Monday, April 2, 2012

Sybil Gage's Top 10 Jazz Albums

One of the many fortuitous things about living in Florida: you get to catch Sybil Gage live. She's a Cocoa Beach resident, from New Orleans via New York City. A powerhouse performer, she takes elements of nostalgia and jazz history and manages to make them current, relevant and personal - like you are living them with her. Her shows and albums combine classic New Orleans blues, boogie and second line with r&b soul, contemporary jazz ballads and jump swing; those in the know have compared her to Dinah Washington, Eartha Kitt, Pearl Bailey and Janis Joplin. Voted best musician in Brevard County for 2008 by Space Coast Magazine; she's the recipient of three ASCAP awards for Excellence in Performance and Songwriting.

Sybil performing live with Leon Olguin on piano

You can catch her live on Tuesday nights at Heidi's Jazz Club in Cocoa Beach; and you can pick up a copy of her latest #1 cd "NOLA Calling" on both cd baby and Itunes.

Her List! Sybil was one of the only vocalists to take part in our recent Top 50 Jazz Albums poll. Her list is fascinating, full of overlooked or forgotten jewels, along with a few refreshing surprises!

1. Al Jarreau - Look to the Rainbow (1977)  a turning point for me in my Jazz incubation, have not been the same since hearing this when it was first issued.

2. Aretha Franklin - Jazz to Soul recordings from 1960 to 1964 This is a delight to listen to , especially people who "don't like" jazz. This will bring you in.

3. Nancy Wilson - Live at the Coconut Grove
(1965) A one woman show....stopper! It's all about Miss Wilson, not about the exercise of scatting , solos or the band.

4. Thelonious Monk - Misterioso
(1958) Pure and simple Monk.

5. Carmen Mc Rae - Live at Bubba's (1981) Love this live CD because she is older, wittier and display's a devil may care attitude that is just right.

6. Rickie Lee Jones - Girl at her Volcano
This is a pretty expensive Japanese import, well worth the 45 bucks, though. Jones presents quirky twists on standards and soaks them in melancholy.

7. Joni Mitchell - Mingus
(1979) A beautiful abstract Mitchell interpreted with and for Mingus.

8. Carla Bley - Dinner Music (1977)  I only learned of Bley a few years ago and I am thrilled to be introduced to her music and talent.

9. Dave Frishberg - Dave Frishberg  I guess it's obvious by now I am a vocalist as well as a songwriter with a penchant for piano. Frishberg is among the superb.

10. James Booker -
New Orleans Piano Wizard Live (1977) If you have never seen the divine madness of James Booker live, you missed it , but you can get a really good sense of his uncommon gift on this album.

You can also catch Sybil on the radio: her "Stormy Monday Show" airs on Saturday nights - streaming live on WMEL 1300 AM. Thank you Sybil for sharing your list with us!! - PCJ

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