\"Here’s To Life” This CD shows the versatility in improvisation, distinctive tone colors and personal performance techniques of Sharon Lee Grace Vocalist, Dana Marsh Piano, Michael Berry Drums, Rich Lamb Bass and Bob Rebholz on Sax and Flute.
Sharon Lee Grace was born in Boston, Massachusetts, she is an Alto- Mezzo- Soprano whose vocals are soothing with grace or harsh with vigor, her diction is perfect and her natural vibrato colors and embellishes certain notes as she sings. Sharon’s improvisation of timing is credited to old movies of ragtime music, for she is an old soul of back alley blues and jazz. Sharon states “every vocalist wants to be identified by their own originality yet I cannot help wanting to just touch the spirits of the great vocalist that I so much respect and admire. Sarah Vaughn, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainy, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and the great Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn.
“Here’s To Life” title was not only selected for its beautiful music and lyrics, it resonated a personal fit for Sharon’s return to the World of Music. Many people ask Sharon how she selects her songs to record, “ I believe they select me, she laughs” Example, while in session recording, Michael Berry suggested she sing Moondance, Sharon responded,” lets do it”. One take and it was recorded. Sometimes the music selects you.
This CD’ begins with the great classic pop standard, “Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Sharon and Dana Marsh’s playful duet is genuinely charming, you literally can feel the musicians smiling as they play. This nostalgic song will have you tapping along with a sense of joy.
Then it takes a complete change to the enchanted Classic Jazz Song, “But Beautiful” accompanied by the talented Matt Kendrick on Bass, Frederic Pivetta on Piano, John Wilson on drums and the multi-talented Bob Rebholz on Sax. Sharon’s musical delivery and technique shows her natural vibrato, perfect pitch, precise intonation and perfect diction. Notice her flexible range in pitch and rhythm, the subtle delay of a note, the extension of another across the beat, her control of both her voice and her musical ideas allow her to manipulate time in a very creative way.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, its Duke Ellington’s” It Don’t Mean A Thing (if it ain’t got that swing) intro begins with a “call and response” between Sharon and elite Sax player Bob Rebholz. The song intensifies in its rhythmic swing as the amazing talented Michael Berry on drums kicks off “a call and “response” to Sharon, which leads to the phenomenal gifted playing of Dana Marsh on Piano to the extraordinary talent of Rich Lamb on Bass. The solos of these musicians explode in their individuality of sound, overall tone color and natural technique. Just when you think it is over Bass player Rich Lamb, leaves you smiling again.
It is evident that Vocalist Sharon Lee Grace has made her personal original stamped signature on these thirteen songs. The Bluesy Blues song “I Ain’t Got Nothin But The Blues” shows Sharon often singing around the beat, accenting notes either just before or after it. She manages to get a yearning quality into some of her phrases along with her natural ability of scoops and slides again show her innate uniqueness of her instrument.
It truly is a musical journey as Sharon venues into the realm of Elegance as she sings, “I Wish You Love” in French and English. Then ends with the titled song of her first CD, “Here’s To Life” This CD is unique as it’s players, although it may sound like a cliché you can feel the love of each individual doing what they love to do.
Sharon will perform her first Concert with a Symphony in February of 2009 called, Jus Me and The Music’ of, Butler & Molinary/Sondheim, Ellington/Strayhorn, Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, Mercer, Arlen, Kander & Ebb, just name a few. Up coming performances will be listed on her web-site, as her music takes her to Europe in March of 2009.
Lawrence T. Goldstein