A new voice in jazz with original songs that stand up against the Standards, Peabody award-winning vocalist and songwriter, Carol Sokoloff, is an engaging performer who swings, sways and scats. Born and educated in Toronto, Ontario Carol Sokoloff now lives in Victoria, BC where she performs regularly and leads the group Carol Sokoloff and Trio Espresso. A published author and poet, a choral director and arranger, and a Mideast dance artist, Sokoloff brings a joy in words, music and dance to the performance of jazz.
Let Go!, Carol Sokoloff’s debut jazz CD features 14 songs, 11 of which are originals in the style of ‘The Standards,’ with music and lyrics by the artist, sometimes in medleys with well-loved selections. The album also features a collaboration with jazz master Wayne Shorter on ‘Follow the Footprints,’ an adaptation of the saxophonist’s ‘Footprints,’ featuring Sokoloff’s lyric. It is the first recording of a series of Sokoloff’s Wayne Shorter adaptations which the composer has approved.
Carol Sokoloff writes: “Let go, let love... put the plan together.” Releasing these songs back into the ethers from which they came. Letting go of fear and limitation, embracing the wild, the free, the true – the beauty that heals. Here is a collection of songs that are close to my heart. Many of them hummed inside my brain and asked to be shared. Some came in a flash, others took years to complete. Each has a story, each is a journey. These songs have had a magical power in my life and I hope they will enhance yours as well. My goal was to create new songs for today with the qualities that made the Standards so enduring. I had the privilege of knowing the late, great Harold Arlen and it was difficult to choose among his brilliant compositions. I picked the Cotton Club hit, ‘I’ve Got the World on a String,’ with its delightful verse.The centenary of his collaborator, lyricist Johnny Mercer, took place just prior to the initial studio session and ‘Skylark’ and ‘Jeepers Creepers’ had been highlights of our Hermann’s Jazz Club tribute. Alec Wilder’s lovely ‘Moon and Sand’ has only recently received the attention it deserves. Wilder never knew that his song would one day find its place in the Songbook. I’ve segued it with ‘Moon and Sand and Love,’ an original based upon it, as I have done with Vincent Youman’s ‘Without a Song,’ pairing it with ‘If You Have a Song.’ Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’ begged for words, and the composer kindly accepted the lyric of ‘Follow the Footprints’ as an official adaptation. Most of these songs were recorded live off the studio floor and have that ‘in the moment’ jazz flavour. I hope they lift your spirits and fill your life with the magic of song.
A former broadcaster, Carol Sokoloff produced a CBC radio documentary on American Songbook icon, composer Harold Arlen. She was privileged to get to know the reclusive composer in his later years and met collaborator, lyricist Yip Harburg and colleagues Burton Lane, Comden and Green and Kay Swift. "I feel like the influence of these great creators of the American Songbook is manifesting in my music,” Sokoloff writes. “I am inspired by the sophistication and elegance of their songs, both harmonically and lyrically, and strive to meet those standards. And I know that today’s jazz audiences (and singers) also appreciate contemporary material.”
Carol Sokoloff and Trio Espresso were featured in the 2009 Victoria JazzFest, which wrote, “One of Victoria’s finest jazz vocalists, Carol Sokoloff radiates a rare warmth and burnished vocal technique from the bandstand...” Sokoloff has studied extensively with top jazz vocalists including Kurt Elling, who calls Carol Sokoloff, “an intuitively gifted songwriter whose composition ‘Winter Moon’ reminds me of Hoagy Carmichael.” Elling selected the vocalist to sing ‘Winter Moon’ at a Jazz Port Townsend Festival concert. She has also worked extensively with jazz singer, Nancy King, Portland’s Queen of Scat. Let Go! features the deftly swinging sounds of Trio Espresso consisting of Kenny Seidman, piano; James Young, acoustic, bass and Kelby MacNayr, drums with friends Colin Campbell on trumpet and guitar and John Wright on bass.
Carol Sokoloff plays piano and guitar but mainly performs as a vocalist in the jazz context. She received a Peabody Award for her writing, theme music and performance, and poetry for an educational radio series broadcast on the CBC radio network. A compelling performer, Carol Sokoloff brings meaning and warmth to every song.