Singer/Songwriter Sylvia Brooks' "Signature" Out On Vinyl July 15th!

Since the release of her captivating debut, 2009’s Dangerous Liaisons, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks has displayed a gift for inhabiting different personas, with a subspecialty in film-noir inspired femmes fatale. On her fourth album, Signature, she embraces the most challenging role of all, defining herself with a set of beautifully crafted original songs. Her evocative lyrics and emotionally direct delivery imbue the music with hard-won authenticity.

Whether looking back with wry affection on her walk-on-the-wild-side youth or lamenting a lost love, Brooks brings bracing honesty and poise to the material. Like on her previous album, 2017’s The Arrangement, she’s keeping company with the Southland’s most creative accompanists. The stellar rhythm section tandem of drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry on almost every track. And ace pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob designed beguiling, harmonically rich settings for her incisive lyrics.

The cautionary tale “Red Velvet Rope” is a bit of a feint. It’s set to a sensuous Latin groove by cuatro master Kiki Valera, scion of a legendary Cuban musical clan. But aside from that Afro-Cuban jaunt, she’s swaying through swingtown, from the witty “Catch 22” to the passionately romantic “The Flea Markets of Paris.” The two songs she includes by other artists, Melody Gardot’s bluesy, organ-driven “Your Heart Is as Black as Night” and the Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson erotic lament “Boogie Street” seem to raise the temperature of her own work.

Signature isn’t her maiden voyage as a songwriter. Brooks included three impressive originals on "The Arrangement", but this album marks a quantum leap reflecting years of concentrated effort. “I really worked hard on trying to make the stories deeper and richer, ” she says. “Each song is really a story within itself.”

Tom Rainer
Christian Jacob
Jeff Colella
Nikos Syropoulos
Kiki Valera
Jamie Arent
Trey Henry
Kevin Axt
Cooper Appelt
Ray Brinker
Aaron Serfaty
Ivan Edwards
John Walz
Mike Kaufman
Stephanie Fife
David Witham
Jeff Bunell
Dave Richards
Brian Scanlon
Tom Luer
Jackie Smiley
Leah Williams
Perro Lou

Your Heart Is as Black as Night (Gardot) 3:27
Catch 22 (Brooks - Colella) 4:46
Red Velvet Rope (Brooks - Marder) 4:18
Over and Done (Brooks - Colella) 3:55
The Boy That Lived There (Brooks - Ranier) 3:47
Sixteen (Brooks - Ranier) 3:34
The Flea Markets of Paris (Brooks - Jacob) 3:59
Holding Back Tears (Brooks - Jacob) 4:26
Boogie Street (Cohen - Robinson) 6:16
Sylvia Brooks is featured on Gail Boyd's Alternative Venues For Jazz!
All About Jazz Review
C. Michael Bailey
June 2022

"Authority" is a word that comes to mind when hearing Sylvia Brooks' Signature. Over three recordings released since 2009, the singer has established herself as a master stylist capable of addressing the broad palette of songs used as vehicles for jazz vocals. She has an affinity for bold, assertive arrangements to support her vocal style of the same. Brooks' previous recording, 2017's The Arrangment (SBM Music) provided ample evidence that the singer could deftly choose arrangers, arrangements, and side personnel, all to cover a disparate repertoire of music. Brooks' logical evolutionary destination now would be original composition.

On Signature Brooks provides seven original compositions that vary from smart to very smart, each surrounded with arrangements by West Coast pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob. The blues dominate "Your Heart Is Black As Night, " while there is a gospel shade to "The Boy That Lived There." "Catch 22" demonstrates Brooks' way with a lyric while Leonard Cohen's "Boogie Street" (the rare "standard" here) brings together voice, arrangement, and performance in a finely-tuned collection coda. Signature is an ambitious offering by Brooks. It is finely produced and sonically stable at a high level. The recording fills the artistic niche of smooth vocal jazz-cum-popular music.
press contacts

Scott Thompson PR e-mail
New York | Palm Beach | Buenos Aires

© 2007