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Theatrical Spark and Musical Chemistry Grace Jana Herzen's Concert Album "LIVE", produced by Charnett Moffett - Out March 12 on Motéma / Vinyl to Follow on June 11
(Published: December 21, 2020)

For Immediate Release
December 21, 2020

Theatrical Spark and Musical Chemistry Grace Jana Herzen's Concert Album "LIVE", produced by Charnett Moffett

Herzen's Warm Vocals and Strong Guitar Work Interplay with an Ace Jazz Band on Audiophile Recording

Out March 12 on Motéma / Vinyl to Follow on June 11
First Video & Single - "Like A River" - Premiered 12/18 on JAZZIZ: New Release Cheat Sheet

There's something special anytime that Jana Herzen and Charnett Moffett make music together. It's pure, soulful, and especially beautiful to hear now, maybe more than ever. - AMERICAN SONGWRITER

With fans and musicians longing for a return to the joyful communion of live performances blocked by COVID-19, internationally acclaimed jazz artist Charnett Moffett suggested to his newlywed bride and long-time music partner - the rising singer/songwriter and respected Motéma label visionary Jana Herzen - that they release a special concert recorded live with their band at Joe's Pub in New York City on October 29, 2019.

The celebratory and soulful Joe's Pub performance featured Herzen on vocals and guitar, veterans Moffett on fretless electric bass (his preferred instrument at this time) and Brian Jackson on piano and keyboards, as well as the spirited young drummer Cory Garcia on drums, and the very gifted Irwin Hall on multi-reeds and woodwinds. The show was slated as a preview for Herzen's 'Nothing But Love' studio album, which came out to critical acclaim in January of 2020.



‘Like A River': "A Romantic Reggae-Swing Tune."
Matt Micucci/JAZZIZ

The public can stream the new single here:

The vibe of Jana Herzen LIVE is soul-refreshing and the music transcends the moment. Herzen has that kind of voice that can sail into the mind and make you forget your troubles, and the band supports her rich musicianship with deep-as-the-ocean grooves, highly sensitive ensemble work, and inspired soloing. Little did anyone know the night of that concert that COVID-19 was crouching around the corner about to block all live performances worldwide.

With the pandemic shutdown handing out live performance lemons, Herzen and Moffett, who got married on February 10th, set about to make musical lemonade by broadcasting online as a duo from home to support Herzen's January ‘Nothing But Love' release, and their duo's 'Round the World album which came out in June. Via 30 self-produced Facebook Live concerts, they reached over half a million views and also participated in various ‘Quarantine' shows that cropped up through the year including Blue Note NYC's ‘At Home' Series, JAZZIZ Magazine's ‘Last Call' series, and most recently the ‘Monday's With Kuumbwa' series, a Quarantine v.2 style broadcast filmed at The Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, sans audience, as a full-production six-camera shoot.

With each online broadcast, the duo's musical partnership deepened, and their following expanded. 2020 also saw a flurry of positive write-ups for their music in PEOPLE, AMERICAN SONGWRITER, JAZZ TIMES, ELMORE, JAZZIZ, WBGO, DOWNBEAT, JAZZWISE (UK), MEZZO TV (FR), JAZZ THING (DE) and more. The UK's JAZZWISE Magazine noted that Herzen and Moffett have "A rather wonderful musical partnership," and American Songwriter observed "Together they're magic." The Joe's Pub concert video, showing Herzen and Moffett working the front line together to co-lead the band bears visual evidence to that magic.

Herzen credits Moffett's great groove and selection of personnel and instrumentation as major elements of the successful chemistry heard on Jana Herzen LIVE. Moffett, who's led his own bands and collaborated with top jazz artists for over three decades, explains "Working with Jana in a live setting is truly a joy. I love her spontaneity and the diversity of styles she brings as a musician. She sings every note from her heart, and the way her compositions flow from one style to another always amazes me. Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews, are just a few of the diverse influences that I hear in her sound."

In addition to her work as an artist, Herzen is known as a savvy A&R Exec whose Motema label has launched some of the top names in jazz - Gregory Porter, Joey Alexander, and Pedrito Martinez to name a few. She is now experiencing a watershed moment as an artist, thanks in no small part to her musical partnership with Moffett that was initially sparked in 2011, and has brightly rekindled over the past few years. She also continues to make jazz history with her label which just released one of the most celebrated albums of 2020: Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science: Waiting Game, which was named Album of the Year by Downbeat critics and is Nominated in the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.

Asked about the difference between her studio album, Nothing But Love, and this live recording, Herzen answers that "The studio album features the fabulous violinist Scott Tixier and the wonderful drummer Mark Whitfield Jr, and leans more towards an Americana sound. The live album has more improvisation and swings more into jazz territory. Irwin Hall's impressive arsenal of alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones with clarinet, flute, and alto-flute adds a world of textural variation to the sound. Also, there's a lot of history in this combo. Brian, Corey, Irwin, and I have recorded and toured together with Charnett for several years now, and Irwin and Charnett have a hook up that dates back to touring with Universal/Verve artist Melody Gardot at huge venues during her meteoric rise in 2010 and 2011. Of course, Charnett's legendary groove is heard on both albums, but there was a special spark that came out for the live concert."

Moffett and keyboard wizard Brian Jackson do bring a wealth of improvisation, imagination, chops, and history to this album. Corey Garcia, the youngest member of the band, brings skilled and imaginative percussive sizzle. And Irwin Hall's impressive sax, flute, and clarinet lines paint impressionistic highlights that at times recall Branford Marsalis's indelible contributions to Sting's ‘The Dream of the Blue Turtles,' an album that Herzen recalls playing ‘non-stop' when it first came in 1985. At that time, in 1980's New York, a teen-age Charnett Moffett was making jazz headlines alongside the Marsalis brothers as an important ‘young lion' of jazz, and Herzen, a graduate of NYU was contributing to theater history as a Founder and Dramaturg for NYC's trend-setting MCC Theater which remains a major force in theater today. So their feet shared the same Village streets, they heard music in the same clubs, but it was years later that their worlds would collide when a chance meeting led to Herzen signing Moffett to Motema in 2007. Incidentally, another musical synergy they share is time growing up amidst the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area music scene of the 1970s.

Now, a married musical partnership, Herzen continues to run her Motéma label with Moffett consulting in an A&R capacity. "This live album was his brainchild" she explains. He elaborates: "I urged Jana to share this music with the world, and with the fans, friends, and family who came from far and wide to attend the show that night. Her poetic lyrics speak truth, her songs have beautiful melodies and a gripping story to hold onto, and her guitar accompaniment is subtle with a deep groove that's punctuated by her melodic solos." Moffett goes on to explain that "as a native New Yorker, the vibrations that night brought me back to my early days of club-hopping in Greenwich Village when I would drop in to experience a few different kinds of music on the same night. I believe the concert recalled those experiences because the music had so much variety, and the audience came with so much love. Now, given the recent turn of events, we're really happy to share this live moment as a gift to all during these very difficult times."

Track highlights abound on ‘LIVE', from the timely anthem ‘In The Name of Love' to the cool vibe of ‘Lightening the Load' with its strong guitar work by Herzen; from the danceable romantic Reggae-pop of ‘Like A River' (with subtle backing vocals by the band,) to the high-spirited groove-heavy crowd-pleaser, ‘On The Outside'. There are also magnetically quiet moments: The timeless beauty of Herzen's ‘Night Blooming Jasmine' where Hall's alto-flute and Jackson's delicate piano circle like butterflies around the lush melody, and ‘Precious Air', an anthem that first appeared on Moffett's Bright New Day, evolved further on Nothing But Love, and reaches new heights here as a mesmerizing and dreamy meditation on important issues of life.

Produced by Moffett, mixed by Eric Glauser at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco with additional engineering by Paul Rollnick, and mastered by Multi-GRAMMY-winning engineer Alan Silverman (known for award-winning work with Judy Collins and many other top artists), Jana Herzen LIVE is a winning ‘moment in time' for audiophile ears and all lovers of timeless, live music from the heart.

Lyric sheets and video previews available upon request.

Motéma Music is an award-winning independent label founded by Jana Herzen in San Francisco in 2003. The label has garnered 25 GRAMMY ® nominations with five wins in the genres of jazz, Latin jazz, reggae, and R&B. Motéma has launched recording careers for international stars Gregory Porter, Joey Alexander, Pedrito Martinez, and Deva Mahal and supported a wide array of innovative jazz artists including Randy Weston, Monty Alexander, Geri Allen, Charnett Moffett, David Murray, Donny McCaslin, Mark Guiliana, Ben Wendel, Melissa Aldana. The label has released the politically conscious projects: Playing for Change "Listen to the Music," Jaimeo Brown's Transcendence, Kentyah's "Evolutionary Minded (The Music of Brian Jackson & Gil Scott Heron) and the Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science award-winning album Waiting Game (nominated in 2021's 63rd Annual Grammy Awards for ‘Best Instrumental Jazz Album."

Motema means ‘heart' in the Lingala language of central Africa.

For more information, please visit:

See Track by Track comments from Producer Charnett Moffett, below

Track By Track
Music notes by Charnett Moffett (Producer, Bassist, Music Director)

Jana Herzen "LIVE" is a fun and groovy jazzy/pop recording of Herzen's unique original music that crosses over to many facets of music.

The performance opens with the swinging reggae/country feel of ''Nothing But Love." Herzen's bluesy and soulful vocals and lyrics touch on the humanity of life and inspire strong solos by Irwin Hall on tenor sax and Brian Jackson on piano. Herzen's guitar solo continues her narrative with lyrical lines filled with passion.

The next song "Speak" is a marvelous composition. The 3/4 time has an African waltz movement and gives a feeling of being on a journey to freedom. Herzen's poetic lyrics and energetic vocals are powerful with a cry that captures the essence of life. The warmth and quality of her voice on this transformational song evokes an almost operatic experience.

This song echoes the vibe of Deborah Harry (Blondie) in some ways. It's a funky groove with an angular melody that is centered by Herzen's vocals and lyrics. The story is about love in the pop culture sense. As an artist of surprising diversity, Herzen switches vocal styles effortlessly. Highlights include Herzen's intense vocal improvisation that has the feel of a "fiddle" duo with Irwin Hall's sax playing in unison.

Resets to Herzen's elastic warm open tone on this cozy performance night, settling the audience with a relaxing Cuban Montuno. This romantic composition from the pen of Herzen features brilliant interplay between Herzen's guitar, Hall's delicate clarinet, and Jackson's twinkle-toes style piano, supported, by a classic bass line that Herzen's guitar often doubles.

Here, Herzen's misty voice mesmerizes the audience and reminisces the great Dinah Shore. This beautiful ballad has a classic jazz standard feeling that's timeless. As the performance becomes more intimate, the song blossoms with harmonious energy led by Herzen that weaves from the fans to the band and back again.

This song starts with a tight backbeat swing groove by the band. Herzen's catchy lyrics then swing in, in a Joni Mitchell/Shania Twain kind of way. It's a story about trust. As the feeling of comfort settles in the space for everyone to continue to enjoy, the band opens up for a little improv moment. Corey Garcia's drumming stays in the pocket while adding musical crescendos. Herzen centers the groove with her great rhythmic guitar work. The bass dances with Herzen's guitar and Irwin Hall's soprano sax shines bright while Brian Jackson adds spotlight chords to accentuate Herzen's poetic lyrics.

"Lightening The Load" has the audience in the vibe right from the downbeat. The audience continues to show their enthusiasm for the integrity of the musicians who perform each song with musical character. At times Herzen's voice reminds me of the great Mae West on this sassy number.

This is a romantic reggae-swing tune that features Herzen's melodic voice and rhythmic swing. She chooses a softer tone to deliver this poetic story about the ‘river of love.' Her reggae skank and melodic soloing on guitar sings out and brings to my mind the great Ernest Ranglin.

"Thinking of You" Takes us on another realistic journey called life that lets us remember loved ones who have gone to other realms. Herzen's angelic sound is pure with a depth that captivates mind, body, and soul. The beautiful melody and lyrics give a feeling of calm to balance the harsh realities of life.

This gem of a composition shows a graceful marriage of pop and jazz. It starts with a melodic bass solo and as the story progresses, it inspires a soulful, brilliant solo section by Irwin Hall on tenor sax and Brian Jackson on piano. Herzen then comes back for the last verse the song closes with a spontaneous call and response moment between the bass and the vocal.

"Name of Love" concludes this extraordinary live performance. This love anthem with gospel undertones features Herzen's riveting vocals and an extraordinary solo by Jackson. Herzen's poetic poise has the audience totally rapt throughout this final performance, leaving them with an inspirational feeling of love and spiritual uplift.

More Information: https://www.janaherzen.net

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