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Nancy Erickson Lamont's "THROUGH THE PASSAGES"

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    Posted: 27 Apr 2024 at 1:24pm



Produced by Grammy-winner Johnaye Kendrick, Coming May 10, 2024

 NANCY ERICKSON LAMONT - Through the Passages cover

NANCY ERICKSON LAMONT has been a mainstay on the Seattle jazz scene for over three decades. A singer known for her impressive vocal range, lush alto, and distinctive approach to jazz standards, she is also a talented songwriter whose newest recording project, THROUGH THE PASSAGES, comprises a dozen original songs that Lamont either composed or collaborated on.


THROUGH THE PASSAGES is Lamont’s fourth studio album and follows Prelude (2011), While Strolling Through the Park (2016), and Here & Now (2018), about which Jazz Lives said, “With this CD, I think Nancy Erickson deserves our very close attention as a fully-formed artist, one of our best contemporary singers — full of feeling, wit, affection, reverence for tradition and a thoroughly winning originality.”


For THROUGH THE PASSAGES, Lamont surrounded herself with some of the top jazz talent in the Pacific Northwest. Leading the pack is JOHNAYE KENDRICK, a superb vocalist in her own right and a member of the Grammy-winning vocal group Säje. Kendrick produced the album and played viola, violin, harmonium, and sang backup vocals on a couple tracks. Also on the album are SHAWN SCHLOGEL (piano), CHRIS SYMER (bass), MICHAEL GLYNN (bass), STEFAN SCHATZ (drums), SEAN JONES (trumpet), BRENT JENSEN (alto sax), JEROME SMITH (trombone), DEREK SMITH (bass clarinet), and JEAN CHAUMONT (guitar). Also joining Lamont is special guest JOSH NELSON, the highly regarded, Los Angeles-based pianist, who plays piano, keyboard, or Hammond E on seven tracks.


Lamont grew up in Salem, OR, where she studied at Edmonds Community College under famed jazz vocal instructor Frank DeMiero. As part of the school’s vocal group, she had the opportunity to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. She began her career in the late 80’s, singing in a Seattle-based jazz band called After Hours. She recorded a Christmas album titled "Urban Christmas" in 1993 and sang backup with different R&B and rock bands, including Freddy Pink and Nearly Dan (a Steely Dan tribute band), as well as for beloved Seattle soul singer Bernadette Bascom.


Lamont stepped away from singing in 1994 to raise her family. She returned to singing after a 15-year hiatus with renewed dedication to her music and new perspectives about life that can only come with time and experience. She became a local celebrity in 2012 when she won the Seattle Kobe Female Jazz Vocalist Competition. Kobe, Japan and Seattle are sister cities, and every year since 2000, The Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association sponsors the Kobe Jazz Vocalist Queen Contest. The contest is held in Kobe’s Shinkaichi neighborhood (the birthplace of Japanese jazz) and in Seattle. The Japanese winner comes to Seattle to perform while the American winner gets to perform in Kobe’s Asahi Hall. Since winning the contest, Lamont has been performing at the top Seattle jazz clubs, like Jazz Alley, The Triple Door, and the now shuttered Tula’s.


The songs on THROUGH THE PASSAGES were inspired by Lamont’s life experiences and observations over the past 30 years. Each song is a vignette about motherhood, aging, divorce, finding new love, or the state of the world, written in a variety of styles and imbued with Lamont’s warm voice and heartfelt storytelling.


Lamont opens the album with “Tick Tock,” a song she wrote about the anxiety caused by the Covid lockdown. The opening staccato lines, about the world seeming to fall apart, create tension which is broken by Lamont’s plaintive plea to “chase away the hate if we come together.”


Lamont’s voice floats light as a feather on “Miles Between” as she describes the scenic beauty she sees on a road trip through the lush Washington state landscape. Lamont was saddened about a friend who passed away and wrote the lovely “Passages,” wherein each verse represents a season and the passing of time, ending with the cold, stillness of winter.


Lamont composed and wrote the lyrics to “Ghost,” about Lamont’s now-husband’s long-term relationship prior to their meeting. The song has a subtly noir and foreboding air. The song “Leo” was composed by her friend Darin Clendenin about a former girlfriend. But that’s not the way Lamont heard it. Clendenin was not crazy about the lyrics at first when he thought they were about a guy named Leo but loved it once she revealed the lyrics were about a golden retriever.


“Rainy Season Love Affair” is a fictional account about the love between two women. The music has a lighthearted feel that sounds like it came from a 1960s film with a hip jazz score. “G ‘n’ K” are the initials of her daughter, Kayla, and son-in-law, Greg, a bass player who used to play with Lamont. The lyrics are about their first meeting and falling in love. Lamont leads choirs at a school in the Seattle area, and the title “Did It Did or Did It Didn’t” comes from a phrase spoken by the school’s principal who seemed to have tripped over her own tongue.


“The Lighthouse” is a moody, mysterious tune inspired by the 2019 movie with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. The music and lyrics capture the stark, black and white film about nineteenth-century lighthouse keepers marooned at a remote New England outpost by a wild storm. “Haiku New Love” is based on poems that Lamont asked her new husband, Dan, to write for her. Lamont employs lyrics in a deconstructed haiku form, and the chorus heightens the effect with Japanese scales.


“Home” is an intimate ballad about the deep connection Lamont has with her new husband. Lamont closes the album with “Auf Weidersehen, Goodnight,” which she wrote about her mother, who recently passed away. The title of the song is a phrase Lamont and her mother said to each other when her mother tucked her in at night, and how, at the end, their roles were reversed.


The songs on THROUGH THE PASSAGES tell stories that are intimate and personal. If Lamont were not a musician, she would make a great short story writer who tells deep, rich tales with characters that are easy to relate to. With her sweet voice, clear diction, and superb intonation, THROUGH THE PASSAGES is a very satisfying journey through the twisty and poignant currents of life.

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THROUGH THE PASSAGES will be released on May 10, 2024 and will be available on all streaming platforms.




@Nancyericksonlamont (IG)

Edited by snobb - 27 Apr 2024 at 1:28pm
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