Thursday, December 15, 2005






REVIEWS AROUND THE WORLD "La cantant preferida de Tucson, Lisa Otey, canta amb un estil molt personal, tenyit d'Elvis, Billie Holiday i hot jazz piano. Aquesta cantant plena de talent ha estat anunciada arreu del món pel seu so sofisticat i sensual. El seu progressiu estil de blues ha guanyat molts premis, incloent el de Arizona Compositor de l'Any (2000), Arizona Blues Showdown Campionship (1998), Tammies Music de l'Any (1997) i, sovint, Millor Intèrpret de Tucson. Lisa Otey està esdevenint una estrella i el seu nom cada dia és més apreciat en el món del blues i el jazz.

Nascuda a Baltimore, i filla de músics, va ser educada des de la infantesa en la música, escoltant i tocant tot tipus de música, de clàssica fins a pop. Als 17 anys es trasllada a Tucson per estudiar jazz. El seu estil acull influències ben diverses, incloent Chicago, Nova Orleans, Texas, West Coast i el jazz i el blues del sud-oest.

Tant en les seves actuacions en solitari, com quan toca amb tota la banda, Lisa Otey aplega una gran quantitat de públic. En el seus treballs discogràfics Blame it on my Youth, el premiat Blue Angel, Kitten on the Keys i Gimme Some o yo'Sugar! s'aprecia l'ampli ventall del seu talent. Lisa Otey dóna un aire fresc als vells estàndards i introdueix la seva creativitat amb gran sentit de l'humor en els temes propis."

(MADMA, Roses Jazz, Blues, Gospel Festival, Catalunya, SPAIN)

Finger-snappin' time at the Yardbird
Live jazz rules the stage far from the boy bands and mainstream circuit

Todd Babiak, Edmonton Journal

Thursday, March 07, 2002

The Yardbird Suite, 11 Tommy Banks Way

Volunteer bartenders Leah Tolton and Luc Bouchard at the Yardbird Suite.

Aggressiveness quotient: We don't give receipts!
Snootiness factor: Handshakes and hugs
Genre: Jazz

Jazz is a blend of individualism and compromise. Fifty years ago, there were no greater metaphors for American democracy than the Mississippi River and jazz. If the genre has not lost its charisma and soul since Chuck Berry and Elvis changed everything, jazz has lost its cultural centrality. For most of us, bop is little more than a curiosity.

For everyone else, there is the Yardbird Suite. If you are sick of the boy bands, video screens, breast implants, second-hand smoke and neon booze advertisements of the mainstream nightclub scene, try some live jazz. The Yardbird Suite is the talented, pudgy kid with glasses peeking around the corner at all the drunken brutes of Whyte Avenue, wondering why they keep barfing in the garbage bins and punching each other in the face.

"This is technically a private members' club," says house manager Danielle Burns. Like everyone else working at the Yardbird tonight, Burns is a volunteer, which makes it difficult to complain about the service. "But we welcome anyone who wants to come check us out."

Burns says that everything about the Yardbird Suite is unique, but most peculiar is the smell inside. Microwaved popcorn replaces cigarette smoke as the dominant odor. This either says the Yardbird is the most progressive bar in the city or that jazz is in big, big trouble. Remember Dean Moriarty in On The Road, ripping his shirt off in the jazz clubs and howling about Charlie Parker, the wild god of the beat generation? Despite the fact that the Yardbird Suite was named after a Parker song, all the sweaty, smoky, improvisational madness has been replaced by the suburban scent of microwaved popcorn.

The tables are close together, so it is easy to make new friends as you watch and listen. Even if you don't make friends, you are close enough to hear your neighbours' stomachs gurgling when Lisa Otey plays the quiet parts of My Funny Valentine. You can appreciate the exact tenor of their sniffles and coughs, and during the intermission you can hear about their plans to go for brunch at the High Level Diner if the husband's cystitis isn't acting up.

Near the stage, a few tables are pushed together for Yardbird regulars, the enthusiasts. They have a bottle of gold-label Wolf Blass to share. A positive correlation between wine consumption and audience participation is evident in this zone, as random shouts of "woo," "Lord," "damn" and "smokin' " increase in volume and intensity as the evening progresses.

If the average age at the Yardbird is 45, it's being pulled downward by a new generation of easy listeners. Julie Stinchcombe, 9, is here because she met bluesy pianist Lisa Otey at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market. Stinchcombe is looking for inspiration, according to her dad. When I ask if she will play here at the Yardbird one day, Stinchcombe looks toward the stage and replies, "Yeah."

The clean-breathing patrons of the Yardbird Suite move their heads from side to side, snap their fingers and sing along. Their animal-print shirts and black leather pants illuminated by candles and elegant blue lights, the hep cats shimmy in their seats and stand up occasionally for ovations and accolades.

As Lisa Otey plays, her velvet shawl keeps falling off her shoulders. We can't stop looking at her, or laughing generously at her jokes. Most of her songs are about someone named Baby, and many of us know that person and nod our heads about leaving him, or her. When Otey leaves the stage for the intermission, a bearded man stands up and turns around, faces the crowd, wipes his brow and says, "Whoa. I need some popcorn."

© Copyright 2002 Edmonton Journal

Masterclass blueszangeres
in Theater de Kloostertuin

Op zaterdag 26 januari a.s. organiseert de muziekafdeling van Kunstencentrum het Klooster een masterclass door de beroemde Amerikaanse blueszangeres/pianiste Lisa Otey in Theater de Kloostertuin.
De masterclass begint om 11.00 uur en duurt circa anderhalf uur.
Lisa Otey, geboren in Baltimore, MD in 1967, groeide op op het platteland van Portland, OR. Haar familie bestond voornamelijk uit muzikanten die haar muzikale talenten van jongs af aan stimuleerden. Van klassiek tot pop en ook musical werd door haar beluisterd en gespeeld. Op 17-jarige leeftijd verhuisde ze naar Tucson, AZ om jazz te gaan studeren aan de University of Arizona. Ze speelde met vele lokale theatergroepen en muzikanten om zo haar eigen stijl te ontwikkelen. Een stijl die ze zelf omschrijft als een opwindende mix van Elvis en Billie Holliday aangevuld door stuwende barrelhouse- en hot jazz piano en blues.
Lisa Otey is een echte "crowd-pleaser" en won vele prijzen, zoals 2001 Tammies Best Keyboards en 2000 Arizona Composer of the Year. Ook zijn er al diverse cd-opnames van haar op de markt.
Van 22 tot en met 28 januari is zij op toernee door Nederland en België. Op 26 januari geeft ze tijdens de masterclass in Theater de Kloostertuin les aan een drietal zangleerlingen van Kunstencentrum het Klooster die dit jaar deelnemen aan de VSB fonds talentenklas van het kunstencentrum.
Wilt u de masterclass van deze bijzondere zangeres/pianiste ook bijwonen, dan kunt u kaarten reserveren à € 7,- bij de receptie van Kunstencentrum het Klooster, telefoon 0348 - 423066 of e-mail

"Finding good authentic blues in Tucson Arizona can be a great chore for the local blues lover. If you happen to catch Lisa Otey and her band belting out blues from her latest CD Hard Working' Woman you will be in blues heaven. Her classic brassy voice mixed with wonderfully composed piano, bass, guitar, and percussion blend into an authentic American Blues sound. The Band consists of Lisa Otey (piano, vocal), Steve Grams (bass), and Jon Westfall (drums)." (Blues, Brews, and Barbeques)

"Lisa Otey's added vocals on tracks like "Memphis Afternoon" and the title track create the effect of two kites flying in harmony. Her piano playing on the title track gives a gentle reassurance to the song like a mother stroking your hair and whispering encouragement. Some very nice arranging here." (review of Eric Hansen's CD, Hero in the Dark,written by Paul Katona III, Music Supervisor, Borders Books & Music)

Owl's Nest Productions ® of Tucson, Arizona