ACCLAIMED SINGER AND SONGWRITER
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY
CELEBRATES HER NEW CD FROM TELARC JAZZ
WITH TWO WEEKS OF CONCERTS AT DIZZY’S CLUB COCA-COLA AT JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER, 2/17-3/1
AND A FREE IN-STORE PERFORMANCE AND SIGNING AT BARNES & NOBLE, 2/16
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY, the platinum-selling singer and songwriter, will celebrate the release of her new CD AT LAST with two weeks of concerts at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (60th Street and Broadway) from February 17 to March 1. She will be joined by Ted Rosenthal on piano, Jay Leonhart on bass and Victor Lewis on drums. Shows are at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM. Please call (212) 258-9595 for tickets or visit jalc.org.
On Monday, February 16 at 6:00 PM, join Ann at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Center (1972 Broadway at 66th Street) for their Cool Mondays Jazz series. She will perform a few selections from the new recording and sign CDs.
AT LAST is a mix of jazz standards, versatile pop songs and a couple original tunes, each woven together to create a narrative that is perhaps as cinematic as it is musical. It’s an album-as-art-form approach that is rapidly disappearing in the burgeoning digital age,” says Callaway. “I always think of CDs like movies,” she says. “You wouldn’t download one scene from a movie. You want the whole thing, the whole story. An album shouldn’t be just a bunch of songs in a sequence that’s front-loaded with hits. It’s really about creating an emotional journey that starts in one place and ends in a place that’s very different.”
Along with her on the journey are her core trio of pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Victor Lewis. Guest musicians include guitarist Rodney Jones, violinist Mads Tolling, saxophonist Teodross Avery, flugelhornist Marvin Stamm, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and percussionist Emedin Rivera.
The opening track, a cool and smoky reading of Cole Porter’s classic “What Is This Thing Called Love?” serves as the thesis for the remainder of the set. “That’s something I feel like I’ve been trying to figure out for most of my life,” says Callaway. On the bluesy follow-up, “Comes Love,” Wycliffe Gordon’s playful trombone work serves as the perfect foil for Callaway’s slinky vocals. “I think Wycliffe’s work on this song is one of my favorite trombone solos that I’ve ever heard on any recording,” says Callaway. “I told him, ‘I want you to be my boyfriend on this song. I want you to talk to me, and I want you to have fun with me and seduce me.’ It was just so exciting, and I always laugh and smile when I hear the energy that he put into this song.”
The emotionally-drenched title track took on a life of its own in the studio, says Callaway. The original arrangement was something much more straightforward and understated, but producer Elaine Martone had other ideas. “She said, ‘Ann, this is a real statement that you’re making with this song. I feel like you have much more to say here than what this arrangement calls for,’” says Callaway. “So we took it to a whole new place in just a few minutes. It became a much more passionate, unbridled version of the song.”
Further in, Callaway’s rendition of Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide” is greatly enhanced by the dual efforts of guitarist Rodney Jones and violinist Mads Tolling. “I thought this was a very powerful song,” says Callaway. “The more I sang it, the more I loved it. I’m so haunted by it.”
Callaway admits that recording the classic “Over the Rainbow” was a daunting task, but given the versatility of the song – the degree to which it speaks to so many of life’s trials and challenges – the range of possible interpretations is actually very wide. “It was wonderful to finally record this song,” says Callaway, who has sung it many times in her live performances. “A song can accumulate so many powerful emotional imprints of life experiences, so that when you take it into the studio, the various emotions that are captured in that moment of recording – the flashes of memories and feelings and experiences – all come to you.”
The closing “On My Way To You” is the clear coda to At Last. “This song is really the perfect summation of embracing all the heartaches and the joys that result when someone captures your heart,” says Callaway. “It’s my way of celebrating and embracing everything that it takes to find love in your life and to be ready for it. I think you have to sort of mourn your losses and accept the fact that life will break your heart, but it will put it back together in a better way than you can imagine, if you’re open to it.”
In the end, says Callaway, At Last is just as much about self-discovery as it is about discovering that other person who completes the emotional picture. “I think this is probably my most honest CD to date, and I hope people feel the impact of me letting go of some of my perfectionism,” she says. “Letting go, and just becoming as me as possible, is a lot of what I’ve tried to do in the last few years. I think it takes a long time to find the thing that’s uniquely you. As I get older, I seem to be getting closer to that discovery.”
Ann Hampton Callaway, one of the most acclaimed singers in contemporary music, is a statuesque performer who also dazzles music lovers as a pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, and educator. Her upcoming CD At Last will be released by Telarc International in February 2009. Ann’s talents have made her equally at home in jazz and pop as well as on stage, in the recording studio, on TV and in film. She starred in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and wrote and sang the theme to the internationally successful TV series, “The Nanny.” Ann is a devoted keeper-of-the-flame of the great American songbook. She brings fresh and original interpretations to these timeless classics and works to uphold the canon by writing songs with Cole Porter, Carole King, Barbara Carroll and others. Her spontaneity, intelligence, and soulful charisma have won her a diverse fan-base including notables as Barbra Streisand, Clive Davis, Carly Simon and Wynton Marsalis.
Her previous CD is Blues In The Night on Telarc Records, featuring the all-female Diva Jazz Orchestra. Her new PBS-TV variety show “Singers Spotlight with Ann Hampton Callaway” just aired in Chicago with special guests Liza Minnelli and 2007 Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole. National broadcasts will start soon. Ann made her Hollywood screen debut opposite Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in the Robert DeNiro film The Good Shepherd singing the standard “Come Rain Or Come Shine.” She also sang “Isn’t It Romantic” and “The Nearness of You” in the recent feature film Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah.
The New York Times writes, “For sheer vocal beauty, no contemporary singer matches Ms. Callaway.” Ann has become a favorite in the jazz and pops concert circuit, appearing as special guest artist with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood. She has sung with over twenty five of the nation’s top orchestras and big bands. Her performances in the Carnegie Hall tributes to Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Harold Arlen were memorable and show-stopping. She performed for President Clinton in Washington D.C. and was the invited guest performer for President Gorbachev’s Youth Peace Summit in Moscow.
Recently, she returned to Moscow for a sold-out engagement with Russian jazz star Igor Butman at Le Club. Ann performed with her sister, Broadway star Liz Callaway, in their award winning show, “Sibling Revelry” at London’s Donmar Warehouse and their recent show “Relative Harmony” has received rave notices. She performed with the BBC Big Band at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland at The Queen’s Hall for the Jubilee Celebration and had a highly successful concert tour throughout Australia and New Zealand. Ann has performed twice in Berlin’s famed Philharmonie Hall by special invitation. She takes time out of her schedule to teach master classes during her travels, reaching out to a new generation of aspiring singers.
Ann’s 2004 CD, Slow, (Shanachie Entertainment), garnered high critical acclaim and is her most emotionally revealing and pop inspired album to date. Ann has recorded two popular holiday CD’s – Holiday Pops! with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and her solo CD, This Christmas (Angel/After 9). Her recording Signature (After 9) features the signature songs of the great jazz legends of the 20th century, performed with pianist Kenny Barron and guest artist Wynton Marsalis. Other CD recordings include Easy Living (After 9), To Ella With Love (After 9), After Hours (Denon), Bring Back Romance (DRG), Ann Hampton Callaway (DRG) and the award winning live recording, Sibling Revelry (DRG). She has also been a guest artist on over forty CDs.
She has composed over 250 songs for television, Broadway, off-Broadway and several of today’s leading interpreters of songs. Her music and lyrics have been performed and recorded by Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Michael Feinstein, Blossom Dearie, Peter Nero, Karrin Allyson, Donna McKechnie, Harvey Fierstein, Lillias White, Barbara Carroll, Amanda McBroom, Liz Callaway and Carole King herself. One of Ann’s songwriting highlights was writing “Tonight You’re All Mine” with Ms. King in the studio the same day it was recorded for the CD Slow. Carole was so generous that she even produced the track and sang back up vocals.
Another milestone was composing “At the Same Time” for Barbra Streisand and having Ms. Streisand record the peace anthem ten years to the date she wrote it. That recording, Higher Ground, debuted nationally at #1, giving Ann her first of three platinum records. Ms. Streisand asked Ann to write lyrics to a Rolf Lovland melody, which she entitled “I’ve Dreamed of You”. Ms. Streisand received the song three hours before she was getting married and sang the song to James Brolin at their wedding. She later recorded it for her CD, A Love Like Ours, released as a single and selected it for The Essential Barbra Streisand. She performed both of these songs on her live double CD, Timeless, for which Ann also wrote patter by Barbra’s request. Ms. Streisand later chose Ann’s song “A Christmas Lullaby” for her holiday CD, Christmas Memories.
The Cole Porter Estate officially recognizes Ann Hampton Callaway as the only composer to have collaborated with Cole Porter, having set her music to his posthumously discovered lyric, “I Gaze In Your Eyes.” It was first recorded by Ann for Ben Bagley’s Cole Porter Revisited series. Later, the song was recorded by Elaine Paige and was featured in the West End hit musical revue “A Swell Party”. Ann was one of the creators of the Broadway musical “SWING!” writing the delightful “Two and Four” as well as several additional lyrics to the standards in the Tony and Grammy nominated score.
Ms. Callaway’s performances have been seen on numerous TV shows including The Today Show, CNN’s Larry King Live, The Charlie Rose Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and ABC News. She starred in “Midnight Swing” for the PBS television special “Live From Lincoln Center” and was featured in another PBS special with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. She performed two songs for the NBC Special “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” and has made two appearances on NBC’s “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”.
Her voice has been heard in numerous TV jingles and voiceovers including spots for Coca Cola, Ethan Allen and State Farm. Ann has also done extensive broadcasting for Sirius Satellite Radio as a performer, DJ and interviewer. She is in discussion about hosting a TV talk/variety show for singers and singer-songwriters. In 2004, Ann was featured in the role of Mrs. White in the award winning film Volare for Jim Henson Productions, directed by Tamela D’Amico. Ann is currently writing songs for the upcoming movie musical State Of Affairs, directed by Philip McKinley.
Ms. Callaway’s honors include receiving a Tony Award nomination for her work in Swing!, and winning the Theatre World Award for “Outstanding Broadway Debut.” She has garnered an unsurpassed fourteen awards from The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, two Backstage Bistro Awards, The 2005 Nightlife Award, The Johnny Mercer Songwriter Award and The Norman Vincent Peale Award For Positive Thinking.
In September 2005, Ann performed her original composition “Let the Saints Come Marching”, written to honor Hurricane Katrina victims, on a national TV broadcast on the Fox News Channel. Her song “Who Can See the Blue the Same Again?” was released earlier in 2005 as a single, paying tribute to the tsunami survivors and raising much needed money for The Tsunami Fund of The PRASAD Project. In the aftermath of September 11th, Ann composed the stirring anthem, “I Believe in America”, which she performed on Larry King Live and released as a CD single. Just days after the tragedy, Ann heard an 8,000 year old prayer from the Rig Veda and composed the world renowned “Let Us Be United”. Ann recorded the song with Kenny Werner, The Siddha Yoga International Choir and five-year-old Sonali Beaven, who sang in honor of her father who lost his life on Flight 93. It was released on CD and DVD and its proceeds continue to benefit Save the Children and The PRASAD Project.