Lisa Sokolov - singer extraordinaire, professor, music therapist and lay cantor- reaches past conventions of style or vocal technique to free the inner essences of jazz standards, rhythm and blues grooves, Jewish liturgy and modernist poetry in A Quiet Thing, her eagerly anticipated fourth album which will be released on March 4th. Following up on 2004's Presence, which was hailed in a five star Down Beat review as a "masterpiece, " A Quiet Thing features a dozen new virtuosic performances by Sokolov, the New York-based, internationally renowned improviser and originator of Embodied Voicework, a method for expressing the emotive core beyond familiar surfaces of song.

A cappella, accompanying herself on piano, and in close collaborations with empathic associates in studio sessions and live concerts at The Stone in Manhattan, and at the concert hall in Garmisch Parten- Kirchen Germany, Sokolov projects emotional intimacy and immediacy, evoking longing and need, gratification and devotion, connection and solitude. Summoning a vast array of inflections and intonations, shifting timbres and accents within a simple phrase or single word, she makes revelations of "My One and Only Love, " "You Go To My Head, " "You're All I Need to Get By, " "Lush Life, " and "Ol' Man River" - re-conceiving pieces identified with such icons as Johnny Hartman, Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, Nat "King" Cole and Paul Robeson.

Sokolov's own compositions "Dream Haiku" and "She Is Standing" are in climactic sequence with "El Silencio, " a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca. A Quiet Thing is a highly personal album; Sokolov's longtime collaborators bassist Cameron Brown, drummer Gerry Hemingway and pianist John DiMartino support her deftly, as do newer associates violinist Todd Reynolds, and on "Kol Nidre, " her teenage son Jake Sokolov-Gonzalez.

The recordings were selected, Sokolov says, for their success in "getting beyond the artifice into what is essential in each song, past issues of technique to the worlds that live behind these pieces."

Sokolov is a professor at the Experimental Theater Wing of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and former faculty member of NYU's Graduate Program of Music Therapy. She grew up in Long Island. Her father played stride piano ("I was raised on recordings of Mabel Mercer and Art Tatum, " she recalls) and she pursued choral singing and studied piano from an early age.

At 15, she learned to manage pain with breath and sound as alternatives to prescribed Demerol. In high school, she used music to tutor students who had learning disabilities, a vocation she later extended to patients suffering from extreme states of altered psychology. Listening deeply to patients' resonance and breathing patterns, she was able to make contact through singing with a wide range of children and adults. Sokolov wrote her masters thesis on therapeutic voice work and upon its presentation was hired by NYU Grad Music Department. She continues to develop her concepts beyond therapy into the world of human potential and social justice work. She lectures, leads workshops and master classes, and trains artists, therapists, and physicians world-wide with such widely divergent groups as New York's Big Apple Circus and The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Sokolov studied music at Bennington, mentored by jazz icons Bill Dixon, Milford Graves and Jimmy Lyons, classical singer Frank Baker, composers Louis Calabro and Vivian Fine. Establishing herself in New York in 1977, she connected with long-time collaborator bassist William Parker, singers Jeanne Lee and Ellen Christi, pianist-composers Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb and a circle of innovators that grew to include composer-arranger Jim McNeely, pianist Cecil Taylor, bassist Mark Dresser and free drummer Rashied Ali.

While perhaps best known for her acclaimed first three "jazz" CDs, Angel Rodeo, Lazy Afternoon, and Presence, Sokolov is also fascinated with music/theater, contributing to many mixed media projects. Furthermore, raised in a Jewish but non-observant household, in 2001 she educated herself to become a lay cantor (as featured in a CBS television special). She has been filmed and broadcast in performance from Lyon, France, the Havana Jazz Festival and San Jose, Costa Rica. She is currently finishing a book on the role of the voice in culture.

"I see the power of singing as being more profound than mere entertainment, " Sokolov says. "I believe singing is a vehicle by which we connect to both deeper and wider aspects of ourselves."

"I think of A Quiet Thing as a progression, a soul journey, " she explains, "from the opening statement of longing within the straight-ahead standards, into the worldly and romping tunes, there emerges a crises of doubt and solitude, moving into a waking up and ultimate communion with silence. My statement is that it is all right here - you're surrounded by the ecstasy you long for. That realization moves one into a still place, to A Quiet Thing."

A Quiet Thing is being issued on Laughing Horse Records on March 4th; and will be available through public retail sources, in stores and on the Internet.

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