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JAN 13: Echo Prize-Winning Singer Lucia Cadotsch Plays Sound It Out @ Greenwich House, 6:30pm

Echo Prize-Winning Jazz Singer Lucia Cadotsch Makes Her U.S. Debut in January 2018 with Her Berlin-Based Speak Low Trio Featuring Saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and Bassist Petter Eldh

Lucia appears with her Speak Low trio in New York City on January 13 as part of a Sound It Out series double-bill at Greenwich House

Lucia, Otis & Petter will be performing music from their debut album, Speak Low, which earned five-star raves in both DownBeat and The Guardian along with glowing reviews for its companion remix album, Speak Low Renditions

“When Cadotsch sings standards with her kindred-spirit trio mates, Sandsjö on tenor saxophone and Eldh on double-bass, songs from a half-century ago feel renewed, as timeless art is refracted through a modernist prism. With no harmony instrument and the uncanny blend of these three performers – the cool precision of the vocalist, the free-jazz edge of the instrumentalists – such songs as ‘Willow Weep for Me’ and ‘Moon River’ have fresh textural and emotional resonance.” — DownBeat

With a sharp-eared love of the past but a sensibility resolutely of the present, new-era jazz singer Lucia Cadotsch’s trio Speak Low – featuring tenor saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and double-bassist Petter Eldh – reanimates songs long seemingly set in amber. Hailing from their adopted home of Berlin, Germany, these three musicians come at the Great American Songbook from a European angle, their “retro-futurist” sound as informed by remix culture and free jazz as by their appreciation for classic vocal records. Reviewing the group’s eponymous debut album of 2016, Speak Low (Yellow Bird/Enja), The Guardian declared: “Remember the name Lucia Cadotsch – you’re going to be hearing a lot of it, ” adding: “Cadotsch is a young, Zurich-born vocalist who possesses a classical clarity, a folk singer’s simplicity and an appetite for performing very famous songs (‘Moon River, ’ ‘Don’t Explain, ’ ‘Strange Fruit’) in the company of two edgy free-jazz instrumentalists, who flank her sedate progress with split-note sax sounds and spiky basslines with percussive strumming. In this compelling trio’s hands, the process is remarkably melodious and illuminating... It’s all eerily beautiful.” Along with glowing reviews, Lucia won the 2017 Echo Jazz Prize – the German equivalent of a Grammy Award – for Best Vocalist of the Year for Speak Low. She and her Swedish friends Otis and Petter bring the bittersweet repertoire of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln and Dinah Washington vividly alive for a new generation of listeners, as well as for veteran music lovers in search of fresh treatments of these timeless songs.

Lucia, Otis & Petter bring Speak Low to New York City for the first time in January 2018. The trio performs on Saturday January 13 in the Sound It Out series at Greenwich House Music School, with pianist Elias Stemeseder as a special guest for a couple of tunes on both nights. The Greenwich House show will be part of a special 6:30pm double-bill with Jagged Spheres – featuring Stemeseder, saxophonist Anna Webber and drummer Devin Gray – on the second half. Greenwich House Music School is located at 46 Barrow St. in New York City’s Greenwich Village. (More venue details below.)

Profiled in DownBeat magazine, Lucia explained the individualistic approach she takes with the trio: “I want to be subtle and melodic in my phrasing, but I also need roughness and intensity in music. Otis and Petter say in the songs what I don’t say myself. While I’m the still center, they can storm around me.” Alluding to the act of stripping nostalgia from this repertoire, Otis added: “Our common unsentimental approach to these melodies takes away the glossiness that these beautiful songs can often get stuck in.”

Discussing their arrangements, Lucia said: “What we do is like sampling culture in hip-hop. We might quote a detail from an old recording, but change the register and tempo and then loop it into our arrangement organically.” As DownBeat noted, they turn a high-register clarinet part in “Deep Song” from a Billie Holiday LP into a bass line; they echo an intro improv seen in a live Nina Simone video of “Ain’t Got No” in their arrangement; they repurpose a marimba line in Johnny Hartman’s version of “Slow, Hot Wind” as an outro hymn melody. Germany’s Jazzpodium described these reinventions as “like a musical night trip… urban, with an analog directness and a sheer boundless freedom in its approach to interpretation and sound.” And the DownBeat review of Speak Low and its remix-album follow-up, Speak Low Renditions, hailed the trio’s creative approach overall: “Such is the spell that Cadotsch, Sandsjö and Eldh cast that it can make one feel that this is the only way age-old standards should be approached: not slavishly but fearlessly, with an unfettered imagination approaching that of the songs’ originators.”

The trio’s distinctive black-and-white videos for Speak Low have a European art-house feel, as with the official album trailer here. There is also a gorgeous one-shot music video for “Slow Hot Wind, ” as well as live videos for “Speak Low” and “Strange Fruit” / “Ain’t Got No, ” among others. Touching upon their European roots, Lucia, Otis & Petter have lately added to their live repertoire an arrangement by the great Italian modernist Luciano Berio of the Anglo-American folk song “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair, ” as well as an English translation of the dark “Ballad of the Drowned Girl” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. About the storytelling resonance of old songs, whether sung by Lotte Lenya or Billie Holiday, Lucia concludes: “Times change, but humans don’t seem to, for better and worse.”

SOUND IT OUT SERIES 2018

Greenwich House Music School: 46 Barrow Street, just west of 7th Avenue South in New York City’s West Village; greenwichhouse.org, 212-242-4770
sounditoutnyc.com • facebook.com/sounditoutnyc • twitter.com/sounditoutnyc

Saturday January 13, 6:30pm — Lucia Cadotsch’s Speak Low + Jagged Spheres
Double-bill: Speak Low: Lucia Cadotsch, vocals; Otis Sandsjö, tenor sax; Petter Eldh, bass + Jagged Spheres: Anna Webber, tenor sax; Elias Stemeseder, piano; Devin Gray, drums
Thursday January 18, 8:00pm — Aurora Nealand & Friends
Aurora Nealand, soprano saxophone & vocals; Shannon Stewart, dancing/choreography; Brad Walker, saxophone; Cliff Hines, guitar; Paul Thibodeaux, drums
Saturday January 27, 7:30pm — ESP-Disk Celebrates 55 Years!
Multi-act bill: Ken Kobayashi, Megumi Yonezawa & Masa Kamaguchi + TALIBAM! Hard Vibe with Matt Nelson & Ron Stabinsky + Stephen Dydo & Alan Sondheim + Kali Fasteau
Saturday February 10, 8:00pm — Jim Black Trio
Jim Black, drums/compositions; Elias Stemeseder, piano; Thomas Morgan, double-bass
Thursday February 15, 8:00pm — Brandon Ross’ Immortal Obsolescence
Brandon Ross, guitars & vocals; Graham Haynes, cornet & electronics; Stomu Takeishi, acoustic bass guitar; JT Lewis, drums
Saturday March 3, 7:30pm — Daniel Levine’s Knuckleball + Santiago Liebson Trio
Double-bill: Daniel Levine, trumpet; Marc Hannaford, piano & Devin Gray, drums + Santiago Liebson, piano; Michael Formanek, double-bass & Devin Gray, drums
Saturday March 10, 8:00pm — Michaël Attias Quartet
Michaël Attias, alto saxophone; Aruan Ortiz, piano; John Hébert, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums
Saturday April 21, 7:30pm — MOPDtK + Nick Millevoi & Ron Stabinsky
Double-bill: Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Moppa Elliott, double-bass; Ron Stabinsky, piano & Kevin Shea, drums + Nick Millevoi, guitar & Ron Stabinsky, piano
Friday May 11, 7:30pm — Anthony Coleman + Ellery Eskelin
Double-bill: Anthony Coleman, solo piano + Ellery Eskelin, solo tenor saxophone
 
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