANDERS BOSTROM on flute, and MINO CINELU on percussion. Star violinist SARA CASWELL and cellist JODY REDHAGE FERBER are featured on the orchestral arrangements. Truly a dream team.


Ormandy’s jazz vocal career began when she came from Japan to New York to study with Vitro. Although Ormandy had music training at conservatories in Tokyo and San Francisco when she was young, she quit her studies when she met and fell in love with Ray, an American who was living in Tokyo and teaching at a university. Masumi and Ray overcame social taboos and married. Together they founded the Pacific Language School in Tokyo, which offers English language instruction for Japanese students of all ages. The school continues to be a major success and an important part of Ormandy’s life.


Throughout the years, though, music was never far from Ormandy’s mind. She began learning English when she was just ten years old and had immersed herself in American culture. She particularly loved American jazz—especially Ella Fitzgerald.


BEYOND THE SEA is an anthology of songs that frame Ormandy’s uplifting life view. She opens the album with "Beyond the Sea," the English-language version of the French song "La Mer” by Charles Trenet, popularized by Bobby Darin in 1959. While the French original was an ode to the sea, the English lyrics written by Jack Lawrence transformed it into a love song. “I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" is a jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. It features Bacher in a Louis Armstrong inspired vocal duet with Ormandy complete with a New Orleans jazz-style horn section.


“Smile” appeared in Charlie Chaplin’s film, “Modern Times.” Chaplin co-wrote the music with David Raskin, a fellow filmmaker. The lyrics were the brilliant creation of songwriters John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, and brings the promise, even when your heart is breaking, “You’ll see the sun come shining through, if you just smile.” Masumi was 6 years old when the nuclear bomb hit Hiroshima, 188 miles from her home in Kobe. She spent over a month in blackout conditions, living in fear of another bomb. For Masumi, sunshine has healing properties for the darkness humanity encounters.


“Like a River Flowing” is iconic in Japan, written by Akira Mitake with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto. These inspiring English lyrics were written by Steve Sacks, NYC saxophonist and member of Ormandy’s Tokyo quintet.


“Here’s to Life” by Artie Butler and Phyllis Molinary, was the signature song of the late, great Shirley Horn. With Ormandy’s 84-year-old journey, the story easily flows forth with conviction. “Sentimental Journey” — the classic World War II era anthem with music by Les Brown and lyrics by Bud Green —is reminiscent of the Andrew Sisters’ joyful swing era.


“I’m Through with Love” was written by Gus Kahn, Matty Malneck and Fud Livingston. It features Houston Person on tenor sax, with Ormandy’s poignant vocal delivery of love and longing. “Tea for Two,” originally from the show “No, No Nanette,” by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar, found new life with the Farnham/Vitro arrangement. Ormandy was inspired to include “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” by George C. Cory, Jr. and Douglass Cross, because of her years spent in San Francisco as a young adult.


“It’s Only a Paper Moon” was written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg and Billy Rose. “Ringo No Uta” (Apple Song) is a beloved Japanese song originally composed by Tadashi Manjyome, with lyrics by Hachiro Sato. English lyrics by NY pianist Jonathan Katz, Ormandy’s Tokyo bandleader.


Ormandy may have found her voice late in life, but her conviction and maturity make her music authentically compelling. With Roseanna Vitro at the helm and a band of A-list musicians, Ormandy’s artistry and commitment shine through.


# # #


BEYOND THE SEA releases September 1, 2023 on Miles High Records and will be available for streaming on all platforms; physical CDs available at Masumi-ormandy.com.









Edited by snobb - 25 Sep 2023 at 10:18pm
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