I’m very excited to say that I have a new single, When I’m in Your Arms, coming out this week. I’ll soon announce the link where you go buy this song . . . but guess what? I don’t know which day the song will be released!
I got in touch with the good folks at CBC Radio’s national jazz program, Tonic and asked if they would like to be the first ones to play the song and release it out into the world. Both the producer (David Ward) and the host (Tim Tamashiro) were just about to go on a spring break when I got in touch. But David kindly took the time to audition the song before he went on holidays and said, “Yes! We’ll play this on Tonic! It will be on sometime on the week of April 14th.”
So that means it might play any day this week on the show. I decided to have some fun with this and am turning it into a little giveaway. Tune in to Tonic this week and you might win a free download of the new song!
Here’s how it works:
Tune your radio to Tonic starting Monday at 8 pm and keep your ears open for my new song. (Just set your radio to your local station for CBC Radio 2 or tune in online at http://music.cbc.ca/#/Tonic.)
When you hear the song playing:
- post on my Facebook page OR
- send a tweet to @fawnfritzen AND @cbcr2tonic OR
- send me an e-mail (to fawn at fawnfritzen dot com)
The first 3 posters, first 3 Tweeters, and first 3 e-mailers will each get a free digital copy of the song.
BONUS: Anyone who posts, tweets, or e-mails me after the first three people will get entered into a draw to win a copy of the song, plus an extra little something to be mailed to you.
Entries will be closed at midnight PST on whichever evening it plays.
My debut album, Bedroom Voice, got a review from Peter Hum at the Ottawa Citizen. He’s a rare breed: he seems to be the only jazz-focussed reviewer left at any of Canada’s major papers. I appreciate his reviewing style. Being a well-regarded jazz pianist himself, you can tell he listens thoughtfully to the discs that are submitted to him. He’s not afraid to say when he doesn’t care for what he hears. That lends his reviews a lot of credibility, if you ask me.
His review is below. If you want to see the rest of the post (which includes reviews for eight other vocal jazz albums!), click on through here.
Here’s a long overdue run through that considers nine of the many Canadian vocal jazz discs I’ve received in the last year or so, moving from west to east. Among them are two CDs vying for the vocal jazz Juno Award this weekend.
Bedroom Voice (FAWN)
Whitehorse-based Fawn Fritzen is a persuasive vocalist with a sweet, soft voice. (I’ll leave it someone who know her better whether her singing supports her disc’s saucy title.)
The music on her CD Bedroom Voice tends to the light, gentle and slow side of things and on some tracks — in particular Fritzen’s earnest originals Life So Sweet, I’m A Fool For You, Under My Skin, and Sad Song, and the Leonard Cohen cover If It Be Your Will— there’s more of a pop or roots music feeling than a strong jazz vibe.
Here’s a live and slightly brassier version of Life So Sweet, which opens Fritzen’s disc:
Fritzen applies herself well to jazz materials such as Cry Me A River (a pleasant, straightforward duet with guitarist Paul Lucas), You Don’t Know What Love Is and the bossa Gentle Rain. She may not be a belter, but she has a way to sing the blues too on Black Coffee. On Tout doucement, Fritzen’s French is more than up to scratch.
There’s a nice range of arranging moves on the CD so that each track, however mellow, has some distinctiveness. However, instrumentally, I’d wish to hear more depth, swing and stretching out.
Some exciting things happening right now!
I had a great time chatting with Shelley Gummeson a few weeks ago and today a feature about me was published on !earshot Online. You can read the article here. I hope it helps a few people discover the great jazz scene we have here in Whitehorse.
I’ve also wrapped up filming for a video, which I hope my help me open some doors in China. And I finished recording a new single, “When I’m in Your Arms”. It’s a playful tune inspired by the 1920s and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone sometime in the next two weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for that announcement.
Today is also St. Patrick’s Day, of course. I happen to be wearing green, but that is mere coincidence. This date has always been important to me primarily because it’s my dad’s birthday. Happy birthday, Opa! Hope you have a good one.
Back in November I wrote about being invited to learn a Yukon song that was found in the MacBride Museum archives.
I performed that song (as well as “This is the Army, Mr. Jones”) at a wonderful evening at the museum. We got to listen to stories of Yukoners who were living up here during WWII (evidently a rather fun time for children!), and also saw examples of artwork from war artists visiting the Yukon.
Since I had requests from people who couldn’t attend the evening, I did a “quick and dirty” video of the song in my living room and posted it to YouTube.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Shelley Gummeson. She’s a writer, reviewer, producer, and host of the radio show “Jazz on the Rocks”. Let me tell you: she has the most beautiful speaking voice; as soon as I picked up the phone and heard her, I knew I’d enjoy our conversation.
Our interview may turn into an article, a radio showcase, or both. I admit I didn’t do much to prepare for it. Really, there’s not much I can do to prepare . . . and often a spontaneous response is better than a prepared one. But there are inevitably those questions for which I have the perfect answers after the interview is done.
Here’s my virtual second kick-at-the-can for a couple of Shelley’s questions…
SG: What would surprise people to know about you?
Most people are surprised to learn that I speak 4 languages; it’s my lucky lot in life to have been born into a multi-cultural family.
My husband and I are considering spending a couple of years sailing around the world with our family. Of course, this will require that I actually get comfortable with handling a sailboat!
Sometimes people are surprised to find out about the huge obstacles my family faced to beat my older daughter’s epilepsy. When they meet her, they’re shocked to know how bad her seizures were when she was a toddler (very, very bad), and they’re surprised to learn about the stringent ketogenic diet we did with her for 5 years.
But here’s the truth: anyone who has connected with me for a while on Facebook or through my blogs probably won’t be surprised by much. I am very much myself in social media, so it’s a good way to get to know the “me” behind the singer.
SG: What do you want people to know about you?
I want people to know the joy I feel in making music, and in making new friends. If what I create moves you, I’d love for you to connect with me. Join my newsletter, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter . . . and start a conversation. The best part about making music is touching other people.
It was a thrill to find out this week that I won the 2014 Julian Award! The full name of the award is actually “Julian Award of Excellence for Emerging Canadian Jazz Artists”, which is quite a mouthful, but explains what it’s all about.
Nominees for the award have to be Canadian, must have released an album containing original music in the past 14 months, and must not be signed to a major label. Hey, that describes me!
Some more background: the award is offered by The Jazz Spectrum, a weekly radio show on CJSF 90.1 FM based out of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. And is named in honour of Patrick Julian, long time patron of the arts in Vancouver and board member of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society.
This year there were 6 nominees from across the country. The winner was decided by vote and apparently there were three times as many votes this year as last.
(Between you and me, I think you, my awesome fans, are responsible for a good chunk of that jump.) Thank you to all of you who voted and supported me. I am grateful to you!
When the show host, Peter Prentice, announced the winner of the award, he didn’t say my name immediately. Instead, he said, “The winner is….” and then Life So Sweet started playing. I was just finishing up making dinner and my whole family was in the kitchen, so we all cheered. And then we sat down to eat dinner.
The award comes with a cash prize of $500, which will be very welcome for the recording project I’m doing in 2 weeks… but more about that another time.
(P.S. If you love vocal jazz, go discover the runner-up for the award, the wonderful Jordana Talsky.)
‘Tis the season for giving gifts, and I would love to give you one! So here’s a song you can add to your Christmas playlist. I got together with my good friend Daniel Janke last week and we recorded this song for you. I’m on vocals and Daniel’s on… everything else! (If you have children in your life, it’s a fun game to see how many instruments they can detect.*)
I wish you and your family all the very best for a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
(Pssst! It’s really worth listening to this song on a good stereo or at least headphones, so you can hear the whole bass line and the stereo mandolins.)
*Answer key: piano, triangle, bass, mandolin
A few weeks ago, I saw a note go out on our local arts chat board in which a woman at the MacBride Museum was looking for my friend (and wonderful musician) Grant Simpson. I happened to know that Grant was out of town (playing at a music festival in China, no less!) so I e-mailed her to let her know. When she replied, she said a few people had already informed her, but since I’d gotten in touch and she knew I was a singer, could I please let her know if I also happen to play piano?
Intrigued, I answered that yes, I do play piano. And she told me the museum had recently found a piece of music in their collection and really wanted to hear what it sounded like.
The sheet music had apparently been found inside an old piano from a Yukon steamboat and is entitled “Cat Train to Canol”. The Canol Trail was an oil pipeline connecting Norman Wells (in the NWT) to the Yukon border. It was built by the US Army in a huge hurry (using “cat trains”) and was used for barely a year before the end of the Second World War put an end to its usefulness. The song was written in 1944… and sounds it! Some of my favourite kind of music, as you can guess.
I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to learn this song and present it this Thursday at an evening showcasing Yukon art and music during WWII. I’ve also been asked to learn the song “This is the Army” by Irving Berlin. It was part of a musical film by the same name, which had its Canadian premiere in McCrae (at Alaska Highway Mile 910, near Whitehorse).
You can bet I’ll be breaking out the hot rollers, and victory rolls will be present…