Monday, February 10, 2020

A Swift star on the rise

Veronica Swift
Singer Veronica Swift, fresh off a week aboard The Jazz Cruise, brought her musical journey back to Sarasota on Sunday, February 9. Anyone who has heard her knows well that she is graced with an abundance of musical talents. 

She sings. She scats with intelligence and care. She emulates other instruments with uncanny ease. She's a fine lyricist and composer. And she has mastered the difficult art of writing and delivering vocalese - putting words to improvised horn solos. 

All of that was on display at her annual Florida swing with tenor saxophonist Jeff Rupert's quartet. It included Richard Drexler on piano, Marty Morell on drums and Ben Kramer on bass. 

Veronica Swift, Jeff Rupert
The support and interplay the talented players provide Swift is something to savor. Their mini-tour opened with this sold-out performance at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center, a co-production by Jazz With Morrie. 

Fine moments at this Sarasota matinee included their version of "Home Blues" from An American in Paris, Swift's stunning self-penned vocalese to Lester Young's tenor solo on "September in the Rain," the band's romp through Dizzy Gillespie's "Be Bop" (also known as "Dizzy's Fingers"). 
Marty Morell

Swift's vocal emulation of a bass (complete with hand movements) made for a clever trading-fours moment with Kramer. Another fitting gem was her take on "Interlude," which Pete Rugolo wrote for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. It was first recorded by June Christy in 1957. Nakasian covered it in 2002 with her own recorded version. Swift covered it on Confessions.

New York-based Swift, 25, has jazz in her DNA and has been performing and recording since she was a pre-teen. She's the daughter of singer Stephanie Nakasian and late bebop pianist Hod O'Brien.
Veronica Swift

The jazz world at-large is taking notice of her talents. The singer added a couple of new feathers to her cap last week. JazzTimes magazine released the results of its 2019 Reader's Poll. Swift was voted best new artist and her latest CD, Confessions (Mack Avenue, 2019), was voted the year's best vocal recording
Drexler, Swift, Rupert, Kramer, Morell

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