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Buy/Acheter "Leslie Lewis & Gerard Hagen in New York"

In November of 2011 Leslie and Gerard were in New York City to perform and give a masterclass at the Lehman College Jazz Festival. An opportunity to record arose and they decided to make a duo recording of voice and piano. Leslie wanted to sing some of the songs that as a young girl had attracted her to jazz.  She also had some favorite songs that were recorded by Nancy Wilson and Cleo Laine, two singers she loved to listen to at a young age. They spent two afternoons in the studio and came away with nine tracks.  The sessions were pretty relaxed since they both had spent quite of bit of time together on the bandstand and had a pretty good idea of what to expect musically from one another. The music reflects a comfort level that allows for songs to unfold on their own time and never feel hurried or uneasy.

 

Once they returned home to California there were other recording projects to be released, other performances to do and also a move from California to Paris that required much time and energy so it has taken a while for this recording to get it’s day in the sun.  Leslie and Gerard are very happy to have had the opportunity to document their musical partnership. Their duo forms the musical core which can be expanded by adding bassists, drummers as well as horn players. 

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Buy/Acheter "Midnight Sun"

Following “Of Two Minds” 2008 and “Keeper Of The Flame” 2010, “Midnight Sun” is the third release by jazz vocalist Leslie Lewis and the Gerard Hagen Trio (Gerard Hagen piano, Domenic Genova bass, Jerry Kalaf drums) on the Surf Cove Jazz label.  Like their previous recordings, “Midnight Sun” features guest artists, in this case trombonist Joey Sellers and tenor saxophonist Chuck Manning.  GERARD: “Both Joey and Chuck are willing to jump into any musical situation and they are fearless improvisors.  Since Leslie approaches her repertoire with new eyes on every performance, they are perfect collaborators for her.”

 

One of the aspects of this music is space used in the way Leslie phrases the melodies. GERARD:“Leslie and I played the tunes a few times and as she sang the way she felt them I would notate what she sang.  This is how we came up with the treatment for the melodies.”  “Midnight Sun” uses 5 bar phrases and “It’s Alright With Me” alternates between meters of 4/4 and 3/4 time.  Leslie makes these phrases sound natural, as though this is the way these melodies have always been sung.   

 

At the beginning of 2011 Gerard added Joey and Chuck as guest artists on a monthly job his trio had with Leslie.  At each performance they learned more about the sound of the group and eventually Gerard began writing arrangements that featured Leslie with the two horns.  These arrangements became the repertoire for “Midnight Sun”.  GERARD: “I had always loved the combined sound of tenor sax and trombone.  The register of those instruments fits well with Leslie’s voice. Only after we had performed the music live a few times and then recorded it did it dawn on me that Leslie had chosen a repertoire of songs about love in all it’s varied states.  I don’t what, if anything, that means!”

 

The repertoire covers the American song book from George Gershwin and Cole Porter to Burt Bacharach and Paul McCartney, all with Leslie’s trademark swinging rhythm and colorful voice.

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Buy/Acheter "Song For Leslie"

Back in 1995 Jerry Kalaf subbed for the drummer on a club date I had booked. That was when he and I first talked of forming a trio. The idea was that in order to create music from a deeper, more seasoned, place than many jazz groups which, due to the economics of our industry, rarely have the opportunity develop their music over long periods of time, we would commit to working in a jazz group that would exist for the long haul. We both felt the trio format gave us the best opportunity both musically and logistically to function as a working unit for an extended period of time. Jerry suggested I invite bassist Domenic Genova and after a few playing sessions the group was formed. Incredibly it’s now seventeen years later!

 “Song For Leslie” is the result of my desire to document my trio one more time before my wife, jazz vocalist Leslie Lewis, and I leave Los Angeles for Europe. Previously the trio had recorded two CD’s “Far Horizons” (Resurgent Music 1998) and “Stay Tuned” (Sea Breeze Jazz 2000). In 2005 I began working as Leslie’s music director and naturally I have used the trio as the rhythm section for her performances and recordings. As musical desires and budgets allowed, the group was augmented with horn soloists and horn sections. Leslie and these groups made three great recordings of which I am very proud (“Of Two Minds” 2008, “Keeper Of The Flame” 2010, “Midnight Sun” 2012) all on a label we founded called SURF COVE JAZZwww.surfcovejazz.comDuring this time my trio continued to perform but we did not record as an instrumental unit. “Song For Leslie” was an opportunity to document some original music Jerry and I had written as well as make a snapshot of where this group is after these many years of working together.

 “464 Blues” is a line I wrote which has two phrases that end up in 6/4 time. I was also experimenting with some alternate blues changes. “Song For Leslie” is a composition I wrote to be performed at our wedding as a surprise for Leslie. It replaced a song she really liked and wanted performed so I was very nervous that she would like my piece at least as much as what she had expected to hear. Jerry is a very accomplished composer and arranger. Over the years he has written many tunes that have ended up in our book. I have often joked that we are doing a Jerry Kalaf Memorial Set as I call his tunes back to back on our gigs. He contributed “Where’s Gerard?” a very nice waltz inspired by a change of residence I went through and “Looking At The Despair Calendar” a very poignant ballad that has one of the most interesting bridges I've encountered.

  All musicians find standards that they love to play and never seem to tire of. We recorded some of my favorites to go along with our originals. "My Romance" is done in 3 with some solo space added to the form. "A Weaver Of Dreams" has a great set of changes that offer all kinds of musical opportunities. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is a vehicle for Domenic to show his melodic sensibilities. Among his many talents Domenic is a very good accompanist. He finds ways to fill in the spaces and still leaves room for the music to breathe.

 This recording is a way for my friends and I to both say a musical goodbye and have a celebration of a great musical journey. Although after all these years, it really isn’t so much a goodbye as an opportunity to see what will happen next. Until then...

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Buy/Acheter "Keeper Of The Flame"

"Keeper Of The Flame" is Leslie Lewis' follow up recording to "Of Two Minds" 2008.  It is a vocal jazz recording of (mostly) Brazilian music with a few standards done (again mostly) in a Brazilian style. The music has those things that make it feel like Jazz!  Leslie has taken these songs and put her imprint on them with the support of the Gerard Hagen Trio (Gerard Hagen piano, Domenic Genova bass, Jerry Kalaf drums) and guest artist Gary Foster (saxophone/flute).  Some of the composers represented are Antonio Carlos Jobim, Richard Rodgers, Mark Levine, Ivan Lins,  and Kurt Weill.   The music has a rhythmic energy that propels these songs in an engaging and dynamic fashion.

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Buy/Acheter "Of Two Minds"

"Of Two Minds" is an important step for Leslie Lewis as an artist. This recording is her point of view as it were, she chose the music, and discussed with Gerard Hagen (the producer), the direction she wanted the music to take, and the arrangements were written accordingly. This process created music which was truly "Of Two Minds." Leslie has always looked for ways to stretch her abilities and singing the music of Thelonius Monk proved to be one of those opportunities. The way she embraced his music apparent on the recording and even more so in her live performances of these tunes. Leslie rarely performs a tune in the same way twice, tempos, meters, rhythmic feels, all change according to the moment. The music is constantly evolving from one performance to the next. Consequently, to record her performance of a song doesn't really give a listener the full measure of the musical potential she hears in each song. It is simply how she feels the music at that moment. The working relationship Leslie has developed with the Gerard Hagen Trio, born of many hours on the bandstand, was easily extended to include some of Los Angeles' finest jazz musicians. A horn section of Gary Foster alto sax/alto flute, Rob Lockart tenor sax, Ron Stout trumpet, provided a sonic palette from which many moments of beauty, excitement, and pure joy are to be found throughout this recording. Larry Koonse added his talents playing nylon string guitar to Nature Boy rounding out a well thought out program of tunes. Nine selections which represent a fraction of Leslie's musical abilities and bring a promise of much more to come from this amazing artist

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Buy/Acheter "Far Horizons"

"Far Horizons" (Resurgent Music) is the debut recording for the Gerard Hagen Trio. The goal was to have a trio that would make a long term commitment. This was the beginning of seventeen years of music making.  It features the trio on four tracks and as an added bonus alto saxophonist Gary Foster performs on five tracks.  The recording ends with a solo piano track from Gerard.

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Buy/Acheter "Stay Tuned"

"Stay Tuned" (Sea Breeze Jazz) is the product of a number of musical associations Gerard Hagen enjoyed with some favorite musicians.  Henry Franklin, Chuck Manning, and Larry Koonse join the Gerard Hagen Trio for an exciting recording which includes standards as well as original compositions.  GERARD:"I was lucky enough to have so many great players to work with  decided to try to capture some of what was going on at our live dates on this recording."

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Concerts

  • June 2, 2017
    Monteverdi Leslie et Gérard Duo. ,  Paris,
     
  • June 3, 2017
    Monteverdi Leslie et Gérard Duo. ,  Paris,
     
  • June 8, 2017
    Chez Papa Jazz Club Leslie et Gérard Duo. ,  Paris,
     

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