Linda Presgrave, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, relocated to New York City in 1998 leaving a very active music career in her native city of St. Louis. Since that time she has recorded four jazz CDs as a leader on the METROPOLITAN RECORDS label. On her newest CD, INSPIRATION, Linda continues in her exploration of compositions by jazz artists “who happen to be women”. This time around she recorded once again with her favorite jazz bassist Harvie S, her producer/husband Stan Chovnick on soprano sax along with the “inspirational” drummer Allison Miller and the newest addition to the Metropolitan Records artist roster, tenor saxophonist Todd Herbert. The CD consists of six tracks of originals by Linda inspired by people, places and things plus works by Joanne Brackeen, Melba Liston, Bertha Hope and Billie Holiday. Lindahas received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. This recording has helped to bring attention not only to her pianistic abilities but also to her compositional skills.
All of Linda’s jazz recordings as a leader on Metropolitan Records include her original jazz compositions. Linda is dedicated to helping keep jazz a viable living cultural art form by composing music that is very accessible to the public. Linda’s original music is featured as well on two of the label’s compilations entitled A Jazz Christmas: That Special Time of Year and Ballads in Jazz. These two compilations feature some of the finest jazz artists on the jazz scene today.
Linda’s third recording, The Journey, serves as the beginning of her personal discovery and interest in the music of “inspirational jazz artists who happen to be women”. One of Linda’s missions is to bring attention to little known jazz works by women. The works on this CD were recorded by Linda’s working quartet along with famed jazz artists including Oliver Lake on alto saxophone and flute, Harvie S on bass and Eric Allen on drums. Her second CD, The Linda Presgrave Quartet – LIVE, is an auditory souvenir of her group’s year long engagement at the famed Warwick New York Hotel. Linda’s debut CD as a leader, In Your Eyes, was recorded shortly after she arrived in NYC and featured top jazz artists including John Stubblefield on tenor saxophone, Brian Lynch on trumpet, Harvie S and Carline Ray on bass, Cecil Brooks III and Wade Barnes on drums.
Linda has been a featured artist on the stage of the prestigious JVC Jazz Festival, New York as a part of the International Women in Jazz Festival Special Event Concert on three separate dates with her own quartet, as a member of the International Women in Jazz Ensemble and also as a member of the International Women in Jazz All-Stars.
Linda’s European performance debut grew out of one of those JVC Jazz Festival performances. She was invited to perform as the pianist and as a composer with Ritmi E Voci Dell’International Women in Jazz, New York in Frascati, Italy as a part of the festival ControCanto:Donne in Jazz sponsored by Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica. Linda was invited back to Italy to perform on the same concert series two more times with her own group, The Linda Presgrave Quartet, at Scuderie Aldobranzini (Frascati), the University of Rome (Rome) and also at Casa Internazionale delle Donne (Rome). As a result of these performances with Donne in Musica, Linda was invited to perform on the Gala Concert: A Celebration of Women in Music at the first ever World Forum on Music in Los Angeles. Her performance in Los Angeles led to another invitation – this time to perform in Europe once again as a featured jazz artist on the VI. FESTIVAL INTERNATIONALDE MUSIQUE EN CATALOGNE which took place at Place Picasso in Céret, France and an additional concert in Le Boulou, France.
Linda continues to appear on many of New York’s most prestigious jazz festivals, stages and venues with her own group and also as a member of other jazz combos and ensembles. Previous past performances include Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center , the IRIDIUM Jazz Club, the Third Annual Women in Jazz Festival at Saint Peter’s (aka as the “Jazz Church”), Sweet Rhythm, Flushing Town Hall, Cornelia Street Café, Detour and the Uptown Lounge at Minton’s to name a few. Some of the notable venues outside of New York where Linda has appeared are Jazz at the Bistro (St. Louis), Cookie’s Jazz and More (St. Louis), Just Jazz (St. Louis), Jazz at Holmes Series - Washington University (St. Louis), Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) with the Astoria Big Band and Nighttown (Cleveland, OH).
Before arriving on the New York jazz scene, Linda performed with her own group, After Six Jazz as well as with the Sessions Big Band, the Modern Vintage Jazz Quartet and the Kim Portnoy Jazz Orchestra. As a former professional French Horn player, she performed regularly at the MUNY, FOX and RIVERPORT theaters in orchestral settings behind top entertainers, world class ballet ensembles and national theatrical productions.
Quotes from Reviewers
On INSPIRATION :
“She (Linda Presgrave) has the potential
to make a major impact on the jazz world, with the highly enjoyable
and creative music of Inspiration inspiring other musicians to develop
their own voices.”
“Pianist Linda Presgrave is a talent
awaiting discovery by the jazz public….Highly recommended.(INSPIRATION)
“Pianist Linda Presgrave delivers a
gem of a recording proving what inspired play can produce, music that
jazz audiences will enjoy and critics will rave about.”
“A smart, tasty set that covers a lot
of ground, Presgrave knows her way around the keys and delivers the
goods. A nice find for piano fans on the prowl for something new that’s
sure to tingle their ears.”
“Together this band grooves hard, listen
hard and play memorable, forward thinking modern jazz.” (“Inspiration”)
On THE JOURNEY : "With
her lyrical playing and a stellar ensemble, Presgrave adeptly mines
the secular and spiritual side of the music while paying homage
to her heroines."
“The main star, however, is Linda Presgrave,
whose piano style is pretty original and whose five songs are worth exploring.” Recommended. *****
“She (Linda Presgrave) tells beautiful
stories in the music she writes”
“The St. Louis transplant Linda Presgrave,
a probing, resourceful mainstream pianist with an impressive debut album,
In Your Eyes, prowls the bebop landscape for all the stylistic diversity
it can offer.”
LINDA PRESGRAVE (JAZZ PIANO) As
As a side person:
DIZZY'S CLUB COCA-COLA: JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER - New York, NY
Click on a an image for a larger view.
For calendar information, CLICK HERE.
Pianist Linda Presgrave is a
talent awaiting discovery by the jazz public. Since moving to
New York City, she has recorded several compelling CDs for the Metropolitan
label, while she has the knack for uncovering overlooked gems as well
as being a top-notch composer herself. With bassist Harvie
S. and drummer Allison
Miller providing potent support, she explores Melba
Liston's tense blues "Insomnia," with Miller's
solo suggesting the torment of walking the floor in the middle
of the night. Presgrave's interpretation of Joanne
Brackeen's "Evening in Concert" displays the composer's knack
for twisting themes and her playful side as well. Harvie
S. introduces Bertha
Hope's strutting groove "You Know Who," an infectious hard
bop vehicle that needs a lyric if it doesn't already have one.
The pianist penned several compositions, including the lush ballad "One
for Patricia," the
sassy, breezy "Cheap Cheese" (which adds Stan
Chovnick's delicious soprano sax, and the dramatic "Rome" (including Chovnick and
tenor saxophonist Todd
CD Review: http://thecelebritycafe.com/cd/full_review/13984.html
February 11, 2009
The Run Off Groove
Linda Presgrave is a pianist that I’ve never heard before, and I was almost afraid to listen to this when I saw the cover but as they say, “never judge a book by its cover”, right? I assumed it would be another ugly vocal jazz turd, I never know what to expect, and as someone who doesn’t read album biographies until after I’m done (I try not to let a bio influence my reviews, so I avoid them unless necessary), I really didn’t know what to think. I hopped in Inspiration (Metropolitan), a 10-track album and just expected for the dreck to begin. It begins with “Insomnia”, and the intro is nice. I’m hearing the rest of her band on the album (Allison Miller on drums, Todd Herbert on sax, Stan Chovnick on sax, and Harvie S on bass) and they are playing incredibly well but I’m hearing no voice. I’m waiting for it, and… nothing. I’m getting lost in the playing, especially that of the piano. I should also say that I did not know who played the piano on this just yet, I didn’t read the credits until about three minutes into the song and it was then I discovered Presgrave is not only the pianist, but an arranger and composer. While she sounds nothing like her, the first person that came to mind was Pamela Hines in terms of fluidity and space with her playing, and I looked at her and the other musicians credited: no vocals. I want to hear more.
Inspiration is the kind of album all young pianists and jazz musicians should hear in order to know what to play and how to play it. With the sax work of Chovnick and Herbert (who play on 4 and 2 of the songs respective), one senses an old John Coltrane vibe circa Ole or Black Pearls, but Presgrave is the one making sure everyone plays in the appropriate sounds, going down the path she wants the listener to go to. Her own “Struttin’ In Manhattan” sounds like a walk in NYC circa 1956, because we don’t want to see Times Square without seeing the cast of High School Musical jumping 25 stories above me, it sounds carefree and dare I say magical. I think I almost sensed a few keys from “We’re In The Money” during the song’s first minutes, but maybe that’s just me. She can easily play something that’s melancholy and somber, while other tracks are full of power and may make you want to dance, but she is someone who brings out a lot of (or puts in quite a bit of) emotion in her playing and arrangements. For a bit of blues, listen to “Don’t Explain” where she takes the song solo and if you know the song, you feel a bit of that joy and pain that Billie Holiday spoke of in her version. She ends with a song that is the epic of the album, “Rome”, where she allows the other instruments to play almost in a meditiative manner, almost as prayer before they join in as one a minute into the song. While she does it throughout the album, drummer Miller shines in this one and shows of her skills in a way that shows how she commands the drums by playing every part of her kit before maintaining things. When she adds a little extra inbetween, it feels like you’re hearing a classic jazz album from the past, this isn’t a drum machine, Sears keyboard, and a soprano sax. What I also like about it is Presgrave’s performance, which is subtle but lets the listener knows who is the boss of these sessions. Inspiration represents the things that move Presgrave to play and perform, and after hearing this, I hope she is inspired to continue her musical journey. Don’t miss this.
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Featured Artist: Linda Presgrave
Reviewed by: Scott Yanow - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Featured Artist: Linda Presgrave
Musicians: Linda Presgrave: Piano; John Stubblefield: Tenor Sax; Brian Lynch: Trumpet; Harvie Swartz: Bass; Carline Ray: Bass; Cecil Brooks III: Drums; Wade Barnes: Drums
Review: Linda Presgrave is a skilled pianist with a sense of melody and a penchant for choosing a wonderful supportive group. This recording hangs together because of the synergistic manner in which the group performs. Horace Silver's "Cape Verdean Blues" begins with a bouncy arrangement. What better way to introduce the piano chops of Linda Presgrave than through a South American influenced number. Linda cooks here with thoughtful patterns and quick thinking along the way. Drummer Cecil Brooks III compliments her playing throughout and also takes a tricky solo. This piece comes together when the rest of the band joins into take it out. Linda captures Horace's intent beautifully by swinging throughout in her smooth yet direct style. Linda's original "55th Street Rhythm" harkens back to a time when Bebop was king. This is a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the group to join in and have some fun (something which runs throughout the CD). Wes Montgomery's "So Do It" clearly shows how good of a writer he was. Known mostly for his playing, his many compositions have gone largely unnoticed over the years. It's nice to see this tune included here. Linda pays her respects to this great talent throughout. Brian Lynch (trumpet), and John Stubblefield (tenor sax) take solos before Linda's Shearing like excursion. While listening to this piece I started to think that maybe George Shearing and Ahmad Jamal were both influences on her style. Her low key version of "I Love You" bring the candles into focus, dim lighting, and oh yes, the music. Sailing though this classic as if gliding on air. This is a memorable moment. The closing number "Blues For Stan" is a silky arrangement played with skill and devotion. Stubblefield's solo is noteworthy as he takes it from a simple beginning and then begins to work things through as Linda comps gently alongside him. Throughout, one can sense that Linda has a deep love for the music and is also willing to put her stamp on it as well. Having fun as well as gaining valuable experience is evident throughout. Here's hoping that we hear more from Linda in the future.
Record Label Website: www.metropolitanrecordsnyc.com
Reviewed by: Lee Prosser