Nov 28, 2021
Straight No Chaser is always on the prowl for new and exciting jazz releases for the Christmas holiday season. This year has a number of wonderful releases, and we’ll be featuring several of the more exciting ones over the next week or so.
One of those releases is an EP by singer June Bisantz on the Arabesque label, a collection of unusual, upbeat holiday/winter songs written by Arnold Miller and Connie Pearce for June Christy in 1961. The EP combines a cool-jazz vibe with soulful introspection about the complex emotions evoked by the winter holidays. 7 Shades of Snow was begun in the winter of 2020 at the height of pandemic restrictions, and so eventually the project was conceived, arranged, and recorded remotely in seven separate studios with musicians who had never met - but are now forever connected through this musical adventure. Bisantz’s vocals are ably backed by Jon Burr and his jazz sextet (Burr: bass, Mike Eckroth: piano, James Chirillo: guitar, Brandon Lee: trumpet, Marc Pfaneuf : saxophone, and Alvester Garnett: drums).
A talented singer, songwriter, visual artist and educator, Ms. Bisantz had long had a holiday recording among her creative plans. A lover of the holidays with their focus on love and celebration, she understands the holiday season is also a time of reckoning - with the year just past and the new one just ahead. Her search for material led her to make a recording that more than holds its own in the company of albums by singers who might be widely hyped, but not necessarily more accomplished in their artistic output.
A native of Connecticut and a featured performer on the Hartford jazz scene, June has toured internationally and performed and recorded with distinguished jazz musicians including Steve Swallow, Paul Brown, Mike Stern, Steve Davis, Lew Soloff, Jerry Neiwood, and Will Lee. Her 2018 collaboration with Alex Nakhimovsky, Love’s Tango, showcased her ability to move between straight ahead, Brazilian and modern jazz.
Podcast 865 is my conversation with June Bisantz, as we discuss how she discovered the material for 7 Shades of Snow, the novelty of recording remotely and her upcoming plans to return to live performances. Musical selections from 7 Shades of Snow include ‘ and the classic “The Merriest,” along with “11 Note Samba” from Love’s Tango.
The June Bisantz/Alex Nakhimovsky Quartet will appear at The Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut on December 3, 2021. Click here for more information.