Art of Blue
Los Angeles Times '....swinging...powerful...and haunting.' New Times '...her voice is part cream, part honey and all soul...' Jazz Now '...extraordinary!' Product Description Featuring some of the finest musicians on the scene today, with a special guest performance by renowned trumpeter, Oscar Brashear, her debut release, The Art Of Blue is a wonderful collection of jazz, blues and spoken word. Composer/producer Sweet Baby J'ai, serves up a multi-hued palette of songs that highlight her warm, velvety tones; sometimes fun and often thought-provoking lyrics. According to Scott Yanow, Editor of the All Music Guide to Jazz, 'Every selection on the set is memorable in it's own way and several have the potential of becoming future standards.' Oscar Brashear - trumpet Nate Morgan - piano Bill Cunliffe - piano Wayne Peet - piano Trey Henry - bass Nedra Wheeler - bass Reggie Hamilton - bass Greg Brown - drums Jerry Brown - drums Mike O'Neill - guitar Louis Taylor, Jr. saxophone Ann King - trumpet About the Artist Sweet Baby J'ai got her start under the guidance of mentor, the legendary Phil Moore. Shortly thereafter she could be found performing in jazz clubs in Paris. Back home in the U.S., she benefited early on in her career from the support and direction of working with legends, saxophonist Teddy Edwards and guitarist Phil Upchurch. Sweet Baby J'ai is a critically acclaimed vocalist and songwriter who has toured the world with her distinctive sound. She and her band have also performed extensively in the U.S. and have been featured at numerous festivals, clubs and benefits. She has shared the stage with such luminaries as The Jazz Crusaders, Etta James, Joe Sample, Koko Taylor, Frank Capp & The Juggernaut, Sheila E., Stanley Turrentine, Patrice Rushen, Red Holloway and the late Eddie Harris, to name a few. She has been heard on radio and television both nationally and internationally. With her deep, powerful, sometimes playful and sensuous voice, and her acclaimed songwriting style, Sweet Baby J'ai is provocative and impassioned, combining her infectious personality and original style with the influences of Carmen McRae and Joe Williams. Some critics describe her as a 'jazz singer', others as a 'blues singer', but all agree that this versatile singer-songwriter is a 'storyteller'. Sweet Baby J'ai grew up in a city rich with musical history, Kansas City, home to legends like Big Joe Turner and Charlie 'Bird' Parker among others. At only five years old, she was already writing songs and by the age of eight, sneaking in the backdoors of clubs on 18th & Vine to watch her father play with top jazz musicians. Her uncle, Vernon Gower, played bass with Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton and her cousin, Michael Howell, played guitar with Dizzie Gillespie. Her style is rooted in the Kansas City sound. Sweet Baby J'ai is a versatile performer and an unconventional musician. She takes the washboard, an instrument usually reserved for Cajun or jug band music and puts a jazz spin on it, claiming it as her own 'Jazzboard' sound. Whether singing a swinging version of a standard, a soulful blues ballad or a haunting original, she weaves her special magic through songs seemingly taylor-made for her intimate style. Baby J'ai demonstates many talents on her releases. Both, The Art of Blue and her latest release, Evolution find her wearing multiple hats including producer, composer and arranger. She serves up a multi-hued palette of songs that highlight her warm velvety tones, sometimes fun and often thought-provoking lyrics. She swings, whispers, shouts and caresses every song like telling a personal story. Her CD's are a complication of original compositions, fresh approaches to jazz classics, and obscure covers. Call her a renaissance woman-she's also a playwright, having co-written the acclaimed play, '3 Women: A Dramatic Tribute to The Divas of Jazz & Blues', as well as being an actress, novelist and artist. Sweet Baby J'ai is one of the brightest rising stars in jazz.