Rarely does a singer come along in whom virtuosity meets sensitivity. On her debut album, I Want to Be Happy, Jo Lawry
at once tests the limits of technical facility and explores the furthest reaches of musical expression. Her music, steeped in the jazz tradition without being constrained by its traditional forms and functions, demonstrates a unique combination of maturity and inventiveness. Since moving to New York from her native Australia, Jo has become one of the most impressive voices of a new generation of jazz vocalists.
Jo Lawry will be joined by musicians from her debut record in a celebration at Cornelia Street Caf on November 14: James Shipp on vibes/percussion, Keith Ganz on guitar, Matt Clohesy on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums.
In her liner notes Jo says: “When I bid the beautiful South Eastern coast of Australia farewell five years ago, I never dreamt it would be for so long. Since then, I’ve been making a place for myself in New York, enjoying an adventure whose twists and turns are reflected in the songs that I’ve selected and written for this album.”
This debut album features songs and standards arranged beautifully by Ms. Lawry (I Want to Be Happy) as well as sparkling original songs (Small House), thoughtful re-imaginings of pop songs (February and Until) and an infectious Brazilian tune that will leave you breathless (Loro).
Not to be missed are the duo selections. In intimate conversations with guitarist Keith Ganz she neatly takes on the jazz standards I’m Old Fashioned and I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. I Could Have Danced All Night with percussionist James Shipp on pandeiro, a Brazilian tambourine, is a shining example of extraordinary musicianship.
From the beautiful reading of traditional song in The Water is Wide, through the vocal gymnastics of her original In a Spin and culminating in the eclectic powerhouse Tried and Tried, Jo Lawry’s debut album defies classification and shows that she is an artist whose range has not yet been charted.
About Jo Lawry
Born in South Australia, Jo was awarded a 2003 Fulbright Fellowship for study in the United States, which led her to New York where she still resides. There, she studied with such jazz luminaries as Javon Jackson and John Riley, and recorded with Renee Rosnes, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash. She was also a semifinalist in the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Jo Lawry’s performing career since arriving in the US has been exciting and varied. She has performed and/or recorded with Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, and Hal Galper to name a few. Recent projects as a ‘sideman’ have been with Donny McCaslin and Allan Harris, appearing at venues ranging from NYC’s Blue Note and Jazz Gallery to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and collaborations with Kate McGarry and Peter Eldridge have yielded performances at Birdland, the Jazz Standard and Joe’s Pub. Jo is also Artist-in-Residence at the United States Embassy of Australia and has given multiple command performances for both the current and previous Australian Ambassadors.
Most recently, Jo performed with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall, and joined the Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra, a new quartet led by Mr. Hersch. Jo is currently featured as guest vocalist on two new releases for Palmetto Records: Kate McGarry’s “If Less is More… Nothing is Everything” (released August ‘08) and Dr. Lonnie Smith’s upcoming album (scheduled for release early ’09.)
November 14: CD Release Party at Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street, New York City Sets at 9:00 and 10:30PM
CD available at # CDBaby and iTunes. Learn more about Jo at her website.