May 24, 2024

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CD review: Sophie Duner – Strictly Business 2022: Video, CD cover

The Boswells certainly did improvise, sometimes in quite a wild fashion, constantly changing the harmonies and rhythms of the tunes they sang.

And so did Louis Armstrong, Dave Lambert, Anita O’Day, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan and Mark Murphy. But you’d have to put all of them together and add a touch of Charles Mingus (one of Dunér’s idols), John Coltrane, Arthur Blythe and Karlheinz Stockhausen (whose music she has also sung) to get even a remote idea of what Sophie sounds like. She composes her own tunes, both lyrics and music, in addition to singing music by Monk, Mingus and Stockhausen.

Her vocal delivery is forceful, with a high register that sounds like Arthur Blythe, a low range that booms out like Armstrong’s, and a style that practically ridicules those female jazz singers who do a lounge act in a come-hither voice, dolling themselves up to look like calendar girls. Dunér blows that entire image up as if it were attacked by a hand grenade. Quite simply, there is no one else like her in the entire world; she is one of a kind, an artist who broke her own mold and lives to be a performer on the edge. – The Art Music Lounge Sophie not only delivers us jazz and blues on this album but she also treats us to vocals that bring to mind Meredith Monk – and she scats like Ella.

She hits the low notes, she hits the high notes, and she hits all the notes in between. There is no one performing today that possesses the unique set of vocal skills that Sophie does.

‘Strictly Business’ is my first solo album. It’s different because I follow my own vocals playing the piano myself. When I usually have musicians comping / following me. In that sense, this album is completely different. And I love comping myself, especially during rubato sections. As I know when and where I will enter with the voice, I can make very quick changes with the piano (+ being as crazy dynamic as I want!). So it becomes more spontaneous (and maybe extreme) that way as I am pulling all the triggers as vocals AND piano is produced by ONE person.. But of course, if you have great communication with a musician comping you, that can happen as well. I selected myself for the musical reasons mentioned above in question 6 and the fact t that I can be totally independent for this gig! – an interview with me said Sophie Duner.

Sophie Dunér is a singer & composer with her roots in jazz. Originally from Sweden, she travels and performs internationally as her blend of jazz, world and contemporary classical writing receives demand worldwide – from the infamous CBGB´s in NYC to Buenos Aires Festival de Música Contemporánea La Plata to Festival O/Modernt in Sweden. Her new solo CD ‘Strictly Business’ (produced/recorded in London by the renown producer Darren Allison) is for upcoming release summer 2022.

Previous CD’s include ‘Songs Eclectic’ (with Gene Pritsker 2020), ‘The City of Dizzy’ (with Jeremy Harman 2016), ‘The City of My Soul’ (with The Callino string Quartet) produced by Michael Haas /PARMA Recordings 2013), ‘The Rain in Spain’ (Rory Stuart, Matt Penmann & Kahlil Qwame Bell, CIMP 2005). Sophie also recorded a CD of standards in 2014 together with the late, legendary avant garde jazz bassist Dominic Duval (who spent a decade with Cecil Taylor).

Her music may be described as a blend of the romantic and the spiritually elevated with a dissonant, bold and satirical edge, playing with tense colours resolving into romantic harmony or vice versa. Often, it’s loud and dynamic With musical roots in jazz, Sophie personally draws heavily on a variety of composers such as Kurt Weill, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Hans Werner Henze, Dizzy Gillespie & Stravinsky.

Other festivals include November Music Festival (N.L), The 13th & 14th Charles Mingus Virtual Festival (N.Y.C), PARMA Music Festival (US), Bimbache Open Art Festival, Jazz en La Costa, Getxo Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Lugo(ES), Baltic Jazz Festival (SF), Sapporo Snow Festival (JP), Stockholm New Music Festival, Stockholm Jazz Festival (SWE), etc.

Tours include dates at venues such as NYC’s The ShapeShifter Lab, The Delancey, Harlem Jazz Boxx, Cornelia St Cafe, Symphony Space, Small’s, Kostabi World, The Bop Shop, Michiko Studios etc. Europe include dates at Sowieso/Neukoln (DE), Moods (CH), The Pizza Express (UK), Circulo de Bellas Artes (ES), Gothenburg Symphony Hall (SWE) etc.

As a singer & composer, Sophie has had collaborations with musicians such as Tommy Campbell, Gerry Brown, Steve Hamilton, Sébastien Dubé, Samuel Torres, Paul Nowinski, Bertram Lehman, Carli Munoz, Guy Livingston, Eleonor Sandresky, Cynthia Yeh, Valery Ponomarev, Melissa Slocum, Leif Jordansson, Jürg Wickihalder, Hugo Ticciati etc. and composers José Luís Greco, Francis Schwartz (composers who wrote ‘Checkmate My Love’ & ‘The Neon Pterodactyl’ for her), Henk Alkema as well as with Jacob TV.

At the recommendation of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sophie studied vocal interpretation at the Stockhausen summer Courses in Kuerten, Germany for two years, supported by a grant from The Swedish Arts Council. She also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning a degree in Performance, studying jazz improvisation with Hal Crook, George Garzone & Ed Tomassi. While in Boston, she performed & recorded with jazz groups such as The Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band, Guillermo Klein & The Big Van (featuring Seamus Blake, Mark Turner & Aaron Goldberg). In N.Y, with Fernando Tarrés (featuring Dan Rieser, Fernando Huergo & Don McCaslin). She also founded The Sophie Dunér Orchestra, touring in the Boston area, Scandinavia & Japan.The Swedish Arts Council awarded Sophie grants on 4 occasions.

She has been featured ‘Artist in Residence’ for the annual chamber concerts event “In The Avant Garden of Love” with Present Music, led by co-artistic directors violinist Eric Segnitz (Kepler Quartet) & conductor David Bloom (Contemporaneous) in Milwaukee. She performed live as featured guest artist for the online event series “Virtual Hotenanny” #1, #2, #3 & #4, presented by Present Music.

TV & Radio include NPR Wisconsin (Bonnie North’s Lake Effect), WJFF Radio Catskill (Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf), Arts Avenue (Wisconsin TV), WMSE’s Dr. Sushi’s Free Jazz BBQ , BOLD TV, Talk Music Talk with Boice (NYC), Radio Guy Live (NL)etc.

She is a frequent collaborator with the NYC based composers collective ‘Composers Concordance’ with features in events such as Eclectic Music Extravaganza/Sowieso Neukoln (Berlin) and NYC’s Charts & Graphics/Michiko Studios, Harlem Jazz Boxx by Craig Harris/w Comp Cord Jazz Ensemble, w Sound Liberation at Piano’s, Social Bubble Saloon Concert at Kostabi World, William Patterson University etc.

In March & November 2021, her short films “Distorted Souls” (featuring ‘Believe Her’ with Sebastien Dubé) & “When the saints go marching in” (featuring Eleonor Sandresky on piano & arrangement) were premiered during the Harlem based AddAMovie Film Festival. During February 2022, she premiered her films ‘Bop ’Til You Drop’ & ‘Strictly Business’ in the UK.

In November 2021, Sophie was featured singer with Dutch composer Jacob TV & The Freedom Quartet (including Stephen Burns, Steve Roberts & Cynthia Yeh), premiering Jacob’s ‘The Freedom Songs’, touring Holland at November Music Festival, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw & Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht.

01. Two Time Losers
02. Dizcharmed
03. The Singer From Hell
04. The Multiple Useful
05. Once Upon A Summertime
06. I’ve Got Something To Say
07. Bop ’til You Drop
08. Strictly Business
09. Let’s Go Commercial
10. Ain’t Misbehavin’

Sophie Duner piano, vocal

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

Duner cover

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