Andrée Pagès is a New York jazz and blues singer. Though she sings the standards of American jazz repertoire, she is not a "cool jazz," pop, or easy listening song stylist.
Pagès's approach lies in delivering a song in its true melody the first time around, and then playing with the rhythm and tune after that. In this you might call her a traditional jazz singer. Her unique gifts lie in her range, which goes quite low; the freedom of her rhythmic play; the wide range of timbres her voice displays; and the emotional intensity of her expression, which is especially apparent in the strong connection she makes with audiences.
Pagès fronts a quartet (piano, bass, drums) and a trio (bass, guitar), as well as a duo, Old Hat, with long-time partner Jay Elfenbein (AP on vocals/guitar and JE on electric viola da gamba serving as bass and solo instrument).
On her CD "Andree Pagès Swings Both Ways," the tunes she sings cover a broad spectrum of feeling: from the sultry ballad "Lover Man" to the gay and playful "Moonglow"; from the hard-swinging "St. Louis Blues" to the aching ballad from Porgy and Bess, "My Man's Gone Now," which Clara sings after her fisherman husband has been lost at sea; from the cool class of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" to Cole Porter's faint-with-desire ingénue afraid that "we touch too much" in the rumba "Get Out of Town."
What also sets Pagès apart is her creative interplay at all levels with the musicians she plays with - rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic. Pianist Tom Nelson, bassist and viola da gambist Jay Elfenbein, guitarist Dan Rothstein, and drummer Peter Grant are swinging ensemble players who all get a chance to shine as innovative soloists on this CD. See "The Players" below for their impressive bios.
Pagès has just released a second CD as part of a quintet led by Jay Elfenbein on electric and acoustic gamba. The "GambaDream" CD and "Swings Both Ways" are available at www.elfpagesmusic.com. "Swings Both Ways" is also available at Tower Records at Lincoln Center in New York.
THE CD "SWINGS BOTH WAYS" FEATURES TWO GROUPS AND TWO APPROACHES:
"At the Hotel Club" (tracks 1-7)
Tom Nelson, piano
Jay Elfenbein, bass, viola da gamba
Peter Grant, drums
The rhythmic shimmer of the ivories, the heady fizz of cymbals and champagne, the smell of Chanel, sophistication (a gamba solo?), the allure of smooth moves, dancing cheek to (close-shaven) cheek...
"The Basement Dive" (tracks 8-13)
Dan Rothstein, guitar
Jay Elfenbein, bass
Two players wander into the night and string along an old friend; risky behavior ensues, darker, rawer, looser - mood swings, close shaves of a different kind...
The elegant jazz of pianist Tom Nelson was a staple of the Intercontinental in New York for over ten years, and he now plays regularly at the Drake Hotel. Nelson has performed nationwide with such artists as Junior Cook, Billy Hart, Eddie Locke, George Kelly, and Al Harewood.
Jay Elfenbein's bass-playing has been described by The New York Times as "virtuosic...played magnificently..." and "with virtuosity and flair." He has played and recorded with musicans ranging from Anthony Braxton to Paul Simon, on whose most recent album he can be heard playing early stringed instruments (the vielle and vihuela). He also leads a six-piece band called Gambajazz, which features the viola da gamba as lead solo instrument, whose debut album will be released this winter. The cut of "Sophisticated Lady" on "Swings Both Ways" features a beautiful gamba solo.
Guitarist Dan Rothstein has performed throughout the eastern United States from Nashville to New England. His resume includes extensive appearances in and around New York City at locations including The Bottom Line, The Cotton Club, Beacon Theater, and the American Institute of Guitar.
Drummer Peter Grant has played with such artists as Astrud Gilberto, Peggy Lee, Bob Dorough, and Gerry Mulligan.