MP3 Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) - Center of the Rhyme
"Daring, dexterous singer/songwriter/poet... imaginative originals with appeal to both traditional and contemporary jazz tastes and even, on occasion, hip-hop hipsters." (Philadelphia Daily News)
10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, SPOKEN WORD: Poetry
Lisa B merges singing, songwriting, and poetry-rap like no one else in today''s jazz and pop. Her growing audience includes fans of:
* great tunes and a swinging voice
* jazzy rap and spoken poetry
In 2003, Lisa B was featured in Jazziz magazine''s Women in Jazz issue and their Blues issue; interviewed for international broadcast by Voice of America; interviewed by many radio stations across the country; and reviewed by numerous local publications. Here is some of what they said:
Jazziz, 2003 "Blues" issue:
With inspiration from Carmen McRae, John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, and poet Garcia Lorca, San Francisco vocalist Lisa B''s latest...opens with her spoken-sung homage "Joe Williams Died Walking" followed by a swinging rendition of his signature tune...After hearing about the record, Joe Williams'' widow contacted Lisa to request a copy.
"Center of the Rhyme" reveals a singer, spoken-word artist and poet with an incisive way of chronicling situations, memories and emotions. She sings with a pliable, expressive voice dipped in blue... B intercuts her smooth rendition of Bobby Caldwell''s "What You Won''t Do for Love" with a rap, and turns saucily suggestive on "Keeps Me Up All Night." She sets her urgent poetic lyrics against a violin-driven, electro-fusion background on "Be Electric," and a spacious musical bed, highlighted by romantic saxophone, swirls around her imagistic vocals on the title track.
Jazziz, 2003 "Women In Jazz" issue:
Great pipes....talented songwriter.
Rita Rochelle, Voice of America broadcast:
A beautifully sensuous voice, so melodic...an excellent writer. She inspires us.
Jim Clark, KUSD-FM:
Her poetry riffs and asides remind me of the jazz poetry of Chicago''s great Ken Nordine.
Monterey County Herald:
...up-and-coming jazz singer Lisa B...brings a whole new take on some familiar songs as well as quirky originals, such as her "Joe Williams Died Walking" that opens up her latest album...And she is a terrific lyricist, which you might expect from an accomplished poet, but comes as a revelation nonetheless.
Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News:
Daring, dexterous singer/songwriter/poet Lisa B catches the "Center of the Rhyme" (Piece of Pie), an imaginative set of originals with appeal to both traditional and contemporary jazz tastes and even, on occasion, hip-hop hipsters.
Jackie McLean, saxophone master, educator:
"Fresh, very interesting, impressive: Lisa B is a brand-new Somebody here. She definitely has a talent that´s all hers. Her music is both commercial and traditional. She has her own sound—a very nice voice. And the writing…I was lifted up by ´Be Electric.´ ´A Place We Knew´ is gorgeous, with gorgeous chord progressions…"
Ted Panken (JAZZIZ, downbeat, WKCR-FM, New York):
On "Center of the Rhyme," singer-poet Lisa B, like all rugged individualists of the jazz tribe, articulates her accomplished narrative with a tonal personality entirely her own. She spins tales of desire and obsession, formally rigorous, filled with precise, striking images. Somehow, she finds clarity when such fundamental opposites as male and female collide and—following the eternal laws of dialectics—combust into a third dimension that transcends the sum of its parts.
Lisa Bernstein´s...mix of spoken word poetry (think rap for the uptown swing crowd) and passionate jazzy, high register vocalizing is...hard to resist in the sense that you´re never sure what she´s going to do next. Is it ruminating in words on the life, death and afterlife of Joe Williams (over an outstanding trio swing vibe that segues into her playful, straightforward singing on "Every Day I Have the Blues")? Is it enhancing Bobby Caldwell´s "What You Won´t Do For Love" with a whole new spoken story of a love deeper than Caldwell could have imagined?...Or another musical poem? The easy swinging, bluesy original "Keeps Me Up All Night" is a snazzy romance that shows what [she]... can do with normal, engaging material. And "A Place We Knew" reveals a thoughtful singer of solid phrasing and a good vocabulary of modern and traditional jazz. All the chit chat is cute, clever and definitely something that sets her apart..."
Raised in New York and Northern California, Lisa B was lucky to know, through her parents, many well-known jazz musicians, whose music and lives influenced Lisa since she was a small child. She studied piano since elementary school and wrote songs and stories. She wrote and studied poetry since her teens, going on to earn bachelor''s and master''s degrees in creative writing. Two books of her poetry have been published, "Anorexia" (Five Fingers Poetry) and "The Transparent Body" (Wesleyan University Press). Her poems have appeared in more than 50 literary magazines and anthologies. She has received grants and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation, and Money for Women.
Lisa B''s many public poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay Area evolved into performances. One was a two-night, sold-out piece at the leading experimental theatre The Lab that included dancers and live music. Lisa B then began to focus on songwriting, singing, and music, studying first at the Blue Bear School of Music, then with renowned Bay Area vocal coach Jane Sharp. Lisa was soon gigging frequently, performing jazz and selected pop standards along with her own compositions. She has performed at more than 70 clubs, performance spaces, colleges, bookstores, and radio stations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York.
While often composing lyrics and music on her own, Lisa B also enjoys co-writing with musicians, including singer-pianist Barbara Higbie (Windham Hill, women''s music), Latin jazz trombonist-arranger Wayne Wallace (Spirit Nectar Records), and pianist and former UC Berkeley jazz director Bevan Manson (A Records). A frequent collaborator is her longtime producer/engineer, the composer Jim Gardiner (Pharoah Sanders, Rickie Lee Jones, David Grisman, Seattle Symphony, and numerous Bay Area rap and soul artists).
Lisa B''s spirit of collaboration often yields new versions of existing compositions. Her CENTER OF THE RHYME contains two: her poetic homage "Joe Williams Died Walking" performed with "Every Day I Have the Blues" and Bobby Caldwell''s "What You Won''t Do for Love" with new poem-raps composed by Lisa. On her previous record FREE ME FOR THE JOY, Lisa B''s heartrending poem "Trane''s Ride" is performed with Coltrane''s "Naima."
Lisa B''s first recording, the EP BE THE WORD was played on more than 120 noncommercial and commercial radio stations nationwide in jazz, triple A, alternative, and new adult contemporary formats, charting or in heavy or medium rotation on a third of them.
The 1999 FREE ME FOR THE JOY is Lisa B''s first full-length release, on her own Piece of Pie Records. All originals except for one collaboration with Coltrane''s "Naima," it includes such stellar players as John Santos (Machete) and Curtis Ohlson (Ray Charles'' band). FREE ME FOR THE JOY was added to the playlists of more than 85 commercial and noncommercial radio stations across the country in 1999-2000, including charting and heavy rotation. It was played in jazz, smooth jazz, college, triple A, women''s, new age, and other formats, with reporting by trade magazines R&R, Gavin, and CMJ.
CENTER OF THE RHYME is a huge step forward in Lisa B''s creative development--jazzier and more acoustic than her previous release and revealing an evolved singing voice, new tunes that listeners won''t forget, and "an emotional range that makes lyrics sound like truth" (critic Ted Panken). Many of the Bay Area''s best jazz players appear, including Frank Martin (keyboards), Mimi Fox and Dave Yamasaki (guitar), Bill Douglass and Chris Amberger (bass), Paul van Wageningen (drums), Michael Spiro (percussion), and Daria (vocals).