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Billy Eckstine Elvis Presley Johnny Hartman

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Solo Male Artist Moods: Type: Vocal Moods: Type: Political Jazz: Cool Jazz

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United States - NY - New York City United States - New York

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E. J. Decker

E. J. Decker / REVIEWS & BIOGRAPHY

From reviews for
BLUER THAN VELVET: THE PRYSOCK PROJECT
“Exceptional. One of the year’s best.”
—C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

"Oozing with insinuation and dripping with testosterone, the smoldering voice of baritone E. J. Decker is something unusual these days. Many excellent tenor singers make the jazz circuit, but to intentionally and prematurely train one’s naturally bari voice to stretch even further into sub-woofer territory and do it with class and sass requires a rare talent.
—Debbie Burke, Debbie Burke: Jazz Author

"Hitting it out of the park here in the classiest of ways, Decker isn’t aping Prysock so much as he is following in his footsteps. For one of the class acts of the past, this is a smoking way to make sure he’s not forgotten." —Chris Spector, Midwest Record

From a review for
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS...
4 Stars: "... a strong voice touched by that of Billy Eckstine ..."
—Scott Yanow, ALL MUSIC GUIDE

From reviews for
A JOB OF WORK (Tales of the Great Recession)
"... Decker takes steps to make it count and stand out as well. A wild set of quiet fire that has 'after hours' written all over it ..."
—Chris Spector, MIDWEST RECORD

"A well thought out and beautifully arranged CD ..."
—Elliott Ames, WVOX

"... It might be that often-lower register voice, distantly mindful of Paul Robeson, or it might be the unavoidably masculine atmosphere he can't help but occupy (again that honesty: ya gotta be what ya are), or perhaps it's the metropolitan Humanism that pervades his work. Whatever it is, it fascinates..."
—Mark S. Tucker, FAME (Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange)

Click www.ejdecker.com/reviews/ for full reviews for all of E. J.'s albums.

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E. J. Decker is a large man with a big voice. A jazz baritone from the Billy Eckstine / Johnny Hartman / Arthur Prysock / Joe Williams school of low notes, E. J. grew up the youngest in a musical household: his mother was a pianist, and his father a big band singer. His dad sang for a short time with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the interim between Dorsey's losing long-time vocalist Jack Leonard and hiring Frank Sinatra months later, and he often played early jazz & Big Band recordings for his sons. He also acted as E. J.'s first vocal coach, and was instrumental in E. J.'s initial performances beginning at the age of 5. E. J.'s older brothers later introduced him to '50s R&B, rock & roll and '60s jazz and folk music.

While still in his teens, E. J. sought out his heroes in nightclubs and concerts around NYC, catching live performances by Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis, Jr., Thelonious Monk, Oscar Brown, Jr., Jimmy Smith, the original Dave Brubeck Qrt. and Alberta Hunter -- as well as Leon Russell, Richie Havens, Tom Rush, Genya Ravan & Ten Wheel Drive, Leonard Cohen, the Association, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, the Byrds, the Jefferson Airplane, along with many other acts of the Sixties in jazz clubs he could sneak into and at NYC's famed Anderson Theater & Fillmore East. He learned much from all of them, stole much from many of them and began finding his own voice.

E. J. has sung in rock bands and R&B groups on both coasts, and spent years on the folk music circuit, playing festivals and cafés up and down the West Coast and, after transitioning to jazz, once sung for the Princess of Yugoslavia. In the 1980s, he also acted in theater and on television, appearing regularly on NBC's now-departed soap opera, "Texas."

E. J. eventually "came home" to his father's material -- filtering it through all the sounds he had heard along the way.

Today, E. J. glides easily from jazz through pop to standards to rock to folk to '50s R&B to blues -- and is among the strongest, purest male interpreters of ballads of this generation -- all while maintaining a consistency of sound and feel that marks it immediately as an E. J. Decker piece. As reviewers and fans alike often point out, due to his deep, rich voice and his unique approach, he definitely has his own sound.

When he performs live, any given set may contain songs by writers as diverse as the Gershwins, Cole Porter or Billy Strayhorn. Or just as possibly, Tom Paxton, Ivory Joe Hunter, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Harry Nilsson or the Beatles -- or even one of his original compositions -- each filtered through E.J.'s singular sensibility. Given his unique background, it's little surprise that E.J.'s style was once described as "biker Gershwin."

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E. J. has sung in festivals, concerts and in most of the jazz venues of New York, including: Birdland (both uptown and midtown), Cafe Noctambulo at Pangea, Somethin' Jazz Club, J’s, The Garage, Enzo's Jazz, The Cornelia St. Cafe, Sweet Rhythm, Cleopatra’s Needle, The Squire, The Bacchus Room, The Triad, The Savoy, Chez Suzette, The Redeye Grill and Zinno’s, among others. He also stands as one of the very few vocalists ever booked into the legendary, singer-averse, Columbia University-area jazz haunt, Augie’s -- which later evolved into the jazz club, Smoke.

E. J. has sung with a wide array of talents, such as Randy Sandke, Claire Daly, Eric Lewis (ELEW), Benny Powell, David Lahm, James Weidman, Chris Bergson, Ratzo Harris, Manny Duran, Dena DeRose, Sean Smith, Bob Kindred, Eric McPherson, Joe Vincent Tranchina, Dave Hofstra, Peggy Stern, Christopher Dean Sullivan, Tom Melito, Les Kurtz, Joe Strasser, Elizabeth Frascoia and Saadi Zain, as well as mentors, the late Terri Thornton and Johnny "Tasty" Parker -- among others.

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E. J. was honored years ago when the owner of the famous NYC Chelsea-area jazz club, The Squire, personally booked him -- from among all of the many talented artists who had played there over the years -- to sing the final song on the club’s closing night.

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Formed in 2002, The September Concert was a non-profit group that placed free musical concerts covering all genres of music in parks, shops, office buildings, clubs and restaurants scattered across New York City's five boroughs each September 11th -- to commemorate all those we've lost, and to celebrate Peace, Life and our shared Humanity. Each year, more than 3,000 performers appeared in hundreds of concerts around NYC and in Sister Cities around the country and the world. The overall September Concert organization ceased operation in 2012.

However, since 2005, E. J. has produced and played in The September Concert's main NYC jazz component, "The Heart of Jazz." And it still lives, carrying on the mission of healing of its parent, the original September Concert. Each year -- with a current run of 10 years -- TSC: The Heart of Jazz has been NYC's musical and psychic healing home, both for its packed houses and for the more than 160 top jazz artists who've added their talents to this spiritual gathering over the years, gaining the chance to play their experiences of that horrific day through their music. The majority of these musicians have participated in multiple years -- while a handful have actually returned for each year. 2015's edition was forced to cancel due to losing its performance space, which closed suddenly -- but planning is underway to find suitable space to resume operations in a new venue for 2016. Be sure to mark your calendar!

E. J. is a member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA) as well as a Grammy voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

E. J. also is a past president of the New York chapter of the Jazz Vocal Coalition.

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