This weeks featured video presents the title track from vocalist Sara Gazarek’s latest EP “Vanity”. Following her successful release “Thirsty Ghost” in 2019 Gazarek has been able to take step back and take a a journey of growth, exploration. The result is a Sara Gazarek with fear taken off the table, and replaced by truth, compassion, and an acknowledgement of the artist she has become over the last three years.
Gazarek has been described an artist that “definitely does not value beauty over expression, or value safety and consistency over communication and freedom.” Speaking about this period of growth and reflection Sara explained “I pushed myself to explore deeper and more sustainable tools in my instrument through weekly private voice lessons with master musician/vocalist and Somatic Voice Work instructor, Theo Bleckmann. I had the time and space to explore these investigations, musically and vocally, and this has fundamentally and forever changed my perspective and approach as a jazz musician and a singer.”
Her EP “Vanity”, released today, is a collection of four songs from a wildly diverse group of artists, including Sarah Vaughan, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Fiona Apple. The title track featured in this video is a fairly obscure title track (arranged by Alan Ferber), originally covered by the great Sarah Vaughan, is a statement of what people likely view Gazarek’s persona to be, based on her past, vs the person and artist she has now become. Gazarek explains, “I’ve wanted to put a song to the shift that I’ve experienced over the last ten years, the space I’ve finally stepped into, and the need to document that in a way that showcases the unexpected and the unconventional.”
“Something Good” (from The Sound of Music), arranged by Stu Mindeman, is a deeply personal love letter to Gazarek’s mother. The artist explains, this song is, “typically associated with romantic love and dancing in a gazebo, but years ago, Julie Andrews agreed that she and my mother look alike, and I’ve wanted to sing a love song to my mother since her almost catastrophic car accident a few years ago (and I penned an extra verse just for her!).”
The EP also includes another first from Gazarek with her premiere original composition, “We Have Not Long To Love,” based on a poem by Tennessee Williams, with horns orchestrated by Alan Ferber. The song is, “meant to amplify the importance of taking every moment for the miracle that is,” said Gazarek. On her leap into composing, she added, “while re-evaluating my artistic value systems I had to challenge the notion that risk-taking and ‘the pursuit of the truth over the perfect’ wasn’t in alignment with the old narrative that I didn’t have the skills to write a song. So I pushed myself to compose, thinking about colors and shapes, emotional textures and storytelling, much in the way that I do when I write a lyric. I wanted to capture the yin and yang of every day love and life, and the movement, modulations, and meditative repetition that can become more of an undercurrent than a miracle if we let it. And, while what resulted is by no means perfect, it is the truth – for me.”
Closing out the set is Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine,” arranged by Geoff Keezer, with horn orchestrations by Alan Ferber, is utilized by Gazarek as a statement on women’s rights and how, “in the jazz community, fighting for equality has been an important journey for me and for my students,” states Gazarek.
With the release of “Vanity”, Gazarek has once again demonstrated the she is without doubt one of the most creative vocalists currently on the scene.
Sara Gazarek, vocals | Miro Sprague, piano | Brad Allen Williams, guitar | Alex Boneham, bass | Christian Euman, drums | Michael Stever, trumpet | Alan Ferber, trombone | Lenard Simpson, alto sax | Daniel Rotem, tenor sax | Adam Schroeder, baritone sax
Produced by Sara Gazarek, orchestrated by Alan Ferber, written by Guy Wood/Jack Manus
Recorded & mixed by Steve Genewick,
Mastered by Eric Boulanger
Video shot by Austin Hughes, makeup by James Frietas, edited by Sara Gazarek
Featured Image by Lauren Desberg
Last modified: October 21, 2022