Sari Is Doing It Right
Bruce Von Stiers
Sari Kessler had a career as a clinical psychologist. But some passions are greater than others. Sari's passion for jazz music made her decide to move on from the world of psychology. This move dropped Sari square into the world of writing and performing jazz. She has performed with Phoebe Snow and Tootie Heath. Some of the venues that Sari has performed at include Zeb's in Manhattan and the Shelter Island Jazzfest in the Hamptons.
Sari has just recorded her debut album. As Sari seemed to want to do right by her influences and mentors, the album is titled Do Right.
James Shipp produced the album. Sari also helped produce the album, along with Kate McGarry. Kate has made a name for herself as a jazz vocalist and composer. Dave Kowalski recorded and mixed the album. Some of his previous work include albums by the Irish Tenors and Ravi Coltrane. From the Average White Band to Aretha Franklin to Norah Jones, Gene Paul has mastered albums for a lot of top artists. He does the mastering on this album as well.
Willard Dyson was the drummer for the album. Besides playing for Broadway productions, Willard works with Cassandra Wilson and other top jazz talent. James Shipp does the percussion on several of the songs. His musical background includes indie rock and progressive multi-cultural jazz. Playing guitar is Ron Afif. The nephew of another jazz guitarist, Ron Anthony, his style has been compared with George Benson and Wes Montgomery. Bass on the album is covered by Steve Whipple. He's gathered quite a following with some of the groups he's played with, including when he dons a pink gorilla suit while performing with the group Xylopholks. John Di Martino is on piano. A couple of people John has recorded with are Paquito D'Rivera, James Moody. Houston Person played tenor sax on three of the songs. He has had a long and illustrious career, recording his own albums and playing on others for people like Miles Davis, Freddy Cole and Robin McKelle. For three of the songs on the album Nadje Noordhuis played flugelhorn and trumpet. Besides recording a smash debut album, Nadje has composed and performed for film scores, photography exhibits and other visual artistry.
Walk On By is the first offering of the album. The Burt Bacharach song is given a nice, mellow treatment by Sari. The music on the song is excellent.
First recorded by Marion Harris in 1918, After You've Gone has been covered by Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme and even Fiona Apple. Sari does her own wonderful rendition of this classic Turner Layton / Henry Creamer song.
Peggy Lee had the most famous version of Why Don't You Do Right? But Sari holds her own with this Joseph “Kansas Joe” McCoy. There is some pretty great sax in the song too.
Another great, Nina Simone, had a great hit with the Duke Ellington song, The Gal From Joe's. Here, Sari gives the listener a slow and slightly aching performance of the song. The piano on the song helps sell the sadness of the song.
Sunny has become one of the most popular songs to be covered in recent year. Sari does a really nice job on this Bobby Habb song. The piano, bass and horn music on the song make it a cool jazz piece.
The bass is up front with the rendition of It's A Wonderful World. It is a fun, smile effecting song.
Another slow and easy song is the Van Huesen / Mercer song I Thought About You.
Nat King Cole made the song Frim Fram Sauce famous. Sari's rendition is a little faster but just as fun.
Anthony Newley wrote and recorded Feeling Good. He sung it kind of bluesy. Sari puts more of an upbeat jazz flavor to her rendition of the song.
I mentioned earlier that Sari wrote music. She wrote a song that is featured on the album. It is My Empty Bed Blues. Great sax, piano and terrific vocals make this a slick blues tune.
Toe tapping music backs Sari in her rousing rendition of Too Close For Comfort.
The final song is a nice, piano backed rendition of Moonglow.
When Sari Kessler changed professions, the world of psychology might have lost a good practitioner. But the world of jazz music gained a great vocalist and composer. If this album is any indication, Sari Kessler is a name that the jazz world will come to know very well.
Do Right is set to be released on May 5th.
To learn more about Sari Kessler and her debut album, Do Right, visit www.sarikessler.com
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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers