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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Jun 4, 2024

Those who cover music love to categorize the music and musicians we focus on. I put myself all too often into this group. What should I call it? Is it Acid Jazz? Post Bop? Downtown Loft? But far too often muscians fall in between the cracks of these often arbitrary categories, and we are left looking for new descriptive words.  Often the words fail us.

The UK-based duo Edy Forey are definitely in those cracks, even if they call their music “Urban Jazz.”  What does that sound like, and where does it come from? Listen to Podcast 978, my conversation with Edy Forey and find out, 

Vocalist Edy Szewy and keyboardist Guilhem Forey believe music is sacred and musicians matter greatly. Szewy was born in Poland to an American father and a Polish mother. Her parents separated early, but her dad would send her CDs from America that you couldn’t find locally. By the time she moved to one of the cultural centers of Europe, Edinburgh Scotland, she had absorbed the very American grooves of TLC and En Vogue, enthralled with the songwriting and production skills of the likes of D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill, imagining that one day she could do it too.

Conversely, Forey, born in Paris and raised in Nantes, France was a child musical prodigy. Bach spiritually and emotionally pulled him in at the age of three—so much so that this classical music was almost scary to his immature mind. But by the time his grandfather introduced him to American icon Ray Charles and British guitarist Eric Clapton, everyone who heard him play realized he was a gifted pianist. At age 11, his mom walked him into a rehearsal hall for his first jazz piano lessons. So taken was the teacher on this introductory audition, he flung his door open and quickly recruited a bassist and drummer to join in. It was the talented adolescent’s first jam session. By 16, Forey was leading a jazz trio.

Culture Today, their debut album, sounds more like a project that has been germinating for years, rather than a coming-out party. Part of the reason is the presence of Bob Power behind the board, a man whose distinguished resume includes work by Me’Shell N’degéocello, The Roots, D’Angelo, and Erykah Badu mixing and mastering the duo’s entire album. Then there is the sound of several guest artists who joined them on this record, including founding members of Snarky Puppy bassist Michael League and saxophonist Bob Reynolds. Also, Sharay Reed, of the Funk Apostles, Femi Koleoso of the Ezra Collective and reed player Alex Hahn provided significant contributions.

Both Edy and Foret=y joined me for our conversation as we dug into the roots of their sound, how they go about collaborating on material, and where they want to go with their music now that they have made that all-important first album. Musical selections include “Better Way,” with the two bassist sound of Luca Alemanno (double bass) and Dean Mark (electric bass) and their cover of the standard “Nature Boy,” with some revised harmony and additional lyrics by Edy.