Join the Jackie Warren
Mailing List

Having 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

"Warren's premier recording establishes her as Cleveland's first lady of jazz."

Locals Only : The Piano Woman : After 15 years, Jackie Warren is releasing her first album

Articles / Music
Date: Aug 25, 2004 - 04:23 PM

By Anastasia Pantsios

Jackie Warren
Jazz pianist releases introspective debut.

“A 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.

She 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 non-jazz musicians.
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 guys playing.”
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 I will.”
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.” 

This article comes from The Cleveland Free Times

The original story can be found here.