Music & Events
Music For Your Ears: JazzErie's Annual Singers' Night
Saturday, March 24, Station Dinner Theater
Saturday, March 24, Concert at 8 p.m.
Preshow dinner available - reservation required. Call 814/864-2022
Tickets available at the door, or at Romolo Chocolates and Erie Art Museum
Join Us Please
JazzErie again brings a terrific wealth of regional talent to the table in this year’s Singers Night. (And speaking of tables, why not make a dinner reservation and enjoy a great dinner before the show at the Station Restaurant?) Along with Collegiate Academy’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, one of the state’s leading jazz high school vocal jazz groups, you can hear a number of new vocalists not featured in recent Singers Night shows. And we have a great band backing the singers. Here’s the lineup:
Collegiate Academy Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Not newcomers to JazzErie’s stage, we’re glad to have this formidable group of talented young people, led by director Susan Huster, back with us. Sporting creative arrangements of standards and contemporary tunes, this group exudes enthusiasm and class.
Barbara Jean began her stage career playing bass in a country band in Phoenix, AZ. She moved on to rock & roll and Top 40’s music as part of a traveling trio for two years, then settled back in her hometown, Jamestown, NY – continuing to play rock.
Having always loved the standards, when she got the chance to fill in for a local big band singer, she did, “and it was love at first note.” She traded her bass for a microphone and has been busy ever since, gigging at restaurants, clubs and jazz festivals. She made her JazzErie debut at last year’s Jazz Walk, with the Charles Ventrello quintet.
Four years ago, Barbara Jean recorded a CD of original music, “Sweet” (Red Admiral Records, Kent, England, 2008). Her second original CD, “Cool,” has just been released. It features band members she has worked with in recent years: Michael T. Jones – piano, Cameron Kayne – bass and Carmen Intorre – drums, along with special guests Ken Peterson – steel guitar, husband Steve Strickland – piano, and on two songs, son Tim Strickland.
Later this year she’ll be performing at the Lewiston Jazz Festival and at Chautauqua Institution’s “Road Scholar Retreats.” Barbara’s website is www.barbarajeanjazz.com. Here is a video sample of her work at Chautauqua Institution.
The Four G’s
Carl Hultman, originator of The Four G’s, says he has always been drawn to Four Freshmen arrangements. “When I first heard them years ago, I loved the blend of their voices, the tight harmonies. When I realized they were accompanying themselves – playing the instrumental parts as well – that was amazing.
“In more recent years I played guitar backing the group “In The Mood,” modeled on big band vocal groups. It was led by drummer/singer Bill Wood, now deceased. He was a teacher at Harborcreek High School. I really liked that experience.”
"I began thinking about starting a four-piece vocal/instrumental group. I needed a horn player who could sing, and found Stan Bialomizy, a wonderful reeds musician who has played with the Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller bands, the Temptations, and many local bands – and, it turns out, taught vocal music in New York for many years. And Stan was interested in the idea!
"Bob Seaman, a fine bass player and vocalist who could sing in a high range, and sings in many area groups, came aboard. And Barb Schwartz, who has a beautiful true voice, perfect pitch, and plays guitar and banjo – and with whom I’ve worked for many years, completed the quartet."
"Since our first get-together, the sound has been great. Stan, who’s a vocal instructor, began to offer suggestions about technique: pronunciation, coordination, choreography. So his role is vocal coach for the group. We want to get the group to a level where we can go anywhere and feel competitive."
Tunes the group will sing on Singers Night are “It’s a Blue World,” “Poincianna,” “Graduation Day,” and “And Now It’s Over,” all Four Freshmen arrangements.
Carl teaches chemistry at Gannon University, is the resident expert on nanotechnology, and is a partner in a high tech metal plating company. Barb teaches at Girard Middle School, was formerly a research chemist at International Paper. Bob is manager of a State Liquor Store. Stan is a retired music teacher in the New York school system, at both secondary and college levels, as well as a practicing professional musician.
“Music has always been part of my life,” says singer Marilyn Livosky. “The radio was always on at home (Youngstown, OH.) I grew up in the Russian Orthodox church. They don’t believe in having instruments in church, so in the choir in which I sang through those years, everything was four-part acapella. I think I always had a pretty good ear.”
Marilyn first sang professionally when she was in college at the University of Colorado, in Ft. Collins, CO. She hooked up with a small jazz group, also was a backup singer in a Top 40’s band. When she came to Erie for a job, she heard husband, pianist Jim Madden, play, spoke with him, he invited her to sing, and she became part of his band, then a life partner as well.
Marilyn’s main job is as a faculty member at Mercyhurst College, where she has been teaching in the psychology department for 17 years. Her own studies focused on experimental and developmental psychology, and she maintains a private practice with children and adolescents, and does testing of college students in addition to classroom teaching.
Marilyn’s recent research has focused on human memory. She notes that “In spite of how most of us complain about our memories, in fact, human memory is amazingly comprehensive. For example, musical memory for tunes, complex abstract ideas and feelings is remarkable in its detail and longevity.” Beware, great musicians: “I’d love to find some great musician and look at their brain.”
“I like the tried and true,” says Lavosky, who is fond of standards, but then mentions a wide span of music she listens to: classical, blues, jazz, pop. Among contemporary singers she mentions Diana Krall, Diana Reeves and Streisand. “I don’t think jazz will become a lost art form. I hope not. There’ll be new developments. It’s always changing.”
The Backup Band
Backing up the stellar lineup above, and adding their own flavor to the mix, will be the estimable ensemble of
It will be a great evening of music!
By Dick Thompson
March 7, 2012