Sophie Dunér & Jeremy Harman | The City of Dizzy

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Charles Mingus Igor Stravinsky Kurt Weill

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Women of Note How I created my own voice / The Sampler blogg, Sound and Music Artistic Inspiration / The Wallbreakers The City of My Soul on Big Round Records/PARMA Recordings Jeremy Harman Website Sophie Dunér Website Reviews Dunér´s "Dizzy" is a Whirlwind of Creativity / The Art Music Lounge From Baroque to Bop and Beyond (chapter 18, p.423-426) / The Art Music Lounge

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Jazz: Chamber Jazz Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Type: Experimental
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The City of Dizzy

by Sophie Dunér & Jeremy Harman

Sophie´s music has been described as "Brecht and Hendrix with strings in a jazz club." (Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes.)
Genre: Jazz: Chamber Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Weird Nightmare
4:27 $0.99
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2. Gossip
3:06 $0.99
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3. My Eternal Flame
3:19 $0.99
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4. Reharmonized Boyfriend
2:41 $0.99
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5. Addicted to Love
4:05 $0.99
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6. Purple Bossa
1:59 $0.99
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7. Rattlesnake
3:24 $0.99
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8. The Express Train
2:34 $0.99
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9. Blue in Green
3:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The City of Dizzy
 
It is my distinct pleasure to know Sophie Dunér not only from her music but from some of her e-mails to me. I say that because I am often in awe of the way she can pull together disparate musical elements and make them congeal into shapes and sounds that almost defy description. It is very rare for a jazz singer to do this unless, like Sheila Jordan, she is so thoroughly versed in music that she can extract the essence of anything she chooses and then pour into it the crucible of her inner self. Jazz is so personal an expression to Dunér that she can no more live without it than she can live without air to breathe or food to eat.
 
This album is a perfect case in point. Framed between two modern jazz classics, Charles Mingus’ Weird Nightmare (originally composed and recorded in the 1940s as Pipe Dream) and Miles Davis’ Blue in Green are seven originals in which she synthesizes some of her favorite musical influences, among them (as she told me) Stravinsky and Thelonious Monk (listen to Reharmonized Boyfriend on this album: it sounds like a rewritten version of Well, You Needn’t). Her music has a certain piquant angularity, yet it also swings—at times, quite hard, despite that fact that in this album she, like Sheila Jordan, has reduced her accompaniment to a single string instrument. Yet even here the musical differences are almost as great as the similarities. Jordan has, over the decades, preferred to work with Harvie Swartz, a consummate bassist yet one rooted in the traditional use of the bass as an accompanying instrument, while Dunér chooses to use cellist Jeremy Harman, a musician whose use of his instrument almost defies description. Despite the fact that most of his playing is bowed, not plucked, Harman generates enough rhythmic propulsion to drive a big band, let alone a single vocalist. He also plays in the violin range on two selections!
 
But Sophie Dunér is no more a typical jazz singer than Mingus was a typical jazz bassist or Freddie Hubbard a typical jazz trumpeter. Her work not only has guts but is so full of surprises—the way she manipulates rhythm, and along with that the way she manipulates harmonies—that in the end one can only declare her style unique. There are elements of Annie Ross, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cleo Laine, Betty Carter and Anita O’Day in her singing, but the final synthesis sounds only like her. And I should be remiss if I didn’t point out the purity of her tone and the utter accuracy of her pitch, no matter how quickly she is singing her wide-ranging scat figures.
 
The main point I am trying to make, and which I hope the reader appreciates, is that Sophie Dunér takes you on a ride. She has places to go where few have gone before; in a sense, she reminds me of a female Mark Murphy. All you know is that when you arrive where she is going, it isn’t where you expected to be, but it is somewhere you feel was worth exploring.
 
The one selection on this new collection most reminiscent of her work in the superb CD The City of My Soul is Rattlesnake with its quirky rhythm and simple but elusive melodic construction. In this piece, she actually does less in terms of improvisation than in the other tracks, but she doesn’t have to. It is more of a composition, and needs to be heard in terms of its structure. By contrast, The Express Train has an almost R&B beat to it. Were her voice an octave lower in pitch and timbre, this is the one where she would sound the most like Sister Rosetta shouting the blues, except that her use of upper harmonics in both the tune’s constriction and her improvisations are much wilder and more modern.
 
Perhaps the most unusual feature of Dunér’s singing is that, despite her gutsy delivery and startling command of both range and her sense of improvisation, it manages to sound strangely seductive. But this is not the kind of seduction one is used to from your typically “submissive” female vocalists; it is not a come-hither cutesy wink, but the sound of a woman in perfect control of her life and her mind who wants you to share something more intimate with her: her soul. Sophie Dunér wants to bond with her listeners on a very deep level.
 
And she succeeds.
 

— © 2016 Lynn René Bayley
Freelance jazz and classical music critic
Author of From Baroque to Bop and Beyond
Website: artmusiclounge.wordpress.com/home/


I first met Jeremy Harman while he was on tour with The Sirius Quartet in Germany a few years ago. We ended up collaborating at the PARMA Music Festival in Portsmouth, NH, the following summer and that resulted in this CD which we recorded in Boston. I felt the record needed to be made. I used to sing with regular jazz trios and quartets. Thats where I come from. Jazz. However, string instruments always fascinated me - especially when aggressively played. (My previous CD `The City of My Soul´, produced by Michael Haas and released on PARMA recordings, was recorded with a string quartet.) So here I had a musician who could supply me with all of it: a string sound in all its varied forms, harmony, bass, pedals, percussion plus additional loops and counter line melodies, and ultimately; improvisation. Jeremy´s outstanding versatility as a cellist is amazing and his playing coloured and shaped my pieces exactly the way I had imagined them. Can a singer and composer possibly ask for more? Thank you Jeremy Harman, Joel Edinberg, Michael Healey and Q Division Studios for providing me with a great CD! Also, thanks to Robert Amundsen for helping out with my texts, thanks to Per Norberg / Matchframe Film & TV AB for helping out with video, thanks to Petra Björstad for cover photo and last, but not least, thanks to you, Lynn René Bayley, for supplying me with liner notes and appreciating my music the way you do!

Sophie Dunér, May 2016.

The City of Dizzy is produced by Sophie Dunér. It was recorded at Q Division Studios in Boston July 2015.

A lyric sheet is available to those who purchase the album and supply their email address at the time of purchase. Thank you!

CD credits:

Jeremy Harman - cello
Joel Edinberg - sound engineer
Michael Healay - assistant engineer
Sophie Dunér - voice, composition, arrangements + production.




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