The Night Was Blue marks the recording debut of jazz vocalist Kurt Reichenbach, son of Bossa Nova pioneering drummer Bill Reichenbach Sr. (Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Art Mooney, Charlie Byrd), and brother of internationally renowned trombonist Bill Reichenbach (Buddy Rich, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Don Menza).
His intimate, mellow vocal delivery (which has drawn comparisons to such jazz legends as Chet Baker, Mel Torme, and Bobby Darin), and sly interpretations of the Great American Songbook, have combined to earn Reichenbach recognition as a formidable talent by critics and musicians alike. That respect is evident by the enthusiastic participation of a who’s who of stellar jazz players on this album. The superlative rhythm section is comprised of drummer-dad Bill Reichenbach Sr., Biff Hannon (Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen), and bassist Tom Warrington (Stan Getz, Randy Brecker), with classic solo turns by jazz masters like saxophonists Ernie Watts (Buddy Rich, Tonight Show), Don Menza (Maynard Ferguson, Louis Bellson), and Dan Higgins (Gerry Mulligan, Quincy Jones), bebop trumpeter Carl Saunders (Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman), pianist Mike Lang (Don Ellis, Ella Fitzgerald), guitarist Larry Koonse (Cleo Laine, Mel Torme), as well as both producers, trumpeter Gary Grant (Frank Sinatra, Earth Wind & Fire) and trombonist-brother Bill Reichenbach. These jazz greats certainly didn’t do this independent project for the money! And the album cover is the work of unparalleled movie poster artist Drew Struzan (Star Wars, Indiana Jones).
As the son of a working jazz drummer from Washington, D.C., Kurt’s formative years were spent backstage in such famed area clubs as “The Lotus,” “The Showboat,” “The Cellar Door,” (formerly “The Shadows”) “The Byrd’s Nest,” and “The King of France Tavern.” He was fortunate enough to experience “up close” the rehearsals and performances of such singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine Carol Sloane, Joao Gilberto, and Mose Allison.
When Kurt’s dad returned from South America with a few Joao Gilberto albums, Kurt commandeered them, listening to them over and over, until he knew all the lyrics in Portuguese. He was five years old. (One thing he still remembers—in Brazil, ducks say “quen, quen.”) Kurt’s love of jazz and big band music became evident by his growing record collection. While his friends were collecting Elvis, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, Kurt’s collection consisted of Ellington, Basie, Sinatra, Gilberto, Herman, Miller (Glen, not Mrs.), the Dorsey’s—thousands of LPs and hard to find 78s. While he dabbled in playing, taking short—very short—lived lessons on trumpet, trombone, tuba, and double-belled euphonium—when people asked him what he played, he would respond, “the phonograph.” But what he loved to do was sing. He would spend hours in his father’s teaching studio, singing along with his beloved records. By the time Kurt entered high school, he was discovering his other talents including art, photography, and comedy.
Moving to L.A. in 1989 he has directed his efforts to acting, singing, writing, and comedy. On the acting front, Kurt made three appearances on L.A. Law, starred in a couple of “pilot” television projects and the play, LaBrea Tarpits. Kurt is also a producer for the SATURN Awards show and is an instructor at the Screen Actors Guild Conservatory. While Kurt has spent much of his life in advertising and illustration, his first love has always been performing.
Jazz critic Christopher Loudon says, “…when a truly impressive new guy joins [the] ranks, it’s definitely something to celebrate. Such a fellow—one who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli and Curtis Stigers—is Kurt Reichenbach.”