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Betsy Ezell Quintet

  • North Street Cabaret 601 North Street Madison, Wisconsin (map)

A Madison-based jazz vocalist celebrates her refreshing new album. Info

Betsy Profile.jpg

Madison-based vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Betsy Ezell's first album, Voices, released in December, takes a rich and conversational approach to vocal-driven jazz. As a singer, Ezell can fully and poignantly inhabit a smoky blues ("Commercial Avenue Stoplight Blues"), a sinuous Latin-tinged melody ("Palavras"), or a slow-burning affirmation that hints at contemporary pop and R&B influences ("For So Long"). The album starts with Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's standard "All The Things You Are," but Ezell wrote the remaining eight tracks, and all nine treat her voice as an instrument fully invested in a real give-and-take with the other musicians here. Ezell's interplay with bassist Laurie Lang is especially rewarding throughout, but all involved do spacious, warmly collaborative work here: pianist Becca May Grant, drummer Jim Huwe, and guitarist Richard Hildner. (Saxophonist Virginia Mayhew and organist Roberta Piket join in on "She Is Strong.") It's the kind of jazz-vocal music that's bound to take on even more nuance in a live setting, and Ezell celebrates the album's release here with Grant, Lang, Hildner, drummer Chris Sandoval, and vibraphone player John Becker. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: January 25
The Wild Pear Tree (free)
Later Event: January 25
Davu Seru & Jamal R. Moore