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MP3 Michele Weir and Bruce Forman - The Sound of Music

Fun, creative treatments of great tunes by two wonderful jazz artists. According to the legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell, "...[their musical interaction is] inventive, artful and sensitive."

12 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals


I first met Michele Weir when she began teaching in the Jazz Studies program at UCLA, where I am the director. At that time, I knew of her reputation in jazz education, especially for her work with vocal groups. It soon became apparent to me that she was also a strong pianist and a sensitive accompanist. Additionally, I''ve become familiar with her arranging skills and find her writing to be extremely musical and inventive .

Now I am pleased to become more familiar with Michele as a singer. Her approach is unique, and it is clear that her strong abilities in other areas also serve her well as a vocalist. Michele''s improvisational style is distinctly instrumental in concept: her scat solos often sound like those of horn players.

Bruce Forman is a wonderful guitarist; extremely versatile and very musical. He is a first rate accompanist and soloist, and plays with great time and feel, an adventurous spirit and strong command of his instrument. Bruce''s years of experience show through clearly on this recording

As a duo, Michele and Bruce have something very special. Words I would use to describe their musical interaction include inventive, artful, and sensitive. Both are very clearly dedicated to the heart and soul of jazz. This duo does not function in the traditional singer/accompanist roles, but rather as two musicians having an equal voice in creative musical interplay.

I''ve never heard another artist perform THE SOUND OF MUSIC in a jazz style, but with Michele''s lovely concept and special harmonies it works beautifully. Her vocal interpretation showcases the beauty of the lyrics in this great classic as Bruce lays down a warm bossa and jazz feel. It is at once meaningful, emotional and intimate.

The great Ellington standard, PRELUDE TO A KISS is performed in a charming 3/4 rendition with feeling and great respect for the song. It is not the easiest of songs to perform but Michele and Bruce give it a very relaxed and musical treatment.

In I HEAR A RHAPSODY, Bruce and Michele are so strong and confident in their implication of the time feel that it need not be overtly stated, only suggested. Michele really "makes the changes" in her scat soloing here; her harmonic awareness is very mature. Bruce''s guitar solo is excellent. It is especially notable how well the music flows on a tune of this complexity and at this bright tempo.

The duo''s fresh treatment of THE THRILL IS GONE shows off Michele''s great phrasing and intonation, as well as Bruce''s accompaniment skills and feel for the blues.

Michele''s creative arrangement of TUXEDO JUNCTION gives this old standard a new, very interesting and fun twist. Bruce''s Freddie Green like style of playing and time feel is right in the pocket.

SKYLARK is a great example of the intuitive musical interplay between Michele and Bruce. Bruce''s very inventive approach to reharmonizing chord changes helps to make this version of the tune something very special. They are both outstanding here.

Take a listen.

Kenny Burrell


Michele Weir is one of the leading figures in vocal jazz education today. The international recognition and respect she has earned stems from her diversity of talents as a teacher, clinician, arranger, singer and pianist.

Michele is currently on the faculty of the U.C.L.A. Jazz Studies program under the direction of Kenny Burrell and previously taught at U.S.C., California State University Long Beach, and the Phil Mattson School. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Central Washington University and her Master of Music degree from USC.

Michele was a singer and arranger for the acclaimed six-voice vocal group, "Phil Mattson and the P.M. Singers." Touring the U.S. and Canada, this group recorded two albums, one of which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The P.M. Singers had the pleasure of sharing the stage with notable artists including Bobby McFerrin, Rob McConnell, Gunther Schuller, Ritchie Cole, Bonnie Herman, Don Shelton, Clark Burroughs, and The Airmen of Note.

An active arranger, Michele has numerous arrangements in publication with Hal Leonard Pub., the U.N.C. Jazz Press, and Aberdeen Music. Michele''s writing was featured in Disney''s, "101 Dalmations" sing-along CD, and Shari Lewis has commissioned original songs for her children''s television show. Professional vocal groups singing Michele''s arrangements include Chanticleer, M-Pact, Beachfront Property, Voice Trek, Sixth Wave, and Harmony in Motion. Disneyworld''s live performing group, "American Vibe" has performed her charts, as well as the Holland America Cruise Line, the HR Radio Big Band of Frankfurt and others. As an instrumental writer, Michele''s orchestral arrangements have been performed by the Buffalo, Long Beach, Cincinnati and Pacific Symphonies.

Michele has toured the U.S. as pianist and background singer for Bobby Vinton, and has traveled with various other "road bands" such as the "New Deal Rhythm Band" out of Seattle. Additionally, Michele played a Korean tour for popular Korean singer Patti Kim and still occasionally plays jazz gigs in the Los Angeles area.

As one of the busiest vocal jazz clinician/adjudicators in the world, Michele is often asked to be guest artist (as a vocalist) for educational festivals. Michele has been invited to make presentations at the prestigious World Choral Symposium, the ACDA National Conference, the IAJE Conference, and has co-conducted the World Youth Choir and lead them in concerts around Europe and South Africa. Other recent travels as clinician and/or guest faculty include numerous visits to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Hilversums Conservatory in Amsterdam, and miscellaneous clinics at Conservatories around Europe including Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Italy. Michele has worked numerous times for each of Canada''s top national educational festivals, MusicFest Canada and The Rocky Mountain Festival. In the US, Michele as served as clinician/guest artist for many festivals, a sampling of which is listed here: the Collegiate Showcase at Disney World, educational events/concerts in Carnagie Hall, various events at Virginia Polytechnic, Syracuse University, Georgia State University, Northwestern University, University of Northern Colorado, University of North Texas, The Jazz School in Berklee, California, the IAJE Teacher Training Institute, Phil Mattson Vocal Jazz Workshops, Northern Arizona University, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska, University of Miami, and so on.

From 1993-96, Michele served as panelist for the ARTS (Arts Recognition and Talent Search) program organized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. She has also served as co-chair of vocal jazz for the International Association for Jazz Education. Michele was music supervisor for the foreign language dubs of the Dreamworks film, "Prince of Egypt" from May - October 1998, working in Mexico, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Thailand and Japan.


Bruce Forman, acclaimed a "prodigious talent" by Down Beat, has developed his dazzling guitar
signature over 20-plus years as a professional musician. Embracing the spirit of musical freedom
expressed by bebop wizards Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery and
others, Bruce has cultivated what Option Magazine calls "a truly original style." In JazzTimes,
Barney Kessel "Bruce Forman is one of the great lights of our age".

Leader, as well as sideman, with many of the greatest names in jazz, Bruce has performed at most
major jazz festivals and clubs around the world. Luminaries such as Stanley Turrentine, Grover
Washington, Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Brown, Eddie Jefferson and Richie Cole have featured him
in their bands.

Forman On The Job, his most recent release on Kamei Recordings, which features Joe
Henderson, was named by the Gavin Report, which tracks radio airplay as the "Record to Watch"
in its first week of release. The record also reached the No. 1 spot on Radio and Records'' jazz

Other Forman titles include In The Still Of The Night (Kamei/GSP); Pardon Me!, There Are
Times, Full Circle and Dynamics (Concord Jazz); The Bash, In Transit, 20/20 and River Journey
(Muse Records); and Coast To Coast (Choice Records). In addition, he has recorded with Tom
Harrell, George Cables, Mark Murphy, Bobby Hutcherson, Jimmy Knepper, Charlie Shoemake,
and many others.

Labeled a "composer of rare merit" by Leonard Feather and praised by JazzTimes for his
harmonic sophistication and improvisational finesse, Bruce has taught at music workshops and
universities across the globe. He serves as in-house clinician for the prestigious Monterey Jazz
Festival Education Program. His instructional guides: The Jazz Guitarist''s Handbook and Jazz
Band Rhythm Guitar, and his video: Jazz Guitar Soloing, have all met with widespread critical

"Bruce Forman is in the forefront of musicians returning to the sound of the pure untreated
hollow-body jazz guitar... He knows where he comes from - stylistically and historically - but also
understands the importance of adding his own plays to the game. He truly is a keeper of the jazz
guitar flame" Jazziz

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