From the opening notes of Shea Breaux Wells’ album, “Piece of the Light”, you are drawn in - with evocative imagery, a diverse emotional landscape, intriguing melodies and lush vocals.
Shea wrote 10 of the 13 songs on "Piece of the Light", and has blended the genres of jazz and complex piano pop in a way that gives the songs a distinctly classic feel. In addition to writing the lyrics and music, Shea also arranged the album, and co-produced it with producer/engineer Oz Fritz of Grammy Award-winning Tom Waits’ "Mule Variations" and "Alice" acclaim. The album features the legendary Robben Ford on guitar, Bill Ortiz on trumpet, Noam Lemish on piano, and David Ewell on stand-up bass, and Alex Aspinall on drums.
Fresh out of college, where she studied music and film, Shea played in most of the Hollywood nightclubs with her alternative rock band, Forrest Lawn (seriously, that was their name). After they disbanded, Shea began to learn, study and sing jazz standards - almost every night - all over Hollywood and Los Angeles. As her repertoire rapidly developed, Shea lit up the clubs as a member of the Little Big Band, as well as performing as a solo jazz singer. All the while, she was quietly writing her own material. The combined influences of her rock background and her burgeoning obsession with jazz were beginning to form a signature sound in Shea's voice, presentation and songwriting.
Shea then relocated to the Bay Area to record an EP with Grammy Award winning Fantasy producer Michael Rosen, and featured musicians Bill Ortiz, Karl Perazzo and Trevor Dunn. Songs from this release, "Smolder", were chosen to be played on MTV's "Road Rules", from whence Shea developed a deep reverance for the royalty check...and an addiction to songwriting.
Of the songs on "Piece of the Light", TAXI said the following:
"These are all fantastic songs, performances, etc.,. There is nothing I could tell you that could improve upon anything that's already here. This is a very authentic sounding project - a nice, rich voice with nice, jazz influenced songs." Of "Soothe Me", they said: "Cool, smoky vocal delivery...the track feels great. LOVE the tempo here. Love the verse melody. Love the horn; your vocal on this one is pure honey."
Shea's sold-out performance at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival last summer captured the eyes and ears of many appreciative new listeners. Festival Director, Jessica Felix said, "I rarely hear vocalists of Shea's quality -- her heartfelt approach to the music is very natural ...I think Shea can be one of the jazz world's success stories in the next few years."
Shea's additional release, "A Blind Date", featuring the staggering talents of George Cables, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, Craig Handy and David Weiss is a straight ahead jazz project that also showcases Shea's versatility with an intensely different musical palette.
The rich and textured quality of Shea’s voice, melded with her compelling presence finds Shea inhabiting a world that is rich with originality, artistry and deep respect for the craft of making delicious music.