|All rights reserved since 2009 Maria Jacobs.com Last update: 2013
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Don Heckman, Pick of the Week
Greg Tutweiler, Singer Magazine
Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
Bobby Jackson, WCPN Liner Notes
Robert Sutton, JazzCorner News
Shelley M. Shockley, Jazz Flyte
Mary Strassmeyer, Scene & Heard
Grady Harp, AMAZON
Brent Black, CiticalJazz
|Jazz and Pop Singer - Songwriter - Recording Artist - Flutist - Performer
by Grady Harp
Published: February 17, 2013
ART OF THE DUO - Review
Standing and singing bare: the test of a supreme jazz vocalist...
That Maria Jacobs is a sensitive, gifted vocalist and stylist has been well
established both in her recordings (this is her fourth solo album) and her
performances. She simply is one of the more major singers of the day. The
quality of her voices is absolutely first rate and the manner in which she
approaches both the melody line and the lyrics of the songs she elects to
interpret are uniquely her own.
This particular recording is a real chance taker. Every song in this group she
sings with the support of only one of her colleagues - thus the term The Art of
the Duo. We're used to hearing vocalists with piano alone - either because they
sit at the piano and sing to their own accompaniment or because they team with
a pianist to keep it intimate. But here Maria Jacobs has teamed with four
colleagues - Bob Fraser, guitar, Steve Cipriano, guitar, Tony Dumas, Bass, and
Dan Maier, keyboard - and for each of these songs she partners with one -
usually guitar - and the result is some of the most plaintive and soulful singing to
come across in a long time. With Bob Fraser she sings `Alone Together', `Small
Day Tomorrow', and `Too Close for Comfort'; with Steve Cipriano she performs
`It Could Happen to You,' Gershwin's `Summertime', `The Nearness of You', and
`Poetry Man'; with just bass player Tony Dumas she pegs John Lennon's and
Paul McCartney's `I Will' right on the nose, and then for the finale - `Yeh Yeh' -
she keys in with Dan Maier on keyboards' but also sings with her own coupled
voice as a trick of engineering that works splendidly.
Some songs are up, most are messages from the gentle but passionate heart,
and few singers today would take the chance for the vocal exposure of pairing
with simply one colleague in this way. Hence, the title of this album is very
apropos - THE ART OF THE DUO. A big Brava! for the beautiful lady (and friends)!
Grady Harp, Amazon
by Brent Black
Published: February 12, 2013
ART OF THE DUO - CD Review
Another female singer?...
I have to admit in the past two years there are a couple of things that have
become clear to this critic. Every attractive girl "thinks" they can sing but in
reality they shouldn't go within twenty miles of the nearest studio to cut a record
and judging a book by the cover is wrong on about a hundred different levels.
Now I say this because I didn't initially dig the cover art combined with the over
two hundred female singers that I have reviewed with only about two dozen
qualifying as "memorable."
Maria Jacobs goes in the more than memorable pile and the cover art actually
pairs up with an eclectic song list nicely! So what makes Art of The Duo work?
Jacobs deconstructs some amazing tunes by pairing up just the guitarist,
pianist and stand up bass player to freshen up some classic songs that time
and some other artists have not necessarily been kind to. "It Could Happen To
You" is the iconic Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke number that also
happens to be a personal favorite. Jacobs and guitarist Steve Cipriano have an
amazing synergy on how to reharm a tune with a pop of vitality and allow Jacobs
to own this version. Cipriano's playing fits hand in glove with the phrasing of
Jacobs and the harmonic riff on this classic is sultry, warm, and one of the
better versions you may run across. "Summertime" from George and Ira
Gershwin is a jazz version of that sexy little black dress. Jacobs scat singing is
the equivalent of textured spun gold throughout this textured melodic feast for
the senses. Don't get me wrong, this is not simply a recording of standards
which would be all to easy for Jacobs and friends to simply slay. Not having
been a big Phoebe Snow fan, "Poetry Man" gave me some cause for some
wasted concern. A beautiful reharm that respects the original and allows
Jacobs that perfect opportunity to show how her skills translate effortlessly
across genre and generation. This particular cover along with the Lennon and
McCartney classic "I Will" are fresh, contemporary and effervescent in
presentation, there are simply no bumps in the road here.
For some singers and the "female jazz singer" club is a closely packed bunch
where 75% would be advised to not consider anything past church choir,
karaoke night or perhaps the occasional gig at the local Hilton, Maria Jacobs
gives a vocal masterclass. A vocal artist and story teller that seems born to do
exactly what she is doing. Tony Dumas is a first call bassist and as lyrically fluid
as they come. Bob Fraser is another guitarist that is a perfect fit and keyboardist
Dan Maier plays off Jacobs changing meter and dynamics on the fly for just
another layer of texture.
I have a bad habit of holding an Independent artist to a higher standard but as an
Independent writer perhaps it is my way of giving what I get as well. Given the
right people, the right label and proper direction my only question is when not if a
major label might give her a shot.
Tracks: Alone Together; Small Day Tomorrow; Too Close For Comfort; It Could
Happen To You; Summertime; Nearness of You; Poetry Man; I Will; Yeh Yeh.
Brent Black, CriticalJazz
New York "PICK OF THE WEEK" Feb 28 - Mar 4
Mar. 3. (Sat.) Maria Jacobs. A jazz-driven singer, Jacobs brings musicality,
persuasive story-telling skills and a warm and supple voice to her intimate
readings of the Great American Songbook. The Metropolitan Room, NY
Don Heckman columnist: (iRoM) International Review of Music
L.A. Jazz Scene
by Scott Yanow
CHASING DREAMS - Review
Maria Jacobs has a powerful voice, is a subtle improviser and puts plenty of
feeling into her singing. Born and raised in Cleveland, she had 15 years of
classical flute study and also studied piano but her main musical goal was
always to be a jazz singer. She won a music scholarship to Ohio State
University, sang locally, and worked as a disc jockey and at WCPN as a
research assistant. She lived and sang for 11 years in Los Angeles, appearing in
local jazz clubs, and currently lives in the Midwest.
Chasing Dreams is her strongest jazz recording to date. Ms. Jacobs is joined by
several different rhythm sections including such notables as keyboardists
Geoffrey Aymer and Richard Sherman, bassists Alphonso Johnson, Tony Dumas
and Sherry Luchette, and drummers Ndugu Chancler and Ralph Penland, fine
accompanists who also take occasional solos.
The repertoire is wide-ranging. the singer's long tones on “At Last” are quite
effective, she swings easily on “Lullaby Of Birdland,” makes “Where Are You”
sound quite wistful, and scats up a storm on her own cooker “Chasing
Dreams.” The other eight songs include a soulful “Yeh Yeh” (which features her
overdubbed voices), a very haunting version of John Coltrane's “Equinox”
(which has the singer's original words), an adventurous reshaping of “Just
Squeeze Me” and a scat-filled medium-tempo “It Might As Well Be Spring.”
Chasing Dreams is Maria Jacobs' strongest jazz recording to date and is easily
recommended. She is a singer worth discovering.
Scott Yanow, author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and
Jazz On Records 1917-76 More about: Scott Yanow
All About Jazz.com
Published: September 09, 2011
CHASING DREAMS - Review
Former radio DJ Maria Jacobs soars with mesmerizing vocals on new CD
It's common to hear that many DJs actually are, deep down, frustrated
musicians; it's a theory which has survived generations. Its origin is simple: A
number of people feel that the fiery passion that DJs have for music could have
only emanated from an unrequited desire to create it themselves.
Whether or not jazz vocalist Maria Jacobs strengthens that stereotype will be a
matter of perspective. Her career did begin in broadcasting, starting as a
research assistant at WCPN 90.3 FM in Cleveland, Ohio before taking to the
microphone herself. However, with her new album Chasing Dreams, Jacobs
has now established herself as a top-drawer singer, one who is as talented and
emotionally stirring as the artists whose records she used to spin over the
There's no doubt that Jacobs was born to be a vocalist. The radio jobs may have
paid the bills, and the nighttime caress of her voice probably made her traffic
reports irresistibly listenable, but her singing has the crystalline beauty and
bluesy power of the old jazz greats. Jacobs' smoky delivery on “Yeh Yeh" is
utterly hypnotic; even the gentle melodies of the piano seem to be smitten by the
sultriness of her vocals. “Just Squeeze Me" reveals Jacobs' range, opting for a
flirtatious, upbeat tone that is downright addictive. She saves the best for last
with “Pour Me a Cup of Yesterday," in which her lovely croon makes this
acoustic lullaby soar.
The title of the album is certainly appropriate. Most DJs do not chase their
dreams of becoming musicians—yes, the theory is indeed true—yet Jacobs did.
And all of us are better for it. Full story and photos click: All About Jazz
Published: May 18, 2011
by Robert Sutton
CHASING DREAMS - Review
Former DJ Maria Jacobs releases new CD brimming with soulful depth
Every DJ probably has a singer inside them, and most of the time those dreams
remain unfulfilled. But for Maria Jacobs, Chasing Dreams is a lifelong goal that
will always be pursued.
Hers is a voice that is brimming with soulful depth and emotional power, once
limited to introducing songs or announcing traffic on the radio. Now Jacobs
finds herself on the other side of the booth; it is her record on the air, her lovely,
velvety smooth vocals crooning over the airwaves.
Chasing Dreams is a knockout punch of an album. The impressive range and
heartfelt feelings that her voice displays on Chasing Dreams is no amateur
hour, no ego trip of a DJ simply wanting to be on stage with the stars.
This lady can truly sing, plumb the deep recesses of the heart. Listen to her
plaintive yearning on "Where Are You?" Jacobs evokes chills from the
desperation in her vocal performance. Her singing, crestfallen and bursting with
unrequited longing, captures the bittersweet aftertaste of broken romance. The
title track, on the other hand, reveals her versatility. She is upbeat and playful
here, quite the opposite of the song preceding it. The bouncy piano and crisp
drumming of "Lullaby of Birdland" seemed to inspire Jacobs to new heights; her
voice absolutely soars.
Born in Cleveland, OH, Jacobs received her music education at Ohio State
University. After college, Jacobs started working at regional radio stations.
When she became a research assistant at WCPN 90.3 FM in Cleveland, Jacobs
discovered that music would be her life, and she wanted to absorb all of it that
she could. Those influences add eclectic flavors to the sound of Chasing
Dreams as well as to Jacobs' multi-dimensional vocal style.
Jacobs is still Chasing Dreams but the dynamite talent on display here
guarantees that she will win this race. JazzCorner News
L.A. Jazz Scene
by Scott Yanow
NO FRILLS - Review
Jacobs is a fine singer with an appealing voice, a subtle style and the ability to
swing. lt is always fun to discover new up-and-coming talents in the jazz world.
On her debut recording "No Frills" she is joined by Mike Petrone or Robert
"Skeets" Ross on piano, Martin Block or Jesse Dandy on bass, on four of the
nine songs drummer Roy King and on three tunes the saxes of Gerald
Among the highlights are a pair of vocal-piano duets; "Black Coffee"
and "You Don't Know What Love Is".
Based in Cleveland at the time of the recording (she has since relocated to L.A.),
Maria Jacobs sings mostly melodic versions of standards (plus her own "No
Frills"), stretching out a bit on "Corcovado," "In A Mellow Tone" and "You Don't
Know What Love Is." This is an impressive start to what should be a productive
career. More about: Scott Yanow
by Greg Tutweiler
MARIA JACOBS LIVE - Review
I heard Maria sing at the IAJE conference in Long Beach this past January. I
was so impressed with her vocal talent I approached her afterward and asked if
she ever thought of doing anything along the lines of Nora Jones. She promptly
reached into her bag and handed me a CD, "Chasing Dreams," with a sheepish
grin on her face, "I'm working on one right now." she said. "This is the demo."
'I'll take it,' I said happily. And of course I was not disappointed.
Maria studied classical flute for fifteen years, but her days spent as a research
assistant for a Cleveland jazz radio station DJ whet her desire to sing the
smooth jazz she had been listening to. She found herself in LA in 1997 studying
privately for three years with JVC recording artist Kevyn Lettau, and then on to
the LA Music Academy. "Chasing Dreams" is not Maria's first CD, but quite
possibly could be her best work to date. Her sultry voice, and eloquent lyrical
content are captivating.
NO FRILLS - Review
Jacobs can be forgiven for her love of the Cleveland Indians and their offensive
"smiling Indian" logo, thanks to her gorgeous, decidedly inoffensive vocals,
which have graced commercials and the national anthem in major League
ballparks across America, and which shine on her debut CD, "No Frills."
WCPN, Cleveland, Ohio
by Bobby Jackson, Music Director, Liner Notes
NO FRILLS - Review
From the shores of Lake Erie comes a vocalist, gifted with talent and signs of a
future filled with great promise. Maria Jacobs is a native Clevelander who
discovered her voice in jazz while attending Ohio State University in nearby
Columbus. It's been a decade of traveling back and forth from Cleveland to
Columbus and neighboring communities expanding her vocabulary and gigging
with some of the hippest musicians in this Midwestern hub. Jacobs is
determined, focused, and ready to live out this next chapter in her development
as an artist.
This CD you hold in your hands represents her first opportunity to share with a
larger audience some of the experiences she has gleaned over the years,
absorbing what she could from her environment both musically and personally.
coating here, just favorite classic tunes she has rendered over the years.
Rendered to the point where, in 1997, one could say she "owns" them.
Accompanying this aspiring recording artist is Mike Petrone or Robert "Skeets"
Ross on bass, Roy King on drums, a Gerald Linthicome on sax. These
musicians share a common musical heritage - the "Cleveland" sound - and this
bond comes out in the interaction among all the players on each tune. It is not
overstated or understated. It is not pretentious. It is warm. It is real. Charlie
Parker was quoted, "If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Jacobs
has a story to tell out of her own life experience, through the vehicle of music.
I have no doubt it will be the first of many.