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Monika Herzig - The Whole World In Her Hands

On her debut Whaling City Sound release, pianist/composer/arranger/author/jazz educator - Monika Herzig, is poised to take the world by storm with her star-studded album, The Whole World in Her Hands.

It's not surprising that great talent is at the center of Herzig's work. In this stunning and contemporary project, Monika showcases her artistry and those of her collaborators. Her vision clearly in place, Herzig brilliantly re-arranged, re-harmonized and re-imagined the traditional spiritual, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." She then collaborated with Producer Suzi Reynolds to create a strong historic statement with this recording assembling an array of internationally notable jazz women. Her intelligence and depth are audible in these songs, from originals to unique arrangements of current hits. Their talents are on full display as instrumentalists, collaborators and composers here. On this recording, each player finds the world in the instrument at her fingertips.

Beyond this historic fact is the music itself and the cohesion of the ensemble playing it, impressive on any level. This is a variation on the theme most would recognize as being how great jazz records have been made independent, creative artists meet and discover their alchemy as a group, and fearlessly dive into new material. Bringing the likes of guitarist Leni Stern (Germany/NYC), percussionist Mayra Casales (Cuba), flutist/saxophonist Jane Bunnett (Canada), drummer Arianna Fanning (Indian-American), trombonist Reut Regev (Israel), flutist Jamie Baum (USA/NYC), alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (USA/NYC) and bassists Linda Oh (Malaysia/Australia), Anna Butterss (Australia) and Jennifer Vincent, also featured on cello (USA), together to play this panoply of music has created a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its impressive parts.

Herzig says of the record, "I'm really excited about how this project came together and what all of these women have been able to accomplish. Producer Suzi Reynolds helped us shape the music based on her long and successful track record of leading projects and managing artists. She captured this large, live and immediate sound from a studio recording with a sensitive and firm vision. My goal and hope is to offer this work as model for young women contemplating a career in music by seeing and hearing what these women from all over the world have managed to accomplish, despite many difficulties."

To know the woman who created this work is to further appreciate the music she makes. Monika Herzig is a fearless and complete jazz artist touring internationally as a pianist, bandleader, author and advocate for the music, its genres and its players.

In 1987, the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany awarded a scholarship for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama to one of their students, jazz pianist Monika Herzig. Together with her partner and guitarist, (now husband) Peter Kienle, she arrived in the States on a one-way ticket, one suitcase of belongings and one guitar in August 1988. Since then, she has completed her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member.

Much like Marian McPartland before her, Monika's influence in jazz is felt far beyond her pianistic skill. Her lauded biography "David Baker A Legacy in Music" and was singled out by the AAUP as "outstanding, " upon its release in November 2011 on IU Press. And her forthcoming "A Listener's Guide To Chick Corea" (Rowan & Littlefield) is due out in 2017. Herzig's outreach work has taken her from teaching at Indiana University to co-founding the "Girls Create Music" songwriting camp, serving on the Executive Board of The Jazz Education Network (JEN) since its inception, while tirelessly advocating for women in music. Herzig has also received "The 2015 Jazz Hero Award" by the Jazz Journalists Association, won Downbeat Magazine's "Best Original Song" Award for her composition "Let's Fool One" and has received multiple artist grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and acclaim for her twelve album releases. Few musicians of Monika's depth and skill have the gift of creating a community in support of their musical vision and of the music showcasing the talents of others as well as their own. She is that artist.

"Female musicians are now practitioners on all instruments. They win competitions and polls, lead bands large and small, and are as likely as their male counterparts to set new trends in improvised music. To which need be added only that, from a strictly musical perspective, The Whole World In Her Hands is powerful." Bob Blumenthal Grammy Winning Journalist

Herzig's newest recording, The Whole World in Her Hands features international jazz women leaders from all corners of the globe, many of Monika's originals and several by her new bandmates. This groundbreaking project was also crafted by noted Producer, Suzi Reynolds, and is slated for release in June 2016 on Whaling City Sound Records. JazzTimes



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