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Trumpet-Piano Jazz Release Features Women Composers

Disc Highlights Favorites from God Bless the Child to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to I’m in the Mood for Love

Hester Park’s new release, Close Your Eyes: Women Jazz Composers, is among the first to focus attention on the role of women as jazz composers. Trumpeter/flügelhornist Michael Kaupa and jazz pianist Thomas George collaborate in these performances of well-known tunes and jazz classics. The powerful, yet simple combination of piano and trumpet allows these great songs to speak with undiluted charm and grace.

Women typically have been recognized as singers and lyricists, but perhaps not as much for their contribution as composers. This compact disc brings attention to the musical accomplishments of women whose impact as creators should be an acknowledged part of jazz history. Favorite tunes such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, written by Sarah Hannah Sheppard, and Dorothy Field’s I’m in the Mood for Love are widely-recognized, perfect examples of how these women are simultaneously integral yet invisible in the world of jazz music.

Kaupa has toured throughout the United States and Japan with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and he has recorded with the Spanish quartet Equinox. Kaupa plays the trumpet and flügelhorn with a singing tone and expressive inflection that draws listeners into the jazz artistry of these women composers. George is an accomplished pianist whose credits include playing throughout Western New York and Washington State, where he is Provost and Academic Vice President of Washington State University. He has studied piano at the Eastman School of Music, with the late John Mehegan (Juilliard), and with the late Barry Kiener (Buddy Rich Band). George’s muted harmonies and distinctive accompaniment complement horn playing that ranges from soulful to sassy.

At the unusually generous length of almost 65 minutes, this disc features songs that reflect the strength as well as the heartfelt passions and sorrows of these women composers. The melancholy I’ll Never Smile Again by Ruth Lowe is just one such example. Written when Lowe -- pianist of the Ina Ray Hutton all-women band -- lost her husband, the tune was quickly made popular by Frank Sinatra, among other notable singers. This disc balances the emotion of ballads such as Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain and Ann Ronell’s Willow Weep for Me with cuts such as the brassy bebop standard Close Your Eyes by Bernice Petkere, or the carefree Can’t We Be Friends by Kay Swift. With clarity and undaunted honesty, the women represented in this collection are active participants in a long-standing tradition of energy and emotion -- the timeless classics of jazz.

This all-digital compact disc recording, available for $15.98, offers delights for both the novice and jazz purist. To order this disc or for more information, call 314-516-4990 or write to Hester Park, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Blvd., GSB 265, St. Louis, MO 63121.

Order this CD or send e-mail to Hester Park