Rising musicians headline OC jazz concert series

COSTA MESA - Sara Gazarek and Sachal Vasandani, two of today's brightest young jazz artists, will debut the 2010-11 jazz series at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with two joint concerts Sept. 24-25 in the Samueli Theater.Tickets are $49 and go on sale Sunday at www.ocpac.org or by calling (714- 556-2787. Gazarek Born and raised in Seattle, Gazarek grew up without much exposure to jazz. Her preliminary jazz education started during high school and, as a senior, she was awarded the first Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Award at the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York. She studied at the Thornton School of Music at USC, and in 2003 was awarded the Downbeat Student Music Award for Best Collegiate Vocalist. Shortly after the publication hit the press, she was asked to perform with Oleta Adams, Karrin Allyson and Diane Schuur as the "as yet undiscovered talent" on the Concord Jazz Festival Tour. Simultaneously, Gazarek joined Barry Manilow, Allyson and Schuur as a Stiletto Entertainment (management) client and was soon being booked by the industry giant William Morris. John Clayton, a mentor and teacher at USC, produced her first album, "Yours," in 2005 and insisted she develop the arrangements herself with the band she'd been performing with. "Yours" ranked in the Top 10 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Charts, Top 10 on the iTunes top Jazz Album Downloads, and No. 4 on the HMV (Japan) chart. Gazarek followed that up with her sophomore effort, "Return to You." Vasandani Vasandani's sophomore CD, "We Move," on Mack Avenue Records was produced with a team of top-flight studio sages. The album finds Vasandani (who also serves as a producer) maturing as songwriter, tune stylist and bandleader in the wake of his breakout 2007 debut, "Eyes Wide Open." Vasandani was born in Chicago and grew up in a household where all kinds of music was appreciated. In pursuing his love for music at the University of Michigan, he began to be recognized as a talent of the future, most notably by Downbeat magazine, which awarded him Collegiate Jazz Vocalist of the Year in 1999. After moving to New York, Vasandani quickly became a part of the jazz scene, and made a musical home in storied clubs like the Zinc Bar. He toured extensively in support of "Eyes Wide Open" and opened for such disparate artists from jazz trumpeter Chris Botti to pop singer Joan Osborne. On "We Move," Vasandani has ample support from his trio comprised of pianist Jeb Patton, bassist David Wong and drummer Quincy Davis, which have worked together as a group since 2001. Two band members contributed songs to "We Move," including Patton's "Horizons" that is paired with the romping, upswing "Once in a While," and Davis composed the music on "Ring Road (Back to You)." In addition to his originals, Vasandani puts his spin on songs from the jazz songbook and canon, including Rogers & Hart's "There's a Small Hotel."

********** Published: August 19, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 18