Friday, October 21, 2011

Sarah McKenzie

While shopping in Perth after getting a grip on the ‘after dribble’, an advertisement announcing the adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas' best-selling novel, The Slap, into an eight-part TV drama series attracted me to the ABC shop. The Slap is a story about middle-class suburban Australia and its notions of child-rearing and acceptable behaviour that I had read in 2009. Good on ya, Christos!
While browsing in the shop, I felt obliged to buy something. Already loaded with a backlog of books to catch-up on, I picked up an ABC JAZZ CD instead, paid for it and tucked it away in my carry bag.
Weeks later, I recovered the CD, and discovered Sarah McKenzie!
At 23 years of age, pianist, vocalist and composer Sarah McKenzie is already a musician of remarkable flare and technique.
"Sarah McKenzie is a musical marval. She sings with the kind of phrasing that only a true Jazz singer can come up with while her groove of the piano is the stuff that makes people want to play Jazz”. James Morrison, Australia's best-known jazz musician.
I have downloaded Sarah’s rendition of the 1938 Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin’s Please Be Kind accompanied by James Morrison at The Basement, Sydney (uploaded by leigh23451 on Sep 8, 2009) to whet your appetite.
But really, you should go out and get Sarah’s debut album, Don’t Tempt Me.
Produced by Chong Lim, the man behind the success of many Australian artists, the album contains three originals by Sarah, including the Latin-style title track Don’t Tempt Me, a rollicking gospel inspired I’ve Got The Blues Tonight and the blues heartbreaker Love Me or Leave Me, written when Sarah was just 16 years of age.
This album has been nominated for The ARIA – Fine Arts Awards / 2011 Best Jazz Album.

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