While the World Is in Slumber
BIO Canadian-born, New York-based singer, alto saxophonist, composer and arranger, Sheila Cooper is -- as saxophone legend Lee Konitz has noted -- 'a singer on her horn and with her voice, and that's the best playing for me.' Ever since she moved to New York, she has been wowing audiences at the city's top venues, including the Blue Note, Birdland, The Knitting Factory and Five-Spot. And her European tours in support of her acclaimed first CD 'Since You Were Mine' -- which featured world-class rhythm section Renee Rosnes, Scott Colley and Billy Drummond -- were triumphantly successful, playing to enthusiastic audiences in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia. 'It was so thrilling to have people lining up in the break to have me autograph CDs,' says Cooper. 'I was quite overwhelmed by how excited they were.' Her follow-up CD, 'While the World is in Slumber' featuring her trademark quirky, yet elegant renderings of popular standards, also includes two original compositions (one vocal, one instrumental). Her clever additional lyrics to Leonard Bernstein's little-known '100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man' wittily personalize and update a 50's gem. And her fresh, sexy voice is beautifully showcased by her imaginative and seductive arrangements of the songs, 'In the Still of the Night' -- a line from which inspired the CD's title -- 'Cry Me a River' and 'It's All Right With Me.' Also heard on the CD are the wonderful musicians John Hart on guitar, Chris Berger on acoustic bass and Marcello Pellitteri. Like fellow-Canadian Diana Krall, Cooper is as acclaimed an instrumentalist as she is a singer. 'A lot of people tell me they find it inspiring to see a woman saxophonist who can really play. And it's not just young women; older women are really psyched too, and 30-year-old guys are really psyched!' she laughs. As Steve Starger of The Hartford Advocate pointed out: 'Cooper has a clear, slightly sassy voice that fits well with her material. Her alto playing is crisp and assured; she isn't afraid to enter dark musical places when the mood calls for it. ... It's a pleasure to report that the quality of Canadian imports is still high.' Add to her impressive list of talents, Sheila's producing skills. As well as her own CDs she has co-produced on a number of recordings for other musicians -- including 'Reinventing the World' (Intuition Music & Media) featuring Andy Middleton and Kenny Wheeler, on which she also plays, and 'Nomad's Notebook' (Intuition Music & Media), featuring Andy Middleton, Ralph Towner, and Dave Holland. Other recent recording credits include alto saxophone and flute on the NewYorkestra's 'Urban Soundscapes' CD of cutting edge big band jazz, set for release autumn 2003. Sheila has appeared at many prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Catskill Jazz Festival (featured bandleader), and Brockville Jazz Festival, Canada (featured bandleader). And she has led her band on six European tours -- one of which included an appearence at Marians Jazz Room with Kenny Drew Jr. QUOTATIONS and PRESS Sheila is a singer on her horn and with her voice, and that's the best playing for me. LEE KONITZ, Alto Saxophonist TRIPLE THREAT! In the flood of new talent surging about us, Ms. Sheila Cooper deserves your attention. BOB DOROUGH, Pianist, Singer, Composer Based on 'Since You Were Mine', Cooper can play with anyone, without excuses. . . . Her alto playing is crisped and assured; she isn't afraid to enter dark musical places when the mood calls for it. STEVE STARGER, HARTFORD ADVOCATE Sheila Cooper has a fresh- sounding voice and a clear, intelligent, expressive way with lyrics. ... Her fresh ideas on alto bring new life to old tunes . . . she moves with grace from vocal choruses to alto saxophone solos. Never sounding the least bit gimmicky, she creates a smooth, one-person dialogue between voice and saxophone. OWEN McNALLY, HARTFORD COURANT Her voice is warm and elegant; her playing swings with candid self-assurance. On 'Since You Were Mine', Sheila Cooper does her ambitious repertoire proud. KATIE MALLOCH, CBC Radio Canada In addition to playing outstanding solos and interesting arrangements, Sheila Cooper has genuine charm onstage . . . performing a flawless show that came directly from her heart. FRANKISCHER TAG, Bamberg, Germany (translated from German) It has perhaps become cliché to say of a young lion (ness), but this cat can swing. And she does it with a beguiling lilt, both in her vocal and her alto renderings, that makes her treatment of familiar songs impact on the listener like sinking a thirty-foot putt -- you feel triumphant, but at the same time you're surprised and humbled by the rarity and chance of it -- and you remember the experience. Sheila Cooper's 'Since You Were Mine' is well worth your time. STEVE KRAWITZ, 'Jazz For The Common Man', WESS-FM & WVAI-FM, Pennsylvania Sheila Cooper has a fresh, unique sound which combines a sense of cool with humor and passion. It's an intriguing and irresistable mix which she is able to convey in both her vocals and her alto sax. It's serious musicianship with no pretensions, and a sly sense of fun. Sheila Cooper is a musician you want to see and hear again. LAURIE GYPSON, WHCN-FM, Connecticut Sheila Cooper's 'Since You Were Mine' is a revelation. When was the last time you heard a singer who also played the saxophone, and did both with consummate skill and grace? I particularly enjoy Cooper's approach to standards: She handles these easily bruised treasures with the utmost delicacy. This collection is one that rewards repeated listening. JIM MOTAVALLI, WPKN-FM, Connecticut 'Since You Were Mine' is the best jazz vocal debut I've heard in three or four years. A tasteful mix of familiar and seldom heard songs matched with a first class rhythm section. Ms Cooper is not just another pretty face on the cover, we're talking about a talented, highly accomplished musician. I'll be playing this disc over and over. DOUG MOODY, 'Moody's Mood' KMFB-FM, California It's a great pleasure to hear Sheila Cooper's fresh voice and true jazz stylings. From the minute she starts singing she has the audience in the palm of her hand . . . A jazz performance full of ease, professionalism and artistry. LESLIE GOURSE, Jazz Critic, Author of MADAME JAZZ Sheila Cooper is a mainstay on my program. Anyone with ears will hear she plays alto like she sings . . . great. RON PITTNER,'Out to Lunch Avec Jazz', Radio RDL, France.