NOMINATED FOR "BEST FEMALE JAZZ VOCALIST 2007" -
Indie Awards - United Kingdom.
October 2007 - Live interview on Jazz Syndicate Radio - UK
She lives and performs in Omaha these days, but I think many of us in the rest of the world will want Susie Thorne to get out more. She's a very cool and captivating singer who is able to bring a refreshingly original sensibility to songs of various stripes. Playful and creative with melodies and shifting rhythms, and very capable at scat-singing, she's very much a jazz vocalist with solid jazz musicians just as ready to experiment.
Her sound grabbed me right away: it is youthful and energetic, pure and sweet in higher tones, with a moody or salty quality at times in her lower register. Susie can really swing confidently and easily. Same goes for the band members: pianist Christine Hitt (full of interesting touches and mini-side trips) and bass player Tom Kennedy (of the Dave Weckl group) are also the co-producers. The other very able players are drummer Miles Vandiver, and two more who each play on six of the eleven tracks: guitarist Rick Haydon and sax player Jason Swagler.
When the tempo relaxes, Susie shows a more sensitive side: the Ellington elegance of "In a Sentimental Mood" reveals more emotions without risking being overly sentimental. Dreamy moods are created when she drifts through "Moon River," relishing the Johnny Mercer words and adding twists and turns to the Henry Mancini melody. If you're assuming that the title means she sings both Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" and the title song of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, well, yes and no. Yes on "Blue Skies," an especially catchy version. I guess the "clear day" is an extension of that song's feel and the album design. (As it turns out, she has an earlier album, Love for Sale, that includes "On a Clear Day.") . This is not a borderline "jazz influenced" vocalist or a straightforward balladeer who happens to be accompanied by some jazz players - she's the real thing.
I look forward to more from this singer-
February 21 -
Featured Album of the Week -
NPR - Kodiak, Alaska
January 27, 2007
LIVE ONLINE BROACAST ON ITALIAN RADIO THIS SATURDAY!
Bruno Pollacci, host of "A Voice, A Soul", an International Jazz Voices Program in Italy, will feature Susie's new CD this Saturday evening from 8:00 - 9:00 PM (ITALY TIME!) you'll have to calculate your city's corresponding time and "sync up" to catch the show live! www.animajazz.it
"Blue Skies" is Susie's first CD since 2000’s critically acclaimed release, "Love For Sale".
"Blue Skies, Clear Day" is a major statement from an independent artist delivering 11 tracks of refreshingly original and innovative arrangements, performed by a host of talented musicians, including Tom Kennedy (bassist for Dave Weckl) Christine Hitt (MaxJAZZ recording artist/pianist) and Rick Haydon(guitarist - Mel Bay records). All arrangements by Thorne, Hitt & Kennedy.
Blue Skies comes in a brilliant full-color, four-panel fold out poster with song title and lyrics.
"She hails from Nebraska - but she swings like a big city girl!" That's what critics are saying about Susie Thorne! Born in Hastings, Nebraska, the daughter of a classically trained vocalist mother and a professional trumpet player father (who was an occasional sideman for such greats as Lionel Hampton and Gerry Mulligan), Thorne was raised with a great love of music.
Susie shared a love of jazz with her father and still has all their old albums. As a young girl, Susie's favorite was Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass! Susie was also fascinated with the vocal recordings and would sit for hours, playing them over and over again until she had masterd their exact phrasing and rhythmic interpretations. Her late father also owned and operated a jazz club in Omaha, Nebraska after his retirement. The club featured a popular Friday night jazz-jam which was recently featured on a PBS Special "Next Exit" for its long-running jam which is still occuring today. There, Susie was able to sit in as a young girl and try her hand at the sandards. Music was a big part of Susie's life in high school where she sang in all the choirs and accompanied the swing and jazz choirs on piano. Susie also studied classical voice privately with Julie Knowles, a choral composer and educator. After graduating from high school, Thorne traveled the United States as lead vocalist in a Rhythm and Blues band. Wanting to broaden her horizons, Thorne also traveled overseas where she entertained fans as a solo piano/vocalist on tour through Europe and Asia.
After returning to the states, Thorne re-connected with her jazz roots while studying piano performance at the University of Colorado at Denver. Once there she was re-intruduced to vocal jazz and inspired by such legendary artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae and went on to study vocal performance at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Thorne was invited back on tour and went on to perform for a loyal following in Japan and Hong Kong. There she continued her jazz studies with American jazz artists on tour.
Visiting her family in the US, she met her husband and settled in Omaha, Nebraska. Here she continues her musical studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she studied classical voice with Wendy Eaton and has performed as a vocalist with the UNO Jazz Band. She has also studied vocal jazz techniques privately with Jennifer Shelton-Barnes and jazz-piano with Christine Hitt. Her first CD, "Love for Sale" was released in 2000 and greeted with critical acclaim, winning her comparisons to the vocal stylings of the legendary performers such as a young Eartha Kitt. Thorne's second CD, "Blue Skies, Clear Day" features 11 songs with all arrangements by Susie Thorne and co-produced by Christine Hitt. "Blue Skies, Clear Day" was released nationally and internationally in November of 2006. Reviews of this current release are featured below. Take a listen and you'll soon know what Nebraskans have known for years! She's Omaha's best kept secret.......
"I'm listening now and I have to say you swing right from the first note. I dig that!"
Jim Eigo, New York
Jazz Promo Services
November 10, 2006
“I'm very confident that I've heard, in my humble opinion, one of the 5 best jazz CD's of 2006."
Albert Pride, Host of "The Jazz Is Out There"
“Blue Skies, Clear Day" was recorded by:
SmithLee Productions - St. Louis, MO March 2006
Ware House Productions - Omaha, NE May 2006
Mix/Mastered - Dennis Moody Studios - Los Angeles, CA June 2006
Visit www.susiethorne.com for more information. To Purchase: www.cdbaby.com
Personnel on "Blue Skies, Clear Day":
» Christine Hitt - piano
» Tom Kennedy - bass
» Miles Vandiver - drums
» Rick Haydon - guitar
» Jason Swagler - alto sax
Produced by Tom Kennedy & Christine Hitt (Hitt appears courtesy of MaxJazz Records)
Notes from Susie about the tracks on Blue Skies..........
No Moon at All (David Mann, Redd Evans) vocal scat intro
This is a favorite song of a friend of mine, so I learned it at his request. Was a great suggestion and has since become one of my favorites…
Blue Skies (Irving Berlin)
This is such a great tune and it’s nice as a bossa nova! We went to 5/4 in the bridge for fun and it works!
Can’t Buy Me Love (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
Always wanted to do a pop cover of a Beatles tune but switch it up. I had intended to record this with more of a beatnik type rhythm – but when we got into the studio – man can those St. Louis guys swing. It was magic and we kept going!
Moon River (Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer)
Always liked this song when Audrey Hepburn sang it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So lovely and melancholy. I was playing around with a certain rhythm on the piano and just started singing this tune. It’s in 4/4 time instead of the original 3/4 and Rick Haydon (guitar) really adds a great dimension. This one has turned out to be my husband’s favorite – he says it takes him on a journey every time……
Night and Day (Cole Porter)
Classic – it’s one of those standards that never gets old. I came up with an idea for the introductory rhythm and we just played off that in the studio – the energy was cool.
Detour Ahead (Lou Carter, Herb Ellis, John Frigo)
I’d only ever heard this tune as a ballad – but it seemed more comfortable to me to swing it, and it lays so nicely in 6/8 that it just felt natural -
Crazy (Willie Nelson)
My husband kept asking me to include a blues on the CD. I started thinking about what I could do instead of a standard blues tune and this Patsy Cline song came to mind. (Plus, I love Patsy!) Tommy thought it would be fun if I deferred to the original melody at the end – it’s the only time in the song the original melody is referenced. Christine added the final touch on the piano! I really like how this song played out as a blues... it feels right..…
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To (Cole Porter)
I love this song – and man can Tommy swing. I asked for fast and that’s what I got!! It was a challenge to keep up with him and it was fun to connect with the nuances and stretch out trading 4’s etc….”white water rafting” is what they call it ….
In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington, Mills, Kurtz)
I’ve always loved this song from the first time I heard Nancy Wilson sing it in her smooth, sophisticated style! Christine loves the way I sing it and suggested I put this tune on the CD. She wrote an arrangement around my interpretation and there was no turning back! It’s just groovy-cool!
Old Devil Moon (E.Y. Harburg, Burton Lane)
This went straight into its own thing once we hit the studio – it became its own arrangement and we just had fun with it. Miles (drummer) stretches out on this one and when Tom started playing the hook at the end - we all followed!
Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes) (Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer, Jacques Prevert)
I don’t remember what my inclination was to put this in 3/4 - but it seems to fit the phrasing nicely. My friends have a French restaurant where I perform from time to time and it seemed appropriate to use Jaques Prevert’s French lyric. It’s a beautiful song – and much more beautiful in its own romantic language.