Vineland Records & Suzanne Pittson present
"Out of the Hub: The Music of Freddie Hubbard"
(Published: November 15, 2010)
Willie Jones III
Hailed by Downbeat as, "one to watch for," and a "true musician" by JazzTimes, vocalist extraordinaire, Suzanne Pittson will release OUT OF THE HUB: The Music of Freddie Hubbard, on her own, Vineland Records on October 19, 2010. Following the 1999 critically-acclaimed, Resolution: A Remembrance of John Coltrane, this recording is a perfect marriage of Hubbard's music and Suzanne's lyrics which showcases her amazing skill as an improvising jazz musician and astonishing technical facility, tone, phrasing and unrelenting swing. This Assistant Professor of Jazz Vocal Studies at the City College of New York has an uncanny ability to take the giants of this music and tread in territory unlikely visited by most vocalists, making this California-New York-transplant a force to reckon with.
"Out of the Hub: The Music of Freddie Hubbard" features some of the most dynamic jazz musicians on the New York City scene today. Along with Pittson on vocals, Jeremy Pelt is on trumpet, Steve Wilson on alto and soprano saxophone, Jeff Pittson on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Willie Jones III on drums, complete with stunning arrangements by Jeff Pittson. The lyrics were a collective collaboration between Pittson, Jeff and their son Evan, who also created the cover illustration and CD graphics. All of the original lyrics express ideas about life, music, love, joy, suffering, and fantasy, but always seek to find hope in the midst of crisis. The two vocalese lyrics on "Lament for Booker (Bright Sun) and "Crisis" (We're Having a Crisis) - set to Freddie's trumpet solos - are narratives based on their respective titles. "Lament for Booker" expresses praise and admiration for the great trumpeter Booker Little, who died at the age of 23, and the vocalese shows appreciation for the jazz legacy that our predecessors have helped to create. "Crisis" is an urgent cry for dialogue between people and cultures in order to resolve our world crisis.
Pittson first fell in love with the music of the great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard while still in high school. In June of 2008, Pittson and her husband, pianist Jeff Pittson, visited Freddie at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City to seek permission to record original lyrics to some of his compositions. While he was initially flattered, Freddie was not confident that a vocalist could sing his complex compositions and he requested a demo. Upon hearing the demo, Freddie enthusiastically approved the lyrics to five of his compositions, stating that he was very pleased and looked forward to hearing the recording. Without the honor and privilege of Freddie's blessing, Pittson would not have released this record. She then sought out the help of Mike Marciano at Systems Two in Brooklyn, who recorded it on August 26 & 27, 2008 and mixed and mastered April, 2009.
Pittson is an exuberant, engaging and experienced performer. She has performed in the US and Europe at such major venues as Yoshi's, Birdland, Catalina Bar and Grill, Town Hall, Symphony Space, Aaron Davis Hall, Cornelia Street Cafe, Enzo's Jazz, and has performed and/or recorded with John Patitucci, Buster Williams, Dave Liebman, Mike Clark, Steve Wilson, Jeremy Pelt, Shunzo Ohno, Mark Soskin, Jack Walrath, Chip Jackson, Harvie S, and others. Pittson's first recording, Blues and the Abstract Truth won strong praise from critics. Then in 1997, she set original lyrics to all four movements of John Coltrane's seminal work, "A Love Supreme," which she then recorded in 1999 on her second CD, Resolution: A Remembrance of John Coltrane. "She is thus far the only vocalist to have sung the entire "A Love Supreme," as noted in Ashley Kahn's book, "A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album."
Born into a musical family, Pittson began piano lessons at age 8 with John Hiersoux, a student of a student of Franz Liszt. Though she played classical music, her family listened to jazz day and night. When she was very young, she performed a Schumann piece for Erroll Garner, a friend of the family, and he reciprocated by playing "Misty" on her piano at her request! Witnessing the creative freedom of this genius at an early age, no doubt instilled a profound curiosity of this magnificent art form. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in music as classical pianist at San Francisco State University, where she performed as soloist and accompanist, and in various chamber ensembles. While in graduate school, she also began to study jazz. With years of piano training under her belt, she set out to explore the music of the modern horn players, transcribing and singing their solos. Hubbard's unique harmonic language was of particular interest, and she determined to use it as a model for her own developing vocal improvisations.