NOTE: This feature was produced in 2014. Both artists were expected to return this month to headline WMU's Gold Company Vocal Jazz Invitational Festival. but it was canceled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acclaimed jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist-composer-arranger Josh Nelson visit with Jazz Currents host Keith Hall in WMUK's Takeda performance studio, for an hour of songs and conversation on a range of topics, including the song writing process, the privilege of teaching, and the special camaraderie of jazz artists around the world.
Sara Gazarek belongs to a new generation of impeccable jazz vocalists that includes Gretchen Parlato, Esperanza Spalding, and Becca Stevens. The Seattle born, California-based vocalist is a graduate of USC's Thornton School of Music. For her album Blossom and Bee with Josh Nelson (2012, Palmetto Records) Ms. Gazarek was called "one of the best of the new crop of jazz vocalists" in a Downbeat review.
Jazz pianist-composer-arranger-bandleader Josh Nelson is native Californian who recorded the first of five solo albums at age 19. He was a semi-finalist in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006, and has worked with a variety of artists, including Natalie Cole, Queen Latifa, Christian McBride, and Albert "Tootie" Heath.
A recent review of Gazarek and Nelson's live performance in New York at the Kitano club asserted that the duo is traveling the path of legendary vocal/piano partners such as Ella Fitzgerald and Paul Smith, Frank Sinatra and Bill Miller, and Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood.