MP3 Jane Drake - Brand New Woman
An expansive range - from sultry lows to angelic highs - a style easily switching from exuberant swing to free flowing scat, infused with energy, humor and stop-you-in-your-tracks passion originals, jazz standards and blues with creative arrangements.
10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, BLUES: Jazzy Blues
"...your versatility is amazing. You did a great and unique rendition of each and every song and your personality comes through beautifully. Your voice quality is incredible."
"Wow!" "Wow!!!" "...fun and lots of YOU came through, which is always the goal."
"Jane, your time is impeccable. Your pitch is right on the money."
"We also enjoyed the ''fun'' stuff on your CD - like the train -and we both liked the tunes you wrote. You''re quite a wordsmith."
"I found myself smiling a lot while I was listening to your CD."
"You are a grand artist, very talented and effective; you relate so well to audiences."
"Jane, I have SO loved listening to your CD. It sounds wonderful. Your phrasing, expression, pitch and everything are right on. And you''re so alive when you sing, unlike so many other singers I''ve heard who have good voices but are just rendering the lyrics."
"I have to be cautious about playing your CD when I''m driving, because I am so mesmerized by what you''re doing I find myself somewhere down the road and don''t remember the driving part. I probably should play it strictly inside the house! (Dangerous music!)"
"You have fashioned a unique and fun version of each of the standards, not only with the arrangements, but with the amazing freedom of melodic phrasing and vocal spontaneity - jazz indeed!"
These are just a few of the reactions Jane Drake''s new CD, Brand New Woman, has evoked from her many musician friends and fans. There are other favorable professional reviews on her personal website https://www.tradebit.com
Jane, as you may have already surmised, is not a novice at this business of jazz singing. A professional jazz vocalist for most of her life, she got her start while a freshman at Auburn University (AU) when she won the coveted position as "girl singer" with the regionally famous Auburn Knights Orchestra (AKO). This 18 piece swing band was organized in the 30s and gained renown throughout the Southeastern United States - backing such musical greats as Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich. Toni Tennille, of Captain and Tennille fame, is probably the band''s most well known alum. The AKO recently celebrated their 75th Year Anniversary - setting a unique longevity record for this kind of organization. Jane regularly takes to the bandstand with her old band mates at the annual reunions.
After graduation from AU, Jane spent a number of years as a professional jazz vocalist touring the Southeast - from Atlanta to Biloxi and Destin to Bourbon Street in New Orleans - honing her craft by working with various sized groups and learning by listening to all the great jazz vocalists. When she first started singing, she had many influences, including Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter, Shirley Horn, and Nancy Wilson. And though you may hear some of those inflections in her singing, by now she is her own person; her own unique self.
No, not a novice. However, her title cut does indicate that she is taking a new direction with her career. Her original song, "Brand New Woman Blues" is, on the surface, a declaration of independence for the female heroine of her story. And though this is not autobiographical for Jane, she says she has seen her share of "Desperate Housewives" over the years. "This song is my fantasy scenario," Jane says, "of the moment when a woman wakes up, ''smells the coffee,'' and starts to take charge of her own life and happiness. I''ve managed to work in a good deal of humor, too. I think that often helps in making a serious point. When I perform this number in public, it always gets a big reaction. I can tell it hits home and still it has people smiling and laughing. That kind of reaction is very gratifying to a songwriter."
"When I thought about the title for my CD," Jane continues, "''Brand New Woman'' popped out at me as a providential choice. I have wanted to make this CD for years, but lacked the self-confidence to even start. Yet, over the last few years, I''ve had my own personal and spiritual awakening. The symbol of a cocoon was a repeated image in my mind''s eye as I started working toward more of what I wanted out of life. Just last year, I had a major breakthrough. The cocoon fell away and my beautiful new wings unfolded. So, for me, Brand New Woman seemed the perfect title for my CD."
Jane is backed by a first rate, sensitive and experienced rhythm section: Sonny Harris from Birmingham, Alabama is on drums. Sonny is a highly respected drummer in the Southeast and currently a candidate for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Chris Wendle is one of the best bassists in Birmingham. And J. Hatch is one of Jane''s very talented, dear friends who came all the way from Germany to write arrangements and play piano for her. Percussion was very ably added on a couple of the Latin flavored tunes by Chris Ramos, also of Birmingham.
More proof of the pudding, here''s what some other reviewers had to say:
"I enjoyed this CD very much, especially "Midnight/Black Coffee," and I like the King Cole trio references on "Frim Fram Sauce" - I''m a sucker for that sort of thing. Jane''s a wonderful singer and deliverer of material. On this CD, she sounds like she''s having a great time as well. Thoughtful clever charts too, full of surprises."
professional pianist and songwriter and
Concord Recording Artist
"Jane''s an assertive singer, capable of alternating between silky legato slides and a punctuated, bluesy delivery, as she does on her improbable-but-boy-does-she-pull-it-off medley of Thelonious Monk''s "Round Midnight" and Sarah Vaughan''s hit "Black Coffee." She can scat like nobody''s business, too, as she does on a version of "Summertime" that''s cushioned by Van Morrison''s "Moondance" riff. And that''s just the first two tracks on the CD."
Columnist for the Black and White,
Birmingham, AL''s entertainment magazine
"Drawing from her Southern roots in an area of the country steeped in blues music, Jane has put together a collection of tunes that are original, sensual, vibrant and imaginative. For example, listen to how she uses her voice like a musical instrument in "Summertime." Her scat singing ''makes the changes'' just as a good jazz improviser would. In "Black Coffee/Round Midnight" she merges two unlikely tunes in a way that work together beautifully. Her versatility on the swinging Nat King Cole favorite "Frim Fram Sauce" displays another side of her talent. And her sensitive interpretation of the Rogers & Hart classic "My Funny Valentine" brings out a certain vulnerability inherent in her singing that helps make this song truly her own.
Two of my favorites are "I''ve Got It Bad" and "You Go To My Head." These simple and poignant presentations, with just voice and piano, remind me of the movie Casablanca and give me a rush on every listening.
This CD is not just about singing, it''s about one person''s love for music, love for jazz, and quest for the creative experience."
professional arranger and composer, Metro New York
(From the CD liner notes)
That love for the music is perhaps why Jane has become interested and involved in jazz education as well. In 2004, she developed a part lecture - part performance presentation on women in jazz for the Auburn University Woman''s Leadership Institute. The program celebrated the lives and music of legendary jazz vocalists Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, and Betty Carter. When these great ladies starting passing on, Jane realized that an unprecedented era of jazz history was fading before her eyes. Only then did it occur to her that she knew their music very well, but very little about their lives or even their career landmarks. Her research gave her even more respect for these unique women. Jane reminds us that we all have to be grateful to have had the privilege of witnessing and experiencing, in our own time, possibly the greatest jazz vocalists that will ever live. If there are any rules of jazz singing, these ladies created them. "They have been major influences on all the singers out there today, whether they know it or not," says Jane. "These ladies are true legends and should never be forgotten." Jane wants to do her part in keeping their memory and music alive. She is working to bring this lecture - performance about vocal jazz to schools, arts associations, jazz societies, museums, and other appropriate venues where people might have an interest. You can contact Jane about the presentation through her website: https://www.tradebit.com.
To Jane, entertaining audiences with her CD or in live performance, being as creative as possible, and continuing to develop as an artist, is uppermost on her agenda. PBS''s motto, "A great nation deserves great art," rings true with her. Her ideal would be contributing to the preservation and development of jazz music with her own brand of individual artistry.