Lisa Sokolov; Downtown NYC diva vocal artist; veteran of William Parker, Cecil Taylor, Mark Dresser gang; devotee of Betty Carter and Laura Nyro; standards opened up, and inspired compositions -- original, soulful new jazz.
Downbeat gives "Presence" "Best of the 2004" "Masterpiece"
"As far removed stylistically from the reigning royalty of female jazz vocalists as John Coltrane is from Grover Washington, Lisa Sokolov fills every moment of Presence with just that. ...exceptionally expressive, dramatic, ecstatic ...playful ...highly compelling ...a tour de force ...masterful ...stunning, life-affirming. This is jazz vocalizing filled with passion and commitment." five stars ** James Hale DownBeat Magazine
" Presence is a molten tour de force of genre-crushing
music. ...This is music moving at the velocity of a bullet, creativity and >invention years ahead of its time. Ms. Sokolov is changing the face of jazz vocals in the same way Cassandra Wilson did in the last decade, and this
change should prove to have greater gravity. " All About Jazz
"Lisa Sokolov stretches the envelope of jazz singing. She is courageously adventurous. ***" (Our Highest rating) LA Times
"A visionary improviser and a strikingly original innovator... Sokolov can truly be said to be pushing the envelope of the jazz idiom into the Post Modern Era."
Royal Stokes Oxford University Press
"Here's an artist that makes genres disappear. Sokolov hammers together a unique box of sounds on an instrument she has developed to great effect...her voice breathes fire"
Lisa Sokolov is a wildwoman of jazz. Nothing is predictable when she sings. And Sokolov can be compared to no one else. For Sokolov, a true original whose singing involves the consideration of previously unconsidered possibilities, as well as their means of expression, must be accepted on her own terms.
There are rewards to spending time with Sokolov's music. Indeed, Sokolov's talent possesses such force, even when she holds back...An extraordinary singer... With "Presence" Lisa Sokolov has recorded a CD that, offers a thematic continuity and that leaves the listener wondering why she hasn't recorded more often--and when Sokolov will record again.
"Imagine a singer who can move â¹ sometimes within a single phrase â¹ from the sweetness of Norah Jones to the rasp of Janis Joplin and who can do so while maintaining a strong sense of swing and a probing improvisational focus. Even that, however, doesn't quite describe the offbeat Sokolov. Listening to her wide-open performance of a program that includes everything from "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" to "Chain of Fools" makes it precisely clear why she has been, for the past two decades, a vital participant in Manhattan's avant-garde jazz scene. But that's not to say that "Presence" is a difficult listen. To the contrary, it is filled with fascinating moments, with the sheer out-of-the-box energies of an artist who is shifting and shaping her music in search of ever-new perspectives." Don Heckman LA TIMES
I've never heard anything like this before "Presence" is terrifically innovative, with Sokolov's voice like a daring instrumentalist, always passionate. Spectacular scatting, and rangey jazz vocalizing. In her own bold mold. It's an experience, often unpredictable, never boring, an original voice and approach that blasts one's expectations. I know I'll be returning.. . Allaboutjazz.com
"Hide your children. Get down on the floor in the basement of your elementary school for an air raid drill. Wait a minute, this is a serious evocative free form scat. More advanced than many demographically NPR challenged NPR news altered, frame of mind. So advanced, you need not be scared. Get ready to whatÂ¹s happening now with scat and LISA SOKOLOV. Take a break from the Mall and walk in the quiet cool air of echo park. And listen to PRESENCE. "
Dick Crockett STILL ANOTHER JAZZ SHOW Sacramento, Ca.
" Lisa Sokolov is a daring vocalist. She commands a vocabulary-exhausting range of effects from bel canto to guttural, and she's not afraid to wield them. More than that, she dares to be emotionally vulnerable ...translucent ...Sokolov gives a transparent reading, touching on emotions deeper and more existential than mere romance. ...Sokolov's virtuoso technique is always employed in the service of feeling." One Final Note
"Sokolov's version of "Oh what a beautiful morning" is the most compelling re-invention since Ray Charles' rendition." Town and Village, NYC
" Sokolov is a strongly emotional experience, as her voice can switch from a caressing whisper to an heart rending cry in a matter of seconds. Backed by a trio of first class musicians - John Di Martino on piano, Cameron Brown on bass and Gerry Hemingway on drums - who put themselves modestly at the service of her conception, she mixed hymns, standards and original compositions on contemporary poetry, unifying the repertoire into to her own unique musical personality. A singer whose depth and range should have a much bigger visibility on the scene: check out a part of her abilities in the delicious' last Hemingway CD, Songs Francesco Martinelli All About Jazz
"If this isn't range, I don't know what is.
Sokolov's voice is huge, able to range in expression from playfully coquettish to snarling blues in the course of a single phrase. She synthesizes mainstream vocal traditions-clearly influenced as much by Nina Simone as Sarah Vaughn-with avant-garde approaches to song,
miles away from cookie-cutter versions of standards This is an album brimming with personality and warmth." CADENCE
"Sokolov sounds like no one else...in the ranks of Cassandra Wilson and the other divas. one of the best ...The hands down winner in the warbling department Much more please Ms. Sokolov. " Jazz Now
" Those who are weary of dime-a-dozen Sarah Vaughan clones and Ella Fitzgerald wannabees should search for this chance-taking effort." Alex Henderson WhereHouse Music
Lisa Sokolov is a frontline New York jazz vocalist, improviser and composer. Her work embraces the best of new music, free and straight ahead jazz. Her recordings angel Rodeo and Lazy Afternoon have received Best CD of the Year citations and press kudos. Her newest CD Presence will appear in stores March 2, 2004.
Her own studies began as a classical pianist and singer with conservatory prep education and traditional musical training. Her intrigue with the music of John Coltrane led her to search out Coltrane's bassist Jimmy Garrison at Bennington College in Vermont. Choosing this school, she found herself able to study with trumpeter Bill Dixon, saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, and drummer Milford Graves, as well as composers Vivian Fine and Louis Calabro.
Arriving on the New York scene in 1977, Lisa began collaborating with bassist William Parker. This collaboration continues. These years included working in trio with singers Ellen Christie and Jeanne Lee. Lisa also was heard regularly with pianists Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb in the days of Studio Henry. Indeed over the years she has worked with many new music and jazz notables including Cecil Taylor, Rashid Ali, Badal Roy, Andrew Cyrille, Mark Dresser, Jimmy Lyons, Irene Schweitzer, Steve McCall, Butch Morris, Gerry Hemingway, Didi Jackson, Blue "Gene" Tyranny, Hilton Ruiz, Mike Richmond, and Jim McNeely.
She has recorded with William Parkers Little Huey Orchestra and in duo for William's Song Cycle latest CD. SSHe can also be heard on Gerry Hemingways SOngs project on BEtween the lines.
She has been heard at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the Spoleto Festival, the Kool Jazz Festival., The Vision Festival, Havana Internation Jazz Festival, the Tampere Jazz Happening, The Knitting Factory, the The Bottom Line, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space and many other venues.
Lisa has recorded on Soul Note, Uneet, Aum, Boxholder, Between the Lines and Laughing Horse Records. Her next project for Laughing Horse will be "Snow in Spring" a choral work for 20 voices
As a teacher of voice and improvisation, Lisa is a Master Teacher and Head of the Voice Faculty of The Experimental Theater Wing at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts since 1985. She was also a longtime faculty of The Graduate Program of Music Therapy at NYU. Ms. Sokolov is invited internationally to perform, teach workshops and master classes in her vocal techniques to artists, therapists, physicians and people just wanting to contact, connect and sing. Her performance and vocal techniques have been written up in magazines, newspapers and in texts on improvisation.
Lisa is also acknowledged for her contribution to the field of Music Therapy in her trainings, work and writing on the wider application of the role of voice in this culture. She is the Director of The Institute for Embodied VoiceWork in New York where she trains post-graduate music therapists and physicians and is often the keynote speaker at conferences, institutes and universities throughout the world.
"Lazy Afternoon is an amazing and peerless vocal record...Stunning. It is an important contribution to the mainstream body of vocal style developed by Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald. The combination of bare honest sentiment and vastly versatile lyric inducts Sokolov into the pantheon of jazz divas. Lazy Afternoon is an exquisite album of the level of technical excellence that comes along all too rarely." Daily Tribune Michigan
"I haven't listened to jazz vocals like this in quite a while and I listen to a LOT of music. Freedom of spirit abounds and will pick you up from whatever pit you're in! Cool beyond belief! If you don't purchase ANY other music this year and if your forte is jazz, GET this one. It's gonna be around for a LONG time to come! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Improvijazzation Nation
"angel Rodeo" Editors Choice Best CD of The Year 1993
"Her voice spirals through the lyrics, effecting a confluence of Meredith Monk and Betty Carter. The gypsy strains and constant caprice give her glide plenty of slide."
"A strong voice and daring intelligence. Holy ferocious..."
Lisa Sokolov, one of the most creative jazz vocalists of our time. And when the bands bass Player was Cameron Brown and the drummer Gerry Hemingway, one could not imagine the better way to end the festival. Kaleva, Shari Karttunen
" I have always been fascinated by the feisty avant/jazz singer Lisa Sokolov, who I've heard with William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra and was knocked out by her exuberant set at this year's Vision Fest Lisa's bluesy, dreamy voice gets down on Hemingway's new CD SONGS in a fine, funky, smoky way. It makes me wanna do a slow dance with some fine woman. Lisa sounds ever soulful throughout this slightly twisted but funky delight. She adds a great deal of soul, passion and sly power to these songs. "
"Sokolov makes you feel anything in life is possible"