30.08 – Happy Birthday!!! Twenty-three year old jazz vocalist Rachael Price has amassed an impressive resume for her age. With the September 2008 release her new recording “The Good Hours,” Price mused on the whirlwind ride of the last five years. “It’s been amazing” touring the U.S. with my trio, singing with the T.S. Monk Sextet, international jazz festivals in Brazil and Panama, recording three CD’s” all while completing a degree in Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory.”
Born in Australia and raised in Nashville, Price admits she “has been singing jazz since a small child.” She recalls “jazz hit an inner chord with me at the age of five. I heard Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of The Lady is a Tramp. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I liked the feeling it gave me.” Her father had an extensive jazz collection, and the young child started singing along with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day, Peggy Lee, Doris Day and others. “By the time she was nine,” her dad recalls, “she sounded just like the classic vocalists of the 40’s…she would spend hours singing while pretending she was in some old black and white musical.”
At seventeen, still in high school, she recorded “Dedicated To You”, a collection of standards as a tribute to Ella, Doris, Nat King Cole and others. When the singer and actress Kathryn Grayson, of MGM musicals fame, first heard the recording in 2003 she exclaimed it was “the best young voice I’ve heard, period. No one around can even touch her voice and style” a style all her own.”
After winning many local talent competitions in Tennessee, she was selected as a vocalist by the Grammy Foundation for their National High School Jazz Choir, and went on to become the youngest semi-finalist in both the Montreaux International Jazz Vocal Competition in Europe and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. While performing in Switzerland she was heard by six-time Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon. Nnenna, and her manager, Ed Keane, were so impressed with the seventeen-year-old that he signed her up, and the touring has been constant ever since.
In her first appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival she received a standing ovation, and the Boston Globe announced “young vocalist Rachael Price created a small buzz with her work sitting in with the T.S. Monk Sextet.” In 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported that “she is clearly a talent with extraordinary potential.” Similar rave reviews appeared in newspapers throughout the country as she began touring with her own trio.
Most heartening to Price has been the encouragement she has received from fellow singers and musicians. While T.S Monk and Nnenna Freelon played a key role in her early career, she was particularly thrilled to receive the support of Nancy Wilson, one of Rachael’s idols. Price opened for Wilson in a concert in New Jersey, and the legendary vocalist exclaimed “I think she’s brilliant, I love her.… There’s so much that’s good: the body, the depth, the warmth, and the enunciation!”
Rachael is proud of her new recording “The Good Hours”. She says, “I decided to call it that because the recording is all about my live show. I love my audiences, and feel a strong connection with them when I sing. The meaning of “The Good Hours” is that the time with the audience are the best hours of my life, especially with songs like these that I feel deeply in my heart.” The recording features the repertoire of her recent concerts, ably accompanied by her trio” Warren Wolf on piano and vibes, Erik Privert on bass and Dave Brophy on drums.
So what’s next for the young vocalist? “I am getting more into songwriting, and will be recording my own material in the next few years.” Two of her own songs are scheduled for her fourth CD, now in production with legendary producer KC Porter, featuring notable studio artists like Brian Bromberg, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dean Parks and Shelly Berg.
While we wait to hear more from Price, the independent label Claire Vision Productions has released all of her past recordings, the 2003 “Dedicated To You”, plus a hybrid jazz-bluegrass-western swing recording with the Tennessee Terraplanes called “Refreshingly Cool,” as well as the above-mentioned “The Good Hours”.