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One of the Bay Area’s definitive jazz vocalists and premiere educators, Laurie Antonioli started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager in the early 1970s, inspired by the singer-songwriters of the day– Neil Young, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, and especially Joni Mitchell, to whom she pays tribute tonight, November 7, which happens to be Mitchell’s birthday. Antonioli caught the jazz bug listening to her grandmother’s 78s of 1940’s and R&B jazz pianist Nellie Lutcher. Her investigations into Betty Carter inspired her to sing standards and to explore improvisation. Her 1985 debut album, Soul Eyes, with pianist George Cables was called “a ravishing duo session.” She became one of the region’s most visible singers during that time, was booked at leading venues and festivals with her own band, performed regularly with Bobby McFerrin, and sat in at Keystone Korner with luminaries including Tete Montoliu, Jon Hendricks, and Cedar Walton. She also forged a two decades long, particularly close creative relationship with Joe Henderson until his death in 2001. Antonioli gained widespread attention with the release of her 2010 album, American Dreams, and her highly successful 2014 release, Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light: The Music of Joni Mitchell. Her latest release, The Constant Passage of Time features new arrangements of tunes by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Sheryl Crow and represents “an enthralling new chapter to a body of work that has earned Antonioli a spot in the jazz vocal pantheon.” She’s joined by Mark Clark, piano; Dave MacNab, guitar; Sheldon Brown, woodwinds; Dan Robbins, bass; and Jason Lewis, drums.
The Laurie Antonioli Quintet will also perform at GIG Performance Space in Santa Fe on Friday, November 8 at 7:30pm. gigsantafe.com
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