Echo Prize-Winning Jazz Singer Lucia Cadotsch Returns to NYC for an Encore Sound It Out Show with Her Berlin-Based Speak Low Trio Featuring Saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and Bassist Petter Eldh
Lucia performs two sets with her Speak Low trio on
Wednesday June 27 as part of the Sound It Out series at
Greenwich House Music School
Lucia, Otis & Petter will be performing music from their debut album, Speak Low, which earned five-star raves in both DownBeat and The Guardian along with glowing reviews for its companion remix album, Speak Low Renditions
“When Cadotsch sings standards with her kindred-spirit trio mates, Sandsjö on tenor saxophone and Eldh on double-bass, songs from a half-century ago feel renewed, as timeless art is refracted through a modernist prism. With no harmony instrument and the uncanny blend of these three performers – the cool precision of the vocalist, the free-jazz edge of the instrumentalists – such songs as ‘Willow Weep for Me’ and ‘Moon River’ have fresh textural and emotional resonance.” — DownBeat
With a sharp-eared love of the past but a sensibility resolutely of the present, new-era jazz singer Lucia Cadotsch’s trio Speak Low – featuring tenor saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and double-bassist Petter Eldh – reanimates songs long seemingly set in amber. Hailing from their adopted home of Berlin, Germany, these three musicians come at the Great American Songbook from a European angle, their “retro-futurist” sound as informed by remix culture and free jazz as by their appreciation for classic vocal records. Reviewing the group’s eponymous debut album of 2016, Speak Low (Yellow Bird/Enja), The Guardian declared: “Remember the name Lucia Cadotsch – you’re going to be hearing a lot of it,” adding: “Cadotsch is a young, Zurich-born vocalist who possesses a classical clarity, a folk singer’s simplicity and an appetite for performing very famous songs (‘Moon River,’ ‘Don’t Explain,’ ‘Strange Fruit’) in the company of two edgy free-jazz instrumentalists, who flank her sedate progress with split-note sax sounds and spiky basslines with percussive strumming. In this compelling trio’s hands, the process is remarkably melodious and illuminating… It’s all eerily beautiful.” Along with glowing reviews, Lucia won the 2017 Echo Jazz Prize – the German equivalent of a Grammy Award – for Best Vocalist of the Year for Speak Low. She and her Swedish friends Otis and Petter bring the bittersweet repertoire of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln and Dinah Washington vividly alive for a new generation of listeners, as well as for veteran music lovers in search of fresh treatments of these timeless songs.
After a fantastic performance for Sound It Out this past January (along with a Winter JazzFest show), Lucia, Otis & Petter return to New York City this week. The Speak Low trio performs on Wednesday June 27 in the Sound It Out series at Greenwich House Music School, with sets at 8:00pm and 9:00pm. Tickets are $20, and there will be a free wine party in the garden after the concert. Greenwich House Music School is located at 46 Barrow St. in Greenwich Village. (More venue details and coming attractions below.) Profiled in DownBeat magazine, Lucia explained the individualistic approach she takes with the trio: “I want to be subtle and melodic in my phrasing, but I also need roughness and intensity in music. Otis and Petter say in the songs what I don’t say myself. While I’m the still center, they can storm around me.”
The trio’s distinctive black-and-white videos for Speak Low have a European art-house feel, as with the official album trailer here. There is also a gorgeous one-shot music video for “Slow Hot Wind,” as well as live videos for “Speak Low” and “Strange Fruit” / “Ain’t Got No,” among others. Touching upon their European roots, Lucia, Otis & Petter have lately added to their live repertoire an arrangement by the great Italian modernist Luciano Berio of the Anglo-American folk song “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” as well as an English translation of the dark “Ballad of the Drowned Girl” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.
Discussing their arrangements, Lucia said: “What we do is like sampling culture in hip-hop. We might quote a detail from an old recording, but change the register and tempo and then loop it into our arrangement organically.” As DownBeat noted, they turn a high-register clarinet part in “Deep Song” from a Billie Holiday LP into a bass line; they echo an intro improv seen in a live Nina Simone video of “Ain’t Got No” in their arrangement; they repurpose a marimba line in Johnny Hartman’s version of “Slow, Hot Wind” as an outro hymn melody. Germany’s Jazzpodium described these reinventions as “like a musical night trip… urban, with an analog directness and a sheer boundless freedom in its approach to interpretation and sound.”And the DownBeat review of Speak Low and its remix follow-up, Speak Low Renditions, hailed the trio’s creative approach overall: “Such is the spell that Cadotsch, Sandsjö and Eldh cast that it can make one feel that this is the only way age-old standards should be approached: not slavishly but fearlessly, with an unfettered imagination approaching that of the songs’ originators.”
Greenwich House Music School: 46 Barrow Street, just west of 7thAvenue South in New York City’s West Village; greenwichhouse.org, 212-242-4770
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Coming Attractions—Sound It Out: September-October, 2018
Fri Sept 21, 8:00pm— Fay Victor & Myra Melford
Sat Sept 22, 8:00pm— Marilyn Crispell & Angelica Sanchez
Wed Sept 26, 8:00pm— Angelica Sanchez Nonet
Thu Oct 25, 8:00pm— Michael Formanek’s Very Practical Trio w/ Tim Berne & Mary Halvorson
Sat Oct 27, 8:00pm— Amanda Monaco & Friends
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