Sara Gazarek + Daniel Rotem // säje
Sara Gazarek // Graced with an “impeccable” voice (Winnipeg Free Press) and hailed as an artist that “may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” by the LA Times, GRAMMY nominated jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek has been one of the leading lights of an impressive generation since her brilliant emergence at age 20. From the outside, her subsequent career has been the picture of success: five acclaimed albums, an ardent fanbase, enthusiastic reviews, and opportunities that have taken her around the world, leading to thrilling collaborations with some of her most respected and celebrated peers.
In recent years, however, that picture has seemed increasingly incomplete; the light, breezy Sara that greeted audiences with a laugh and a song has seemed further and further removed from an ever more complicated reality. On her latest album, Thirsty Ghost, Gazarek finally brings her musical expression stunningly into phase with her emotional maturity. The “exquisite taste, bright wit and creative vitality” hailed by WNPR remain, but those qualities are potently shaded by a rich undercurrent of complex feeling and whole-hearted realities.
Born and raised in Seattle, Gazarek grew up without much exposure to jazz. In her early teens she was inspired by musical theater and dance, but she ended up discovering and falling in love with the jazz choir at her high school. Then director, Scott Brown, became the first of several essential musical mentors, steering her towards the great recordings and artists of our time. When Gazarek arrived at the University of Southern California (where she now resides as a faculty member in the Jazz Studies department), she studied privately with vocalists Tierney Sutton and Carmen Bradford, as well as pianist Shelly Berg and bassist/arranger John Clayton (who would become one of her most important champions.) In 2003, she won the prestigious Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Collegiate Jazz Vocalist, a distinction that directly led to a spot on the Concord Jazz Festival Tour (with Oleta Adams, Karrin Allyson and Diane Schuur).
Fifteen years later, audiences continue to witness Gazarek’s evolution on illustrious stages around the world, where she’s headlined and worked with such modern jazz greats as Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Fred Hersch, and Helen Sung. Her highly anticipated release “Thirsty Ghost” (2019), was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards; and has shown the inevitable journey of true artistry. Gazarek reemerges with a program of emotionally expansive standards, inspired contemporary re-workings, and incredibly memorable originals -- all delivered with her insouciant sense of whole-hearted storytelling and vulnerable artistry. Exploring a wealth of new instrumentation, Gazarek invites complex colors and concepts in a journey of growth, shadow, and light.
Daniel Rotem // Saxophonist, composer, and educator Daniel Rotem fell in love with music atan early age and started playing tenor saxophone when he was 13. Now at age 27, Daniel is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and the world-renowned Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA.He has performed on fourcontinentsand has had the honor to share the stage with legendary artists fromHerbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Liebman, and Billy Childs, to Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.Daniel wenton a U.S. State Department Tour to Morocco, and had the privilegeofleading and narrating a jazz historymasterclass and performance hosted by the First Lady, Mrs.Michelle Obama, as part of International Jazz Dayin 2016. Daniel has performed at acclaimed festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, and the Red Sea Jazz Festival, and at famed venues such as The Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Hollywood Bowl, The Microsoft Theater in LA, and many more.Daniel has taught at the Stanford Jazz Summer Camp and Jazz Institute, and is currently on faculty at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), and teaches the LAUSD All-CityJazzBand.His debut album “Be Nice” was released independently in February 2017.
säje // Born out of close friendship and incredibly deep admiration, these four critically-acclaimed vocalists/musicians have come together to explore, create, and celebrate the music that moves them. As individuals, each artist has crafted their own notable solo career, and now are delighted to bring their collective voices to this union, traversing a vast array of original material, contemporary re-imaginings, and jazz standards. säje is an all female vocal ensemble, rooted in the tradition of joy, curiosity, lush harmony, heart-felt expression, and profound sisterhood.
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