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Making Standards New, with Glockenspiel

Although Seattle has become more cosmopolitan in recent years, those of us who have lived here since the city was one of America's undiscovered gems still get excited when a regional performer breaks out on the national scene. When a young Seattle jazz vocalist named Sara Gazarek started to gain attention from jazz fans around the world, we were delighted, though not surprised.

Many of us were sure that Gazarek was destined for great things when we first heard her as a teenager singing with Seattle's Roosevelt High School Jazz Band under the direction of Scott Brown. And although Gazarek is now touring the world and recording CDs that land her in the Top 10 on the Billboard jazz charts, she describes in this interview how much she feels she owes Brown and his great high-school jazz program.

For her first KPLU performance and interview with music director Nick Francis, Gazarek came in with her trio and treated us to a wonderful arrangement of Joni Mitchell's "Carey" and a cool reworking of Gershwin's "Bidin' My Time." She even polished up the old chestnut "I'm Old Fashioned" and worked out a bit on her glockenspiel, of all things. It was impossible to tell who was having more fun: those of us who were listening, or Gazarek and her band. That's the way it ought to be.

More About Sara Gazarek

Young jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek made her debut in 2005 with Yours, an acclaimed album focused on American Songbook standards. Her latest CD, Return to You, continues to combine a singer-songwriter's mentality with jazz improvisation; it features arrangements of contemporary songs by Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, and Gillian Welch, alongside originals from Gazarek's pianist, Josh Nelson.

Copyright 2008 KNKX Public Radio

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