In a Word
'The idea for this project was how a single word holds the power to create a lasting resonance in the jazz repertoire, and it also creates the bread of life for a singer; the lyric. 'Many people have been asking, 'Why no drums?' In keeping with a certain quiet spirit of simplicity we were aiming for, originally it was going to be only Don and me, plus a few arrangements with Ralph. But of course in the end it would never have been right without Dennis. We spent quite a bit of time narrowing our selections; some of the 'obvious' options were already, in a word, overdone. There were some words I would have loved to pursue (we'll leave you guessing). People called us or e-mailed night and day with ideas. It was truly a collaborative effort, and a fun thing to think about and talk about. You won't believe how many one-word titles are out there! I really wanted to do 'Star Dust' but was ix-nayed because even though it appears in many, many places as a single word, the official version is two. So, that'll have to wait till next time...along with the drums!' Vocalist NICOLE PASTERNAK has been a mainstay in the Northeast for more than twenty years, carving her niche with jazz enthusiasts with a repertoire that embraces the powerful traditions of Swing songs, bebop, Brazilian, ballads and the big band music. A songwriter and lyricist, she is also known for her ability to improvise, a conversational tone in her lyric delivery, intonation, phrasing, rhythm and time - and for the musician-like ways she infuses her sound within an ensemble, be it big band or duo. 'Her stage presence is like chemistry, an almost uncanny ability to reach out and pull listeners into the music and make them want to stay there.' (Norwalk Hour). Sometimes compared to singers like Anita O'Day, Billie Holiday and Rosemary Clooney, she favors the Great American Songbook - often served up under the influence of Brazilian and Latin rhythms, punctuated by the inclusion of her original songs. Through her long-time boyfriend and partner, the masterful tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama, she has pursued the bebop and hard-bop lexicon as well, and their appearances together are effectively spiced with arrangements for sax and voice. The mother of two, she has lent her talents to a number of projects for children. In addition to in-school performances, she has collaborated on recordings released in Korea to promote English language education for children. For the 'Songs of Love' organization, she has created personalized songs for terminally ill children. Her inspired song, 'The Baby Is Here,' was chosen as the theme for the Adoptive Parents Committee of Long Island, NY. Recordings include 'Winter Samba' (1987), an album of original work and 'Nicole/The Song Is You' (1989), a CD for Cexton Records. She is featured on a recording by Charles Haynes, 'Paris/Rio Express' (1996) that demonstrates her range from improviser to chanteuse and debuts her lyrics to Django Reinhardt's 'Nuages.' On her CD, 'Don't Go, Don't Leave, Please Stay' (1998), she teams up with the Alan Simon Trio and Ralph Lalama of the famed Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Joe Lovano Nonet. Nicole Pasternak continues to write and record her new material while she promotes herself and her fellow musicians through concert, radio and nightclub appearances. In early 2006, she released her latest CD, 'In A Word,' with Ralph Lalama, Don Friedman & Dennis Irwin, on the Garagista Music label.