Cheryl Bentyne

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.57.58 PMIts so amazing that Berklee invites all these wonderful musicians to give workshops and masterclasses 🙂

Today it was Cheryl Bentyne, known for singing with the Manhattan Transfer, one of the best vocal groups in the world. When studying jazz choir conducting I studied a lot of their music. And, since I am also a big fan of Bobby McFerrin I really love their version of ‘Another night in Tunisia’.

Next to her career with the Manhattan Transfer she also performs as a soloist and played with musicians like Kenny Barron, David Newman, Don Alias and Lewis Nash.

A couple of statements that resonated with me:

* trust in simplicity

* study the meanings of the songs

* you must bring joy

* instant fame is not the way

Lizz Wright workshop

This week we had Lizz Wright visiting the vocal department of Berklee. Amazing.

2014-04-16 13.16.39Lizz Wright (1980) is an American Jazz/R&B singer and composer, originally from Georgia. She is mainly self taught and she signed a contract with Verve in 2002 and her first album, salt was released in 2003 and reached number two on the Billboard Jazzchart. You could compare her voice with Norah Jones, but you will find a lot of gospel influences. She is an very spiritual person, and the way she answered all our questions was touching. I am a fan 🙂

Here some short tips she gave us that I like to share.

* Try to “sit in the bass” when there is a nice blues shuffle

* When you improvise in a swinging tune, focus on the hi-hat.

* LIsten to Shirley Horn when you wanna learn the perfect spacing.

* Always for technique focus on your hips and shoulders when you do your exercises.

* Watch Dianne Reeves for microphone technique, but also for everything else she does.

A short video:

Taking a breath with Danilo Perez and Joe Lovano

What I’ve been working on these days? – Air 🙂

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A while ago I had class – with Danilo Perez and Joe Lovano (!!!). And I had to sing a song with the band. After the song Joe commented that the sound could be deeper. I needed more air…And one of the exercises they made me do in class was lying on the floor with a computer on my belly, sing and take air… Of course is singing for these two big jazz peeps slightly nerve wrecking and in those moments you’ll always loose more air than you want to. That said, its very important for a singer to have a well trained breath support system.

Here a couple of exercises I work on to strengthen my abdominal muscles, support my diaphragm and posture while singing.

First of all, I work with the Gayam Ball – as you see it on the picture. When you sit on it, there is no way of bad posture because you have to keep your balance on the bal. Also its an easy way to do simple workouts. The dvd’s you can find online are actually quite funny too! Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.26.09 AM

Another way to control breathing and posture is by doing Yoga or Tai-chi. Meditation and focus on long and deep breaths will

The third way of training breath support is in the pictures below, the exercise consists of three steps that are build up from another three steps. Combining inhaling, exhaling, singing, hissing and sipping air will result in a more controlled way of taking and giving air. Strengthening the diaphragm and the muscles around your core.

Karrin Allyson – masterclass

19 oktober
Workshop Karrin Allyson en onweer

Ik was uitgekozen om mee te doen met de masterclass van Karrin Allyson, een geweldige jazz zangeres die naar Berklee kwam om een dag les te geven aan een aantal zangstudenten. Wel een eer – aangezien er 900 zangstudenten in Berklee zijn…

“After graduating from UNO in 1986, Allyson moved to Minneapolis, and concentrated on her jazz career. In 1990, she moved to Kansas City, where her jazz career took off. In 1992 she recorded her debut album, I Didn’t Know About You, which was so well received it was re-released on Concord Records in 1993.[2] She subsequently recorded eight more Concord-released albums in Kansas City. In 1998, she moved to New York City with her longtime partner, classical music radio host Bill McGlaughlin, whom she met in Kansas City in the early 1990s. Allyson sings in English, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. The songs she performs are drawn from a variety of genres, including bossa nova, blues, bebop, samba, jazz standards, and other jazz modalities, and also ballads, pop standards, the Great American Songbook, soft rock, and folk rock. She has also recorded vocal performances of several instrumental jazz compositions, using both scatand vocalese techniques. As of 2011, she has recorded 12 original studio albums, all under the Concord label, and in 2009 she released a career-spanning “best of” collection. Four of Allyson’s albums — Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane (2001), Footprints (2006), Imagina: Songs of Brasil (2008), and ‘Round Midnight (2011) — have received Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Allyson tours extensively, both in the United States and internationally.”

Wat Karrin vertelde aan de studenten was zeer waardevol, over podium presentatie, microfoon techniek en improvisatie. Bij iedereen had ze weer een ander punt van aandacht. Ik zong “taking a chance on love” en ze vond dat ik het best wat langzamer mocht zingen, zodat de woorden en de swing beter tot zijn recht komen. Daarnaast hebben de muzikanten heel weinig nodig om van de introductie (in rubato – without time) naar het thema te gaan, en door een noot te zingen kon de band al t nieuwe tempo op pikken.

Savonds gaf Karrin een concert in Scullers jazz club in Boston. Ik ben erheen gefietst (door de regen, als het hier regent dan regent het hier goed… ) En het leuke was dat ik gratis naar t concert kon kijken omdat ik meehielp met de cd verkoop. Altijd een leuk klusje, dus dat doe ik graag. Erna zou ik naar een Berklee feestje gaan, maar er werd nog wat nagedronken met de band van Karrin. En dit werd wat later dan gepland, erg gezellig, en rond een uur of 4 fietste ik naar huis. Ongeveer een half uur door de stromende regen. Op zich was ik wel voorbereid, maar het was zo dat het ook onweerde, boven mijn hoofd. Bizar eng. Hier in Boston werkt de riolering niet zoals in Nederland, dus er ontstaan rivieren op straat waardoor het lastig fietsen is. Brr…. In watertown (waar ik woon) aangekomen heb ik meteen maar een douche genomen en toen gaan slapen.

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