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HALF MOON (Live in New York)
Kendra Shank & Geoffrey Keezer
Kendra Shank and Geoffrey Keezer’s musical association began in 2008 at the Athenaeum jazz series in San Diego, CA when a cancelled flight prevented Shank’s New York pianist from making the gig. With just 30 minutes to rehearse, Keezer stepped in with a seamless performance and instant chemistry with Shank that inspired a standing ovation. Kendra called on Geoffrey’s trio for subsequent West Coast tours and their musical connection deepened. In January 2015, while Geoffrey was in Manhattan on an engagement with Chris Botti, he and Kendra performed an afternoon concert at a friend’s home. The intimate duo setting provided the pianist and vocalist unlimited freedom to create spontaneously in the moment, taking the enthusiastic audience on a magical journey that was captured on this Ride Symbol recording. The title song “Half Moon,” inspired by a lamp hanging over the piano, was completely improvised and reveals Shank at her most vulnerable. Keezer’s 88-key orchestra of harmonic and rhythmic virtuosity and Shank’s exotic wordless vocalizations are highlighted in Cedar Walton’s “Life’s Mosaic,” while the duo’s lyrical side shines on the debut recording of Jeremy Siskind’s “Kneel” (winner of ASCAP’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award). The chart for “When Love Was You and Me” (Abbey Lincoln/Thad Jones) was given to Kendra in 1994 by her mentor Abbey Lincoln when Kendra visited her Upper West Side apartment — coincidentally in the same building where this concert took place. Throughout this diverse and inspired set, Shank & Keezer embody the joy and playful inventiveness of making music as interactive partners, transcending the singer-accompanist mold.
GEOFFREY KEEZER With his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in a variety of configurations, Grammy-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. Whether recording with jazz vocalists Diana Krall or Dianne Reeves, touring with trumpet king Chris Botti, or collaborating with pop icon Sting, sax legend Wayne Shorter, guitar wizard Jim Hall, star bassist Christian McBride or vibes master Joe Locke, Geoffrey “has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole” (Time magazine). His recent release, Heart of the Piano (2013, Motema Records), redefines solo jazz piano as a personal and interactive showcase of melody, energy and groove. Geoffrey Keezer’s singular style of intellectually abstract lyricism woven over exotically complex rhythms and harmonies makes him one of the most sought-after artists on the modern jazz scene. geoffreykeezer.com
KENDRA SHANK Kendra Shank’s 6 critically acclaimed CDs have garnered numerous “Best of the Year” citations and Down Beat poll recognition, with accolades for her “delectable voice” (Time magazine) and “breathtakingly original concept” (Boston Globe). Since her 1992 debut at the Village Vanguard, presented by Shirley Horn, Shank has become a mainstay on New York’s jazz scene, has toured in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada and the U.S., and has appeared on NPR’s JazzSet and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. In addition to leading her NY quartet of 16 years with Frank Kimbrough, Dean Johnson, and Tony Moreno, she co-leads a duo with guitarist John Stowell and has performed and/or recorded with Abbey Lincoln, Fred Hersch, Larry Willis, Joe Locke, Jay Clayton, Bob Dorough, Gary Bartz, Steve Wilson, Victor Lewis, Matt Wilson, Ben Monder and many more. Her mix of jazz originals, standards, world music, folk/pop, and open improvisation is unified by her soulful storytelling, inventive phrasing, and spontaneous group interplay. kendrashank.com