Jazz Standards Duo
SONNY AND PERLEY
We're being specific,
and Perley know their way around
what is usually called "the great
American songbook." Sometimes
they play straight jazz; sometimes
they play Latin-inflected jazz. Either
way, when they perform the worksof
Porter, Ellington or Berlin, they cre-
ate something lovely to listen to.
straight-up music with no pretense. Sonny and Perley work their
gifts and make their magic in front of and behind the micrphone."
"A Jazz group that can really swing...stellar piano work..! Fresh,
soaring and strong vocals striking memories of Sarah Vaughn or Carmen
Daily Freeman Preview
is a SUPERSONGSTRESS. She has a beautiful, smoky-low to middle-upper
wonderful intonation, and stage presence. The sky is her limit."
Sonny and Perley | Redentor
test of any new recording is whether it avoids a “been
there, done that” sound. Sonny and Perley’s
third release, Let It Happen, consistently escapes this
trap, with three numbers (“Estate,” “Scarborough
Fair” and “Hymne l'Amour”) particularly
illustrating this fact.
husband-wife team has long been both impressive and popular
as performers of Brazilian favorites, jazz classics and Great
American Songbook standards in the upstate New York and New
England area. They brightly meld lyricism, passion, and rhythm
in a way that is both rich and exotic. Let It Happen extends
the jazz/Brazilian repertoire of their previous two releases
to include superior pop tunes (“Scarborough Fair”
and “Up On the Roof”), as well as two haunting
songs of French origin--Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a
l‘Amour” and Liane Foly’s “Reve Orange.”
(”Summer”), which has become a contemporary standard
favored by many jazz and Brazilian vocalists, serves as a
test of Perley Rousseau’s ability to distinctively interpret
even familiar material. Her heartfelt reading of both the
English and Italian lyrics almost redefines poignancy. Sonny
Daye’s spare electric keyboards, the throbbing bass
lines of pianist Bill Charlap’s talented brother Tom,
and the delicate flute of Charlie Tokarz, all engagingly accented
and colored by the various percussion instruments of Brian
Melick, set the exotic atmosphere the song calls for. This
number also strikes a successful balance between extending
a song long enough to allow an engaging groove to be played
out, but not so long the listener loses interest.
ability to personalize a song is even better illustrated with
“Scarborough Fair.” Their arrangement of this
old English folk tune is markedly different than Simon and
Garfunkel’s and includes the touching medieval prose,
delivered in an alternating tender and commanding fashion
by Ms. Rousseau. Likewise, the ability to sustain musical
and emotional appeal over an extended time is again demonstrated
in the effectively dramatic way the song slowly builds to
a spellbinding resolution over nine minutes.
“Hymne a l'Amour”, which is usually sung in this
country in English, merits special mention. Ms. Rousseau sings
an appropriately heartbreaking rendition (including the original
French lyrics) of this as “Hymne a l’Amour”
(”Hymn of Love”), written by renowned French singer
Edith Piaf--her grieving tribute to her lost love, boxer Marcel
Cerdan, whose plane crashed on his way to see her. The nexus
of art and emotion are joined in an exceptional way in this
Singers Worth A Listen To
rhythmic and sensual represent frequent descriptions of
the very special married team of keyboardist Sonny Daye
and vocalist Perley Rousseau, one of the most popular and
exciting musical attractions in the Capitol District.
engagingly perform the timeless standards of the great American
songbook composers like Irving Berlin and the Gershwins,
compelling jazz classics by legends like Charlie Parker
and John Coltrane as well as irresistible Brazilian melodies
by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ivan Lins, among others.
beautifully rich voice, with the emotional power, swing
and improvisational feel of a true jazz singer, also enunciates
English lyrics with bell like clarity and Portuguese lyrics
with an authenticity that leads Brazilians hearing their
CDs to mistake her for a native. She does all this
with a captivating effervescence and saucy stage presence,
effectively accented by an intriguing assortment of exotic
very facile, slightly percussive keyboard work and appealing
arrangements are also key components of their crowd pleasing
presentation. Depending on the venue, they sometimes also
utilize the extraordinary percussionist Brian Melick, with
his dozens of fascinating instruments, or an excellent compliment
of musicians on bass, drums and saxophone to create an even
fuller array of possible dynamics, colors and shadings.
website, www.sonnyandperley.com, provides a good deal more
information, including their two CDs, Love Dance and
East of the Sun.
Pierce, The Jazz Observer
Sonny & Perley, East Of The Sun (Redentor Records, CD)
piano/vocal duo of Sonny & Perley is one of a handful
of jazz acts that can say with confidence they are working
steadily. A look at the itinerary of the Albany-based pair
reveals an average of about 200 dates per year, an impressive
number for most regional acts, jazz or otherwise. There
are a few practical reasons why these musical soulmates
work so much. For one, the duo format allows them the flexibility
to take weekday one-nighters, traveling light and keeping
the price right. Another is that, in addition to being a
fine pianist, Sonny maintains a second career in the booking
business as "Sonny Daye, Inc." --- it helps when
you know how to get the gigs. The main reason the couple
plays out so much, however, becomes evident upon hearing
East of the Sun: They deliver the goods.
Rousseau is a stylish and expressive vocalist whose eclectic
repertoire runs from Songbook favorites to the more modern
Braziliana of Milton Nascimento and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Her interpretations of the Jobim book are especially impressive:
she avoids falling into the breathy, now-clichéd
Astrud Gilberto style, opting instead for a fuller open
style of her own. A major strength is her ballad singing,
demonstrated here in a poignant rendition of the Billie
Holiday vehicle, Detour Ahead, which is done in a bolero
multi-instrumentalist Daye, who also plays drums professionally,
is a lyrical, percussive player unafraid to improvise freely---often
a challenge for the duo accompanist. For East of the Sun,
the couple employs the trio of guitarist John Hilton, electric
bassist Tommy Ford, and drummer Mike DeMarco. Hilton and
company, also from the Albany area, are a good match for
Sonny and Perleys music, as theyre equally at
home with the Latin grooves and straight-ahead jazz material.
jazz fans have probably already noticed that Luenigs
is a regular stop for Sonny & Perley. They played there
several evenings this fall and will be back after the start
of the new year.
Maye - 7 Days Weekly Newspaper
Its not pop, its not rock, its not classical
a mixture of jazz and Brazilian music. Better yet, its
called bossa nova, a rhythmic style that embodies Brazilian
jazz, and Albany musicians Perley Rousseau and Sonny Daye
have spent most of their lives fascinated by its
we started, we just wanted to do more and more Brazilian;
it whetted our appetite," Daye said in a recent interview
with the Glens Falls Post Star.
sums up their fascination with bossa nova in one word---saudade
[pronounced saw-dajee]. Theres no literal English
translation, but the closest thing is a tremendous state
of longing, during which one can be happy and sad at the
same time. Thats the essence of bossa nova that
makes it so compelling.
is a fitting word to describe their latest CD, East of
the Sun. Recently released, it offers a wonderful insight
into the worlds of jazz and bossa nova.
by the likes of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn
and Carmen McCrea, songs such as Nothing Will Be As It
Was and The Nearness of You resound with their influence.
Rousseaus vocals combine the best of Fitzgerald,
Vaughn and McCrea while adding a flair totally her own.
to their newfound musical love, Rousseau has taken lessons
in Portuguese, mastering the intonation and pronunciation
of lyrics she uses in her musical repertoire. East of
the Sun boasts two such songs, Molambo, and A Felicidade.
Though the meaning of the lyrics is lost to those unschooled
in the Portuguese language, the sentiment and saudade
wonderful example of jazz and bossa nova at its finest,
East of the Sun is a must for those interested in jazz,
Brazilian or a CD that will carry the listener on a journey
to far away lands.
Baillie - Bennington Banner
East of the Sun
last December, East of the Sun was recorded at SUNY
Tunes in Albany and features refreshing new arrangements
of jazz standards such as Charlie Parkers Billies
Bounce, John Coltranes Naima and Irving Berlins
Cheek to Cheek. There are a few Brazilian selections
too---with lyrics in Portuguese---which seem to be a
carry-over from their last album, Love Dance. Throw
in some cabaret, a few love ballads, and some bossa
nova and samba, and youve got a virtual cornucopia
of hip tunes that will make you want to get cozy one
minute and shake your can the next.
and Daye are joined on this recording by another group
of groovers who are also quite adept at doing the Brazilian
thing. The John Hilton Trio performs with Hilton on
guitar, Tommy Ford on bass and Mike DeMarco on drums.
The project seems effortless.
voice is like vanilla pudding. Her vocal training was
mostly classical, as she studied six years with an international
opera singer who she describes as both strict and encouraging.
She later [briefly studied] jazz singing and scatting
from artist Sheila Jordan and from listening carefully
to other jazz vocalists.
grew up listening to all of the jazz greats," says
Rousseau, "in particular Carmen McCrea, Ella, of
course, and Sarah Vaughn. I was also exposed to the
more smooth sounds of bossa nova when Sergio Mendez
and Brazil 66, Astrud Gilberto, And Antonio Carlos Jobim
invaded the U.S. in the early 60's. Then I met
some lovely Brazilian people who started tutoring me
is a creative and versatile jazz pianist. Interesting,
since hes only been playing the piano for seven
years. His musical training began with the drums; he
played them in his younger years and in high school
bands. Daye later moved on to study music in college,
but jazz was always his real love.
thank God every day that I can go to work and do what
I love," says Rousseau. Its a big risk, to
do what you love. We wanted to become full time musicians
and it was quite a jump. But we just left everything
behind, knowing that this was what we were created to
do. And when you take that leap, you are sustained.
Its a kind of faith."
Nichols - Woodstock Times
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