Lady in Blue
By Diego Oquendo S. (Host of 'Encuentro' on Ecuador's Radio Visión) THE BLUE LADY OF JAZZ. A singer in search of a song. A song that finds a voice in the terrain of the senses, of pleasures, of sounds that caress the skin. There we find Lisa, seeking, finding and seeking yet again. She is like a little girl who submerges herself in the music, finds it's fruits and emerges to show us the colors that she caught in her hands. She releases them, breathes, and goes under yet again. It is that simple. As if it were so easy. She sings; we listen. She hums over the swell of her band; we sail over a sea of emotions. What came first in Lisa, the voice or the person? All at the same time. With Lisa, it is impossible to find the boundaries of what nature gave her and what she has achieved with disciplined work. Lisa, a voice with a personality of it's own, singing stories that echo in the heart. The feeling cannot be described with mere words because it vibrates in the melody that travels through the night. A warm night, a blue lady, a passion for music. The more we search the outskirts of loneliness, the more we will appreciate the soft caresses of each of the songs of "Lady In Blue." Lisa's voice tastes like forbidden fruit: if you haven't heard it, no one can describe it's taste to you. Only you can experience the emotion of hearing her singing, whispering poems in your ear. Nothing in Lisa is improvised, but everything flows with the incomparable delicateness of water. How many jazz singers, well...many, and so what?! Lisa shows us an unknown path on the jazz planet. Brains, heart, presence: three waterfalls that bathe us in sound. It is better not to ask how she sounds, I promise. Listening to her is the only option. After the first time, your heart will open itself to a passionate dependence. At the audience's request Enter another world. When was the last time you sat down to listen, really listen to and enjoy, an album? Ladytimbres In Blue is an album that invites you to let yourself be seduced, to distance yourself from the mundane and enter the world that Lisa Kohn has created for us. It is an album worth paying attention to. The best of vocal jazz. The melodies bring to mind the most famous jazz singers of all times, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, who delighted us with many of these same songs, which came to form a part of the universal music vocabulary. The arrangements combine the best of classic jazz with modern harmonies and a strong Latin rhythmic influence: sufficiently rigorous for the true jazz lover but accessible enough for those who are just beginning their journey within this fascinating genre. A lasting gift. In this disposable world, what a pleasure to receive a gift that does not wear out, that only improves with time. It's lyrics, deep and eternal, explore the most intimate part of human relations: love and abandon, treachery and seduction, melancholy and happiness. A caress for the soul. Music that really makes us feel, that penetrates the emotional concrete barriers. Lisa Kohn shares her innate warmth, whispering in our ear, crying our sorrows or transmitting a mischievous joy that awakens our inner child or lover. Information about the singer Over the last eight years, Lisa Kohn, a native New Yorker, has offered public concerts in Quito, Ecuador, the city where she has resided since 1993. "Lady In Blue" is her debut album, based on the songs that the singer presented in a series of successful concerts of the same name offered in Quito in 2005. The album is the singer's response to her audience in her adopted hometown, which reacted very enthusiastically to the concert repertoire and wanted to have a way to permanently enjoy hearing Lisa's interpretations of these great songs. Biography Lisa Kohn, a singer born and raised in New York City, grew up listening to the melodies and rhythms of the songs that form the backbone of American popular music of the twentieth century. Trips to Broadway, classic Hollywood films, Ella Fitzgerald and big band records where swing was the norm...these influences plus other popular music ranging from Elvis Presley to The Police formed her musical ear. The singer complemented her real-life musical experience with over eight years of formal studies in classical vocal technique with Juan Borja, Ecuador's premiere operatic tenor, as well as specific repertoire development classes with Dick Saltzman, an old-time jazz vibraphonist who once played with many jazz greats including Billie Holiday and Dave Brubeck. Lisa has also pursued additional musical studies in piano, harmony, ear training, and minor percussion instruments offered by well-regarded Ecuadorian and American teachers. She is currently taking additional music courses at the Berklee School of Music-sanctioned music program of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. Lisa's style is modern, but offers strong references to the golden era of vocal jazz. She uses her three-octave range to achieve multiple vocal effects and tambers, thus communicating deep emotions and achieving a strong personal connection with her audiences. ...and the press comments ... El Comercio Newspaper Quito, Ecuador Sunday, February 13, 2004 Culture Section Two cold nights illuminated by a heartwarming "lady in blue" Quito CONCERT Lisa Kohn's voice spills over with the feeling of the blues. She climbed onto the stage to give a gift of music from three great decades of the genre. "The most important thing with the voice is the intent," said Lisa Kohn just a few hours before the first of her two concerts at El Pobre Diablo. With her impressive three-octave range, the New York-born singer managed to raise the temperature of the locale before descending, with the same vivid intensity, to the depths of a heartrendingly deep and thick sadness. And the blues continued without respite until they reached their climax with "Blues in the Night," in which Lisa Kohn went beyond singing to offer up her voice and her soul, transforming herself into that woman who-when she was young and still wore pigtails-was warned by her mother that men were bad, that they would sweet-talk her until they conquered her...but that in the end she would only find peace singing the blues. "I always try to become one with the song, the lyric, the melody, until I can feel what the composer was experiencing when he wrote it...at least that's what happens in vocal jazz, which is what I do," explains this singer, who has lived in Quito for the last seven years. Various tempos, styles and rhythms melded together on the two dates with "Lady in Blue," the suggestive name with which the singer baptized this show of last Thursday and Saturday in which she shared both the stage and "feeling" with notable musicians from the local jazz scene: Raimon Rovira on the piano, Cayo Iturralde on the upright bass, and Diego Miño on the drums. The more rhythmic and festive tone was set by the more modern songs, such as "Jody Grind" by Horace Silver ('Nica's Dream' and 'Song for my Father'), which swings a warning to the men that they should treat their ladies right, because otherwise, when they leave town, Mr. Jody will steal them. And the night's surprise came from a gift from Lisa Kohn herself: a song written by the singer in honor of her son in the key of 'A'-an unusual key for the blues-called 'Blues for Ariel.' Jazz for your soul From the Sunday Supplement of Diario Hoy, a national Ecuadorian newspaper. Sunday, March 27, 2005.) Happy: She laughs and jokes constantly. Authentic: "I am faithful to myself." Bold: She has worked in and done everything. Multifaceted: "A friend says that I have restless neurons." Sensitive: "When I sing, I want to penetrate your soul." Lisa Kohn saw her first light in Manhattan, New York: "I was born singing. I sang in all the school choirs, all types of music. My mother sang Broadway show tunes to me, took me to the theaters to see the shows and played her records all day long."... Influences and style Her most important influence is North American music and jazz in it's golden heyday. She grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Motown music, including Diana Ross and The Jackson Five, and other popular vocal music ranging from the Beach Boys to Billy Joel and Elton John. "Wynton Marsalis, of Jazz at Lincoln Center, explores the songs that our grandparents danced to, but in a modern context. This neoclassicism describes the path I cut in my style," says Lisa. "Diana Krall resurrects the classic values in a vocal sense, but in a very orthodox manner." Other singers who also explore traditional songs in a modern manner, and who inspire her enormously, are Dee Dee Bridgewater and Anne Hampton Callaway. Lisa identifies three main areas of her work: the first, as a jazz vocalist, is to dominate the instrument we have (the voice), which requires long and hard training; second, repertoire, learning what goes with one's voice and personality, developing a jazz "feel"; third, becoming a musician, because you can sing without knowing anything about notes or scales, but in order to improvise in jazz, you need to study the musical side, to know what to do with your voice, as if it were a trumpet. Lisa says that she listens to "a recording for hours, until she is able to feel the singer, the trumpet player or the pianist." "I try to feel whatever it is that has led the composer to write his or her song. When I sing, I can get into your head, but I try to get into your soul: that is the challenge."