begun practicing piano at age five, Jackie Warren plays nearly as
naturally as she breathes. Her abilities are as much a reflection
of instinct as intellect, and because of this, her lyrical jazz is
palatable to pointy heads and plebes alike.
Near You is Warren's first album after a decade and a half of making
the rounds at Nighttown and with the Afro-Cleveland Orchestra. The
disc spans styles and years with a knowing wink; she parses the works
of Leonard Bernstein and Thelonius Monk with a playful grace that
renders the tunes in a way that's both nuanced and immediate.
From a frantic reading of Miles Davis's "Nardis," an album
highlight, to the sentimental original "Liquid Moon," Warren's
premier recording establishes her as Cleveland's first lady of jazz.
| originally published: August 25, 2004
premier recording establishes her as Cleveland's first lady of jazz."
Only : The Piano Woman : After 15 years, Jackie Warren is releasing
her first album
Date: Aug 25, 2004 - 04:23 PM
Jazz pianist releases introspective debut.
JAZZ MUSICIAN from a cowboy town .” That's how pianist Jackie
Warren describes herself. Raised in Calhan (population about 600)
on the Colorado plains, Warren knew she wanted to be a musician
from age 5.
watched her father play and participated in family jam sessions,
playing tunes like “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.”
One of her teachers in Colorado Springs steered her to the Oberlin
Conservatory of Music to hone her technique by studying classical
music. After her graduation in 1990, she earned a master's degree
at Cleveland State and made a mark for herself playing with virtually
every jazz musician of any stature in the area, as well as many
Now, after 15 years in the local music scene, Warren is releasing
her first CD, Near You , with a release party on Tuesday at Nighttown.
It's the first album she's released under her own name, although
she's recorded with musicians such as Sammy DeLeon, whose salsa
band she plays in. The disc showcases her solo piano work, emphasizing
nuanced ballads such as Jimmy Van Heusen's “I Thought About
You,” Leonard Bernstein's “Some Other Time” and
Miles Davis' “Blue in Green.” It's spiced with uptempo
material such as a dazzling take on the traditional Cuban piece
“Tengo Mi Flores,” and a forceful interpretation of
Thelonious Monk's “Blue Monk.” It also includes one
of her own compositions, “Liquid Moon.”
She explains the heavy emphasis on ballads: “I had two nights
in the studio, and I played whatever I felt like at that moment.
And a lot of what I was feeling at the time was pretty introspective.
The signifying mark of an artist is if you can play a ballad and
really speak to someone. I think that's where the study of classical
music helped my jazz playing. When you play classical music, you
play Rachmaninoff or Mozart, and there's a slow movement to every
one of those pieces.”
Now that she's got her first release out, she's already looking
ahead to the next.
“I want to do it before March, because I might have a chance
to go to Poland with a jazz festival,” she says. “I
play better now than I played on that record, even though I think
it's a good record, and I'm quite proud to show it to all my mentors
and say, ‘This is what you helped create.' I'm ready to really
keep rolling. It's like I'm coming into my own as an artist and
finding my own voice. I'm going to try to expand in new directions.
Nobody plays solo Latin piano. I'm going to do a lot more of that.
I've got the trio with Peter Dominguez; he's the bass teacher at
Oberlin and such a fabulous bass player. He's going to be at my
CD release party, [along with] Ron Godale, a fabulous drummer from
the Cleveland area. My next CD is going to be a trio with those
She's also thinking of moving to New York — or maybe not.
“I don't have a trust fund or anything, so I'm waiting for
a right opportunity,” she says. “I'm not trying to live
in a cardboard box. I could have gone to New York right after school
like a lot of people did. When I was a little younger, I probably
could have done the cardboard box thing. I just didn't have enough
jazz experience. I felt like I needed to learn some things, because
my Oberlin instructors were some of the top jazz players here, and
they got me involved with other jazz players. I'm still learning
a lot in Cleveland. If it's not right, I'm not going to go there.
If I can make these albums and get something going from here, then
She adds that she can already see a difference in how people look
at her based on having a CD available.
“People have known who I am for a while, but once you make
a CD, you're a recording artist,” she says. “People
are more willing to pay for your services. I feel now that I've
made this, I have a little more artistic freedom because I know
it's a good record, and I know I can do even better.”
article comes from The Cleveland Free Times
original story can be found here.