Though New York jazz and blues singer Andrée Pagès sings the standards of American jazz repertoire, she is not a "cool jazz," pop, or easy listening song stylist. Pagès traces her influences to three of the greats: Billie Holiday, for her emotional connection to her material and rhythmic flair; Frank Sinatra, for his hard swing and clean delivery; and Sarah Vaughn for her virtuosity, innovative takes on tunes, and willingness to push the envelope.
Though well-versed in the classics, Pagès's sound is all her own. Her unique gifts lie in the range of her voice and material, the freedom of her rhythmic play, the variety of timbres her voice displays, and the emotional intensity of her expression and strong connection she makes with audiences.
What also sets Pagès apart is her creative interplay at all levels - rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic - with the top-shelf musicians she plays with. Pianist Tom Nelson, bassist and viola da gambist Jay Elfenbein, guitarist Dan Rothstein, and drummer Peter Grant are swinging ensemble players who all get a chance to shine as innovative soloists on this CD.
As J Hunter of Albanyjazz writes in his review of "Swings Both Ways": "Pages lets the bitterness in the Gershwin's 'My Man's Gone Now' come through with no stops, and her cover of Monk's 'Round Midnight' sums up the weariness of it all...But it's not just the music or the musicians; Swings Both Ways is about the experience, the concept, and Pagès straddles both worlds - the slick and the seedy, the bright and the dark..."
Pages has just released a second CD as part of a quintet led by Jay Elfenbein on electric and acoustic gamba, GambaDream.
The elegant jazz of pianist Tom Nelson was a staple of the Intercontinental in New York for over ten years, and he now plays regularly at the Drake Hotel. Nelson has performed nationwide with such artists as Junior Cook, Billy Hart, Eddie Locke, George Kelly, and Al Harewood.
Jay Elfenbein's bass-playing has been described by The New York Times as "virtuosic...played magnificently..." and "with virtuosity and flair." He has played and recorded with musicians ranging from Anthony Braxton to Paul Simon, on whose most recent album he can be heard playing early stringed instruments (the vielle and vihuela). He also leads a six-piece band called GambaDream, which features the viola da gamba as lead solo instrument, whose debut album will be released this winter. The cut of "Sophisticated Lady" on "Swings Both Ways" features a beautiful gamba solo.
Guitarist Dan Rothstein has performed throughout the eastern United States from Nashville to New England. His resume includes extensive appearances in and around New York City at locations including The Bottom Line, The Cotton Club, Beacon Theater, and The American Institute of Guitar.
Drummer Peter Grant has played with such artists as Astrud Gilberto, Peggy Lee, Bob Dorough, and Gerry Mulligan.