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Julie Benko | Introducing Julie Benko

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Crossover Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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Introducing Julie Benko

by Julie Benko

This album features favorites from the Great American Songbook, the Broadway musical canon, and original compositions, with influences from New Orleans jazz, tango, swing, and more.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tomorrow Is a Day for You
3:36 $0.99
2. Matchmaker, Matchmaker
3:54 $0.99
3. Love for Sale
6:47 $0.99
4. I Love Paris
3:39 $0.99
5. Lonesome Polecat
5:22 $0.99
6. I Can Dream, Can't I?
4:48 $0.99
7. Leaving on a Jet Plane
4:59 $0.99
8. Here We Go Again
3:50 $0.99
9. A Wish
4:02 $0.99
10. Wonderful, Wonderful Day
3:24 $0.99
11. Always
3:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Spellbinding songstress Julie Benko, who appeared in Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof, the 25th Anniversary national tour of Les Misérables and the national tour of Spring Awakening, steps into the spotlight with the release of her debut album, “Introducing Julie Benko,” a diverse eleven track compilation of jazz standards and original compositions that displays her sweet and scintillating signature soprano voice. Joining Benko is co-producer, arranger, and frequent musical partner Jason Yeager on piano, Danny Weller on bass, and Jay Sawyer on drums. The album also features trumpeter Andy Warren, clarinetist Dan Levinson, trombonist Walter Harris, tenor saxophonist Andrew Mulherkar, guitarist Vinny Raniolo, violinist Jason Anick, bandoneónist JP Jofre, and cellist Alon Bisk. “Introducing Julie Benko” demonstrates that the young vocalist, composer, and producer offers many musical riches in the jazz idiom and beyond, in addition to her prowess as a Broadway performer.

When Julie Benko ambled into a Starbucks café in New York City’s Herald Square and struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to her, she could never have anticipated the collaborations both personal and musical that would follow. The man was jazz pianist/composer and Berklee College of Music faculty member Jason Yeager, and the two began to make music together. After informal sessions of Great American Songbook standards and Joni Mitchell gems, the two artists developed their own duo cabaret act entitled “Blame It On Our Youth,” performed in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Their professional collaboration evolved into a personal romance. Now, coming full circle, they have teamed up to record Ms. Benko’s debut jazz album.

As a child, Ms. Benko would watch classic movie-musicals with her mother and listen to the music of Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz greats with her father. An accomplished singer and actress, Ms. Benko explores the cross-section of these two early influences: jazz and musical theater. Specifically, she is fascinated by songs from the musical theater canon that did not manage to make the elusive “crossover” leap into jazz. Thus, Ms. Benko performs a swinging “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof (in which Ms. Benko recently appeared on Broadway), featuring Dan Levinson on a klezmer-style clarinet. She also explores two songs from Johnny Mercer’s movie-musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers — “Lonesome Polecat” and “Wonderful, Wonderful Day” get dramatically and excitingly reinterpreted.

The jazz standards included on Ms. Benko’s album have received impressive and lively arrangements by Mr. Yeager. “Love For Sale,” performed as a melancholy tango and featuring Jason Anick on violin and JP Jofre on bandoneón, evocatively captures the cynicism and sadness of the world’s oldest profession. “I Love Paris” utilizes the exuberant and contrapuntal New Orleans-style three-horn front line (featuring standout performances by guitarist Vinny Raniolo, trumpeter Andy Warren, trombonist Walter Harris, and clarinetist Dan Levinson) to express the joy of love. “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” gets a bossa nova treatment—with sublime saxophone commentary from Andrew Mulherkar—to express the wistfulness of the lyric. Fred Hersch’s contemporary art song “A Wish” features an intimate trio arrangement with voice, piano, and cello (lyrically delivered by Alon Bisk). Ms. Benko also covers the folk-rock classic “Leaving On a Jet Plane” in an introspective, contemporary jazz setting, accompanied by the album’s stalwart rhythm section of Mr. Yeager on piano, Danny Weller on bass, and Jay Sawyer on drums. This John Denver classic reminds her of the many times she has left loved ones at home in order to pursue her passion of performing.

Benko’s original compositions, which emerge from the tradition of the Great American Songbook, are often responses to current events. She wrote “Tomorrow Is A Day For You” as a celebration following the US Supreme Court decisions defending same-sex marriage, and “Here We Go Again” was a response to the troubling and seemingly endless political campaigns of 2016. On the other hand, the poignant album-closer, “Always”, which is fittingly performed as a cozy duo with Mr. Yeager, is a love song written soon after the two became a couple.

With the help of her co-producer and partner Jason Yeager and the impressive line-up heard on this debut release, Julie Benko emerges as a diverse and innovative jazz and musical theater vocalist, composer, and producer.



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