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MP3 Louise Rogers - Come Ready And See Me

She weaves an engaging spell; her clear, burnished tones, flawless intonation and inherent sense of swing inform original readings of compositions.

9 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, FOLK: Folk-Jazz

Show all album songs: Come Ready And See Me Songs

CD Cover art by Lilia Levin
Graphics by Joseph Verhauz

All proceeds from this CD go to the Louise Harwell Rogers Piano Scholarship (my mother) at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H.

Upcoming dates:

Dec 12
Louise Rogers, Vocals and Rick Strong, Bass
Planting Fields Arboretum
Evergreen Nights
6:30 and 8:00
Oyster Bay, NY

Dec 14
Louise Rogers, Vocals and Rick Strong, Bass
Planting Fields Arboretum
Evergreen Nights
6:30 and 8:00
Oyster Bay, NY

Dec 20
Louise Rogers, Vocals and Rick Strong, Bass
2 school performances
Viscardi School
Albertson, NY

Possessing impressive pipes and a command of her considerable technique, Rogers weaves an engaging spell on Come Ready and See Me. Her clear, burnished tones, flawless intonation and inherent sense of swing inform original readings of compositions by vibist and Steps Ahead founder Mike Mainieri ("Islands"), tenor sax titan Jerry Bergonzi ("Conjunction"), Richard Whiting ("Louise") and the immortal team of Oscar Hammerstein & Jerome Kern ("The Song Is You"). Her writing skills are showcased on the poignant original "Shadows of Yesterday." Elsewhere, she cleverly reinvents a piece from the classical repertoire (Richard Hundley''s title track) and a traditional Celtic number ("Lass from the Low Country") and breathes new life into a poem by Nikki Giovanni ("Be My Baby"), turning it into a catchy jump ''n'' jive blues number.

Liner Notes by Bill MilKowski
In this post-American Idol world of belters and bleaters and stratospheric screechers, Louise Rogers is a complete anamoly. Her unforced, natural, organic singing style harkens back to such pure singers and refined jazz vocalists as Mildred Bailey, Connee Boswell, Chris Connor and Rosemary Clooney. Plus, her infinite capacity to swing recalls the late, great Anita O''Day. But it''s her creative choices as a composer-arranger and gifted lyricist that distinguishes Rogers as a fresh new voice on the scene.

Assisted by a stellar crew of sidemen including guitarist Paul Meyers, pianist Matthew Fries, percussionist-drummer Mathias Kunzli, saxophonist Gottfried Stoger (who also contributes the intricate composition "Poetic Song") and her husband, bassist Rick Strong (with whom she released the critically acclaimed 2005 duet album, Bass-ically Speaking), Rogers soars with authority while imbuing these tunes with rare sensitivity and melodic flair.
The buoyant opener, "Be My Baby," is Louise''s most requested number when she performs duet concerts with her husband Rick. "I started to read Nikki Giovanni''s poetry a few years ago," she says, "and when I got to this one, it just jumped out at me. I immediately heard exactly what I wanted to do with it. It''s fun and funky and we have a lot of fun with it." And audiences seem to respond to such earthy-playful verse as: I''m too hot to trot and too old to jog/but the back seat is alright in mama''s hog.
Using the opposite method, Louise wrote her own telling verse to an existing tune in Mike Mainieri''s effervescent "Islands." Her arrangement of this challenging piece, which originally appeared on Steps Ahead''s self-titled 1983 debut on the Elektra/Musician label, carries a decided Brazilian flair in the invigorating samba undercurrent of Kunzli''s frame drum groove. "I actually wrote those lyrics 10 or 12 years ago," says Louise. "But I was never very happy with the lyrics and so never recorded it. I only performed it once or twice and put it back on the shelf until about two years ago when I asked my friend Regina McBride to help me rewrite some of the sections. And we came up with something really nice." Meyers comps with lush chordal voicings on nylon string guitar and also contributes a brilliant solo here. Louise adopts an ethereal quality in the high register while affecting a more alluring vibe in the low register here. She also proves to be an accomplished melodic improviser, showcasing her considerable scat chops on this intriguing remake.
Louise''s adeptness as a lyricist comes to the fore on her version of the evocative minor key number "Conjunction" by legendary Boston tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, whom Rogers studied with when she was still living in her native New Hampshire. "When I told Jerry I was writing lyrics to ''Conjunction,'' he said, ''Of all the tunes, why did you pick that one?'' And I told him that I had picked it because it had such an eerie and haunting melody. We talked about what the title meant and it turns out that he is really into astrology. Conjunction is the coming together of two celestial bodies -- two planets coming together. So when I wrote these words I tried to think of movement and planets and coming together in a circular motion...the timeless colors of the night and light of day and how this idea might relate to love and life here on earth." Stoger echoes Louise''s liquid phrasing here and contributes a marvelous tenor sax solo, making the kind of effortless intervallic leaps that recall the late, great Michael Brecker.
The title track is a poignant gem from the classical repertoire. As Louise explains, "Richard Hundley is an amazing composer that I became aware of through my work as a private voice teacher. His piece ''Come Ready and See Me'' is a beautiful song and the words are unforgettable. It''s a gorgeous piece and I just had to record it – my way." Pianist Fries plays her melodic foil on this beautifully fragile and revealing duet.
Louise''s lone original, "Shadows Of Yesterday," was also composed during her period of study from 1994-95 with Bergonzi. "That turned out to be a very creative time of my life," says Louise, "and this was the first song that I ever wrote, other than assignments for music theory class. And it really kicked off my interest in writing lyrics." Meyers again plays fluently behind Louise''s vocals on this bossa nova flavored piece, which is underscored by Kunzli''s sensitive brushwork on the kit.
On a swinging, uptempo reading of the Hammerstein & Kern show tune "The Song Is You," Rogers dives headlong into an inventive improv, showcasing her considerable technique and fertile imagination. Strong anchors this romp with some insistent walking while Stoger stretches out on soprano sax and pianist Fries exhibits some daring reharmonizations on his swinging solo.
Stoger contributes the modernist "Poetic Song," which contains some challenging unison lines between tenor saxophonist and vocalist. "He came over with a couple of tunes that he thought might sound nice with voice and saxophone," says Louise. "The minute we read through this piece, I knew it was the one. I love the feel and the melody and the fact that the bass part is so active while I am singing these long lines with the saxophone. It has such nice texture and color." Stoger''s probing here is outstanding as he flies into the high register with expressive abandon. Drummer Kunzli is particularly busy interacting with bassist Strong, whose countrapuntal lines go against the flow of the piece. Louise''s wordless vocal solo carries a kind of bluesy, keening quality on this meditative original.
Richard Whiting''s "Louise" is an old-time number that was introduced by French singing star Maurice Chevalier in his 1932 American film debut, "Innocents of Paris." Three-quarters of a century later, Louise reinvents the piece while revisiting some childhood memories. "This was probably the first song I ever learned on piano and voice," she recalls. "My parents sang it to me all the time trying to make me feel better about my name. I always disliked my name. I wanted to be a Jenny or a Sarah, NOT a Louise. It certainly helped to have this lovely little song to sing when I was down about my name." Her jaunty, scat-laden duet with husband Strong here represents a kind of bridge to their previous project together, Bass-ically Speaking.
The dramatic closer, "Lass From the Low Countree," is a traditional Celtic number interpreted here by Louise and Rick as a plaintive duet. "I became aware of this piece through my private voice teaching," says Rogers. "I was hearing it very differently and thought that it would be beautiful arranged for electric bass and voice." Her reflective reading is anchored by Rick''s accomplished chording on the Fodera 6-string electric. Strong also overdubs a brilliant solo here.
Far more than just another collection of jazz standards or jazzy interpretations of familiar pop tunes -- which seems to be in vogue these days with many singers -- Come Ready and See Me presents some startlingly original choices by this vocal talent deserving of wider recognition. -- Bill Milkowski

Bill Milkowski is a regular contributor to Jazz Times and Jazziz magazines. He is also the author of "JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius" (Backbeat

CD Review All About Jazz NY December 2007

by Ken Dryden

With a flood of new CDs by female jazz vocalists
released in 2007, it is a challenge for them to get a fair
hearing. Louise Rogers, a veteran jazz educator who
has performed in a variety of settings and worked
extensively with children, is a breath of fresh air. She
has quite a resumé, including studies with tenorist
Jerry Bergonzi and New York Voices singer Kim
Nazarian. Blessed with an unpretentious, very
expressive voice and crystal clear intonation, along
with gifts as a lyricist, composer and interpreter,
Rogers’ immense talent is immediately apparent. Her
main foil is husband Rick Strong on bass, with pianist
Matthew Fries, guitarist Paul Meyers, saxophonist
Gottfried Stoger and drummer Mathias Kunzli making
guest appearances on a several tracks.
Together with Strong, she sets poet Nikki
Giovanni’s “Be My Baby” to music, sounding very hip,
initially backed solely by Kunzli’s hand percussion,
with the bassist making a delayed entrance. She
co-wrote lyrics for Mike Manieri’s Latin-flavored
“Islands”, scatting up a storm and discretely
overdubbing a backing line at one point. Her haunting
lyrics to Jerry Bergonzi’s moody “Conjunction”
provide a ray of hope, with Fries and Stoger adding
powerful solos. Rogers penned the subtle bossa nova
“Shadows of Yesterday” on her own and Stoger
contributed the challenging “Poet Song”. Rogers is
equally at home with standards like “The Song is You”
(with Stoger guesting on soprano sax) and Richard
Whiting’s forgotten gem “Louise”, a playful duet with
Strong. Her choice of the traditional Celtic song “Lass
>From the Low Countree” provides a poignant closing
number, a moving duet with Strong on electric bass.
For more information, visit https://www.tradebit.com. Rogers is at
Bowery Poetry Club Dec. 9th. See calendar.
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