Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jazzová KLAUSura 5 - Deborah Davis

The next Jazzová KLAUSura concert takes place on December 4th. I was given the honour of writing the programme notes for this event, but because the printed form will be translated into Czech I am making the original English text available here. 

December’s Jazzová KLAUSura brings together one of America’s hottest vocal jazz talents and several young stars of the Czech and Slovak jazz scene, performing together for the first time in what is going to be an intimate and elegant evening of music.

Born in 1956, Deborah moved from her home of Dallas, Texas to New York City in 1986, where she became a leading name in the vibrant Big Apple club scene. She is no stranger to large audiences either, opening for the likes of Eric Clapton, Jamie Cullum and Santana in Monte Carlo. She travels the globe extensively, frequently performing in Russia where she ventures away from the traditional tourist trails and has even toured Siberia. In her own words, music is the Universal Language and she relishes the fun and challenge of playing in new places and with new people, communicating with the band and audience through emotion as much as through the words of the songs she sings.

Following in the footsteps of powerful and charismatic American female vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Deborah has led bands featuring some of the great jazz players of her generation, including Benny Green, Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut and James Williams, and has been called to the stage to jam by artists of the calibre of Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard. In 2004 she and her band were chosen by the U.S. State Department and the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC as Jazz Ambassadors travelling to Latin America with a mission of goodwill and jazz awareness.

Deborah has never been to Prague before, but its reputation as a beautiful place in a country that appreciates music has spread far and wide, and she is looking forward experiencing the city as much as we are looking forward to experiencing her performance. With a wide and varied repertoire to draw from, the one thing we can be sure of is that the music will be honest. "I don't sing many songs that have nothing to do with me, how I feel or who I am. I have to be able to relate, because I'm not acting. I'm singing my story. It doesn't matter if it's Europe, Asia, the U.S., a village of mud huts, a concert, a tour, a wedding, private event or party . I'm singing because I'm happy. I'm singing because I'm free.".

Deborah has recorded and produced three albums under her own name, “No Ways Tired”, “Only Part of Me” and “Compilation”, releasing them on her own label and presenting her interpretations of classic tunes such as “Secret Love” and “The Very Thought of You.” Her current plans involve more extensive touring to bring her music to new places and new audiences, playing both clubs and festivals. One day she hopes to have her own music club, but if that is going to keep her off the road then all fans of good vocal jazz should hope that the dream comes true later rather than sooner.

Sharing the stage with her tonight are some young men who are familiar faces on the European club and festival festival circuit as well as the Prague scene. Slovak pianist Tomáš Jochmann studied at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory, developing an interest in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. Versatile and creative, he specialises in providing skilled and sensitive accompaniment for singers, and has recently performed with Justin Echols, Sarah Tolar and Romina Capitani. Bassist Tomáš "Kaštan" Baroš studied at the Prague College of Music, and in 2004 received one of the prized and prestigious Berklee scholarships. With over 15 years of performances under his belt he is one of the most in-demand Czech bassists of his generation. His partner-in-rhythm is another Slovak, Majo Ševcik. He has recorded and performed with small groups and big bands across Europe, as well as working alongside Baroš with Ida Kelarova and her band Jazz Famelija. He has performed at jazz festivals all over Europe and taken part in Leroy Lowe’s workshops and Juraj Bartos’ Hot House projects. In 2008, he received the “Jazzman of the Year” award,from the Music Fund of Slovakia. Also joining the band is Jan Fečo, the young saxophonist who is rapidly making a name for himself and who is definitely someone to watch in the future.

Deborah Davis has performed for a President before (American-born Reduta sax legend William J Clinton) but tonight we offer a her special welcome to the Autoklub and the unique concert experience of Jazzová KLAUSura. Sit back, relax and enjoy, because this is her story...

Tickets for the concert are available at

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