RITA EDMOND BIO
When she recorded her previous CD Sketches Of A Dream, it was as if Rita Edmond burst upon the jazz scene almost out of nowhere. Her talent was fully formed, she swung at every tempo, gave plenty of feeling to ballads, and came up with fresh and stimulating ideas on vintage material. Now with the release of A Glance At Destiny, she builds on her success, continues displaying her love of jazz, and gives her growing number of fans another reason to get excited. “Once I finally started singing jazz,” she says, “I knew that this is what I had to do, this is what I was put here for.”
Born in Ohio, Rita remembers that she grew up around music, with her close relatives particularly loving such singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson. When she was only five, Rita sang lead in the junior choir or her church. Her talent was obvious even then. At 15 she began taking lessons from the highly respected vocal teacher Evangeline Stewart. Rita, with her beautiful voice and a four-octave range, was a natural singer, one who could express the deepest emotions through music.
After high school, Rita sang in a variety of settings in such locations as Las Vegas, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Italy and Paris. But her other talents dominated for a few years. Rita recorded r&b and pop demos in Los Angeles for Motown, BET, MCA, EMI Publishing and Warner-Chappell. Behind the scene, Rita wrote and recorded music for various artists, shows and specials as well as ran her own music label. While she had commercial successes working on other artist's projects, it kept her away from singing the music she loved.
Two years ago, Rita Edmond returning to full time singing in a big way. She quickly became a popular fixture in Southern California area jazz clubs, met lots of musicians, and recorded her solo debut, Sketches Of A Dream. She contributed the arrangements and memorable interpretations to such songs as “Dindi,” “Body And Soul,” surprising medium-tempo versions of “All The Way” and “My Romance,” a dazzling exploration of “Misty” and a heartfelt “Never Let Me Go.”
Rita's new CD, A Glance At Destiny, could have been subtitled “The Dream Continues.” As with the first album, she brought in the arrangements and picked out the repertoire and tempos. “The musicians followed my directions during the session. I chose who would play on what solo and on which song. This is one of the reasons why I say I've put my heart into this project. I made all of the decisions, and did it my way.” Great care had to be taken to pick out musicians who were not only supportive accompanists but stimulating soloists. Rita utilized two overlapping rhythm sections featuring either Joel Scott or Llew Matthews on piano, James Leary or Edwin Livingston on bass, drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, either Greg Poree or Jacques Lasure on guitar and occasionally tenor-saxophonist Rickey Woodard and trumpeter Nolan Shaheed.
Each of the performances (classic standards plus two of the singer's originals) is worth a close listen for every selection is full of subtle surprises, there are no throwaways, and the renditions are fresh and memorable. “Sunny,” which is transformed into a swinging piece, is an excellent introduction to Rita's soulful vocalizing. She contributes beautiful ballad singing to a very expressive “You've Changed “ and “Gentle Rain.” “It Might As Well Be Spring” is a joyful surprise, being taken as a cooker rather than as a slow ballad. Listen to her powerful and passionate singing.
Rita Edmond's “In Case You Didn't Know” is a memorable love ballad that could very well become a standard for the 21st century. “It Could Happen To You” and “'S Wonderful” have been around for many decades but Rita's swinging versions give these songs new life. “Here's To Life,” made famous by Shirley Horn, is sung with plenty of feeling,” “Easy Living” (associated many years ago with Billie Holiday) has some especially tasteful vocalizing and Jobim's “Triste” is filled with joy. After a hard-swinging “Just Friends” and an emotional “You Don't Know What Love Is,” “This Can't Be Love” gives Rita's musicians an opportunity to stretch out. She concludes A Glance At Destiny by debuting her catchy bossa “You're My Wings.”
Throughout A Glance At Destiny and also in her live performances, Rita Edmond often sounds like a master architect at work, choosing the perfect note for the right spot, making every sound and moment of silence count. Her interpretations of lyrics, sense of swing, and ability to infuse each song with her soulful feelings make her a superior jazz singer who is on the brink of great success.