“What these two stellar musicians have done here is nothing short of amazing. What an extraordinary combination of talent, ambition and heart! I’m most impressed.” – Maria Schneider
When vocalists Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh first proposed the concept of their new ArtistShare® CD Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider to the multi-Grammy Award-winning composer herself, she immediately thought they were “absolutely insane.” Using their two voices via studio multi-tracking, the duo would create a virtual vocal orchestra by wordlessly singing the brass and woodwind parts in Schneider’s lush, harmonically deep and rhythmically complex compositions. After listening to a sample portion of “Journey Home” that the pair had quickly recorded in their home studio, Maria generously endorsed the project and even pitched the idea to her own orchestra’s rhythm section: Ben Monder, guitar; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Jay Anderson, bass; Clarence Penn, drums.
While the task of recreating vocal versions of Maria’s orchestral compositions may seem daunting to some, Dollison and Marsh are not your ordinary vocal duo. The married team shares a passion for exploring new and challenging vocal possibilities, eager to push the boundaries of what is thought possible in vocal jazz. Upon hearing the early rough mixes featuring the layered voice parts, Don Heckman of The International Review of Music described them as “remarkable vocal transformations.” Ottawa Citizen’s Peter Hum agrees: “I’m with Schneider on this one. You have to give Dollison and Marsh full marks for their ambition, execution, commitment and musical taste.”
Julia Dollison was the first vocalist to perform wordlessly with the Maria Schneider Orchestra at New York’s Jazz Standard in 2000, singing “Hang Gliding,” “Journey Home” and “Allegresse.” After attending the first of these performances, Washington Post columnist Terry Teachout noted that Dollison “darted in and out of the band’s rich chords like a silver firefly at dusk, and all at once everyone in the room realized that something special was happening. The Maria Schneider Orchestra had acquired a brand-new tone color, and it seemed as if ‘Hang Gliding’ had been meant for a singer all along.” Schneider later added this new color to her compositional palette, incorporating voice on her two most recent Grammy-winning albums (Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue), both of which were pioneering efforts through ArtistShare®.
Maria fondly recalls, “I was a bit skeptical at first because of the enormous range of my pieces, the intricacy of the lines and the general extreme demands of the repertoire, but I decided to give it a shot. Julia was extraordinary! Her range, her sound, her ability to blend with the instruments and her absolutely perfect pitch just blew me away! She was nothing short of amazing.” Dollison later went on to record with Schneider guitarist Ben Monder on her 2005 debut CD Observatory, described as “fresh and substantive” (JazzTimes), “breathtaking” (Sacramento Bee) and “richly imaginative” (Wall Street Journal). Maria has since invited Dollison to perform wordlessly with her orchestra at 2006 IAJE conference in New York and the Reno Jazz Festival.
Kerry Marsh, also a beneficiary of Maria’s guest artist visits to the Universities of Kansas and North Texas, became one of the very first project participants in ArtistShare® history when he joined the 2003 Schneider recording project that became Concert in the Garden. Maria’s influence on Kerry’s composition and arranging techniques during his studies helped earn him a DownBeat Student Music Award for best collegiate jazz arrangement later that same year.
Fans of Maria Schneider’s music will be anxious to hear these new interpretations of her compositions, influenced largely by Maria’s unwavering guidance and supportive presence in the studio during the rhythm section recording. Also among the exciting elements of this project are the all-new improvised solos featuring Dollison and Marsh, reflecting their own unique and personal vocal character and expression. The result of their combined efforts is an album that is nothing less than a revolutionary musical statement, one that will surely resonate loudly in the jazz world and beyond.
Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider is now available for purchase exclusively online in either CD or digital download format through the duo’s ArtistShare® website. The purchase also includes access to a wealth of behind-the-scenes documentary content, providing a unique and fascinating window into the creative process that led to this extraordinary recording.
To view the Vertical Voices: The Music Of Maria Schneider video promo at the Dollison and Marsh ArtistShare® page, please click here: http://www.VerticalVoices.US
Kerry Marsh is a composer and arranger specializing in contemporary music for vocal jazz ensembles. In high demand as a commissioned arranger and clinician for many of the nation’s top educational vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles, Marsh has a large and varied catalog of music performed regularly around the world. As the director of vocal jazz ensembles at Sacramento State, Kerry and his students have been awarded ten DownBeat Student Music Awards since 2005. Kerry has most recently worked as a vocal arranger and choirmaster for indie-pop singer/pianist Ben Folds, performing alongside Folds with major symphony orchestras on tour. Kerry’s arrangement of Folds’ “Selfless, Cold and Composed” was featured on the 2009 Epic Records release Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella.
Since winning the DownBeat Student Music Award for best collegiate vocal jazz soloist in 2000, Julia Dollison and her jazz voice students have earned eight additional DownBeat Student Music Awards during Julia’s time at the University of Miami, The New School University in New York and Sacramento State. As a performer, Dollison has frequently collaborated with Grammy-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer, who has since written for and produced Dollison and Marsh in the studio, multi-tracking their voices for an upcoming album mixed and mastered by Joe Ferla. A classically trained soprano, Dollison has performed under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and Erich Kunzel as well as with Ben Folds during his performances with the Boston Pops Symphony and National Symphony Orchestra. Dollison can be heard on the Academy Award-winning Vera Drake film trailer and on film scores for The Stepford Wives and The Corpse Bride.
Dollison and Marsh · Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider
ArtistShare® · Release Date: March 16, 2010
..:: Source: DL Media ::..