From the Archive –
Jazz Vocalist, Jackie Ryan, Warms Up A Chilly Northwest Winter
Jackie Ryan, December 13th, 2009, Camano Island, Washington, Jazzvox.com House Concert Series
By E. Joyce Glasgow, www.artsandculturescene.com
*This article was first published in the Seattle Gay News Arts and Entertainment Section, after the concert in 2009. Now that I have a website of my own, I am republishing older articles and photos from my archives as much as possible, since the information about performers is just as valid now as it was then in learning more about these performers and venues.*
Bay Area jazz vocalist, Jackie Ryan is one of the finer vocalists on the scene today. She has a dusky, rich, mature mezzo voice and her singing is filled with expression and nuance. She is a brilliant, emotional interpreter and fluidly moves, charmingly, from playful swing to smoky, sensual ballads with ease and confidence.
It is one of her ballads, “Besame Mucho”, that first drew my attention and interest in hearing her live. I am particularly fond of her singing in Spanish. Ryan has a natural and powerful affinity for expressing in the Spanish language and it suits her deeply feeling, emotional temperament and voice. I think her interpretation of this classic ballad is one of the best I’ve heard.
Ryan performed two sets of songs, accompanied by Seattle jazz pianist, Randy Halberstadt. Halberstadt, a jazz professor at Cornish College, is known among vocalists for his solid playing and sensitivity as a vocal jazz accompanist. The two performed together on the Jazzvox.com vocal jazz house concert series at a lovely home on Camano Island.
Ryan is known for adding lyrics to instrumental numbers and her vocalize performance (creating lyrics to go with what were originally instrumental solos). One such piece she performed was the title cut from her new double CD “Doozy”, a swinging number. She penned the lyrics to Benny Carter’s sax solo from the instrumental piece, “Doozy” which Carter wrote for big band. An interesting bit of trivia: the word “doozy” comes from the word “duesy” from Duesenberg, a giant automobile from the early 20th century, which was larger than a Rolls Royce. Ryan shared interesting information about the history of some of the tunes she sang, which was fascinating and really gave the audience a bit of an education on what we were listening to.
The duo, who had an easy and relaxed interplay, performed a nice variety of tunes in different moods including the upbeat Brazilian number, “No More Blues”, by Jobim; the swinging 1957, Roy Fisher tune, ‘Destination Moon”; the sassy, slightly bawdy, playful 1929 number, “Do Something” (made most famous in recent history by the late icon of jazz, vocalist Betty Carter); a beautiful interpretation of the lovely Johnny Mandel ballad, “A Time for Love” and the bluesy “My How the Time Goes By”, with an especially noteworthy solo on piano, by Halberstadt.
Video of Jackie Ryan singing "Besame Mucho", with the Tamir Hendelman Trio