MP3 Sarah Brindell - Live at the Paradise Lounge
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11 MP3 Songs
URBAN/R&B: Contemporary urban, POP: with Live-band Production
"If anything is going to put us in the right groove, it's this newly minted diva of funk, pop, and jazz....Brindell has been soothing our soul of late." -Boston Globe
Metronome Magazine, Feb. 2005, by Brian Owens:
Readying for her trip on Tuesday, the fourth day of our new year, to visit her uncle in Zurich, Switzerland, Sarah Brindell spoke to me via phone from that purple house on a hill in San Francisco where she grew up; that purple house now famous to fans who read the bio on her Web site at https://www.tradebit.com, as well as in flyers and press kits. Family life in that purple house, described as loving and slightly eccentric, became the descriptive birth place of another entertainer in a long line of musicians, composers and published writers.
Sarah, in addition to fronting her band with sweet vocal sensibilities and hands poised to dance across her Nord Electro Keyboard (specializing in vintage sounds like the clavinet or the Wurlitzer and Hammond), also teaches songwriting and arranging at Berklee
College of Music in Boston. "I just made up a songwriting class for Berklee's online extension school, which caters to anybody that wants to take online classes around the world. I'm starting to do that more so that I can basically use the online classes to catapult me into touring more often. Then I can just live off the laptop, which is the ultimate goal, I think," said Sarah Brindell.
Sarah went to the New School in New York, and moved up to Boston when she was
offered a teaching position at Berklee about 3 years ago; while in New York, Sarah lived about 2 blocks away from the World Trade Center for almost 6 years, and left September 1st of 2001 (very lucky!). "I'm really happy to be in Boston at the moment, and I'm planning a tour of the Northeast with a couple of friends, going out as a three woman bill that focuses on our respective solo talents. I've been mostly touring solo and playing local with the band. I found that taking the band down to New York involves spending a lot of money. Plus, solo touring is actually kind of empowering and fun as well, so I've been doing a lot of that."
Brindell's current band lineup is comprised of a serendipitous grouping, with Mike Null on guitar, Aaron Bellamy on bass, and Mauricio Zottarelli on drums. Serendipity seems an apt moniker since it's a term Sarah has heard throughout her life (her mother even nicknamed her Serendipity as a child).
The gathering of Sarah's band took place over a few years after her arrival in Boston and at Berklee. When she forced it, looking for band members to fill upcoming gigs, she was sometimes hard-pressed, but she would see the current members of her band at various venues, by chance. She heard Mauricio while passing by a Berklee drum recital, getting and forgetting his contact information, and then having a student bring the two of them together again; months later she found the contact information she had misplaced and saw that it was for the same person. Brindell came into contact with Mike Null at a cafe, and was stricken by his ability to create colors with the guitar, as well as textures. She saw Aaron Bellamy play with his own band a few years ago, thought he was amazing, didn't see him for about 2 and a half years, but clicked at a gig and the two have been playing together ever since.
Brindell and her band recently recorded a live album during two sold out sets at the Paradise Lounge in Boston, Massachusetts, close to a year and one month after the debut of her first studio album, Piece of Mind. Two Thousand Three's Piece of Mind contains cameo appearances by her mother, Jill Brindel (San Francisco Symphony) on cello, her father, Bill Klingelhoffer (San Francisco Opera, Ballet Orchestras) on French horn, and her aunt Mary Stolper (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) on flute. The new live album is coming out during the winter of 2005, most likely in March.
The live concept as a second album is in direct contrast to 2003's Piece of Mind. That latter first album, as described by Sarah, is more of a "sit down by a candlelight dinner and drink some wine and listen to the album kind of album. It has much more of a chill, kind of laid back vibe." With her forthcoming album, Sarah captured the live energy that she and her band create at shows. "These guys are so good and I really want people to hear them in a live setting, so I got them to show off their stuff and we created more of a dance feel, and an upbeat energetic kind of album," Sarah related.
A couple of the songs from Piece of Mind were reworked to produce the upbeat energy, such as "Purple Lullaby" and "Sweet Candlelight." "Additionally, there are new songs that I really wanted to get recorded, but at this point I was creatively in a place where I wanted to do a live album and catch that spark that happens between audience members and artists. There's really nothing like that, and I really wanted to capture that feeling."
Sarah's audience encompasses a wide mix of fans: people looking for something that's a little different, a little alternative to the normal Jazz/Pop that you can typically hear on the radio. "Maybe they are looking for some more harmonic changes or something that's not so tightly categorized. Obviously everything can be placed in a category, but I think it crosses a few genres. My music definitely has Jazz sensibilities, so in that respect, it definitely caters to older people as well as younger people. Some of it is a little racy, so it does get sexy, but it's sexy in a metaphorical rather than a blatant way. At shows, I've had people bring their parents and the parents loved it just as much as the kids. You don't see that kind of widespread acceptance at a lot of shows. The lyrics are poetic and there is a certain swelling complexity to the music, although recently I've been getting into the idea of simplicity. My more recent music has leaned toward the R&B vibe, much more than the older stuff did," stated Sarah.
Sarah Brindell's music does have a very eclectic feel to it, reminiscent of the striding distinctions that set Rikki Lee Jones apart from her peers, and can also be found in the music of the kings of Jazz crossover, Steely
Dan. Sarah elaborates, "We definitely honed more of our own sound, and that was the general consensus of people that have known my stuff for a while and came to the live show for the recording on December 5th. They said, 'Wow, you guys have really developed your own thing." So, people who love the fast drum beats can get
into this because they can watch Mauricio, who's this amazing Brazilian drummer, just go off with all of his crazy mathematical rhythms. Then the funk people really like it because Aaron... this little guy who dances around while he plays, and he's just the funk master. Then, those people who love blues, really love Mike Null because he has this B.B. King meets David Gilmour kind of vibe.
In Boston there's a certain widespread acceptance and love of all things Folk and Indie Rock, the only two musical genres that Sarah and her band don't strike upon, and she's had an uphill battle to find places to draw and grow her audience. Even the straight ahead Jazz clubs were hard-pressed to fit here in. If she wanted to played those clubs, she needed to tone down and be quiet, but if she played rock clubs, like the Middle East, she was looked at as a little too cocktail lounge. Ultimately, Sarah's feeling is that she does best in theatres, where people buy tickets and sit down to really drink the music in. It's a tough goal to attain, but she seems to be on her way.
As for the push to garner record company attention, it hasn't been Brindell's top priority. Sarah feels that she's standing on the cusp of such a strange time in the music industry, and that because of downloadable music, the grasp and strength of record companies might be waning. Developing her own audience independently is definitely at the forefront of her current and future plans. Eventually, if record companies take notice, then that's great. "I really want to be the kind of band and solo artist that generates their own audience to a point where the record companies come and say, 'do your thing, it's
obviously working.' I'm very wary of anything else," stated Brindell.
The outstanding and most eclectic element of Sarah's musical style is her incorporation and deft usage of keyboard sounds, using a Fender Rhodes electric piano and Wurlitzer to record Piece of Mind, and recreating those sounds on stage with her Nord Electro. She related her affinity for the Rhodes and other vintage sounds came from listening to Donny Hathaway, Herbie Hancock, and especially Stevie Wonder, whom she had a chance to meet when she
was eighteen. Piece of Mind definitely shines through with the kind of soulful vibe and extraordinary creation that Stevie Wonder captured in the 70s, and I'm betting that her live album will show Sarah's ability to capture an audience and a moment of time, as well as her wide spectrum of musical diversity.
You can check out Sarah Brindell and her band on Thursday, January 20th, at The Fireplace, 1634 Beacon Street; Washington St., in Brookline., and at Johnny D's Uptown Lounge in Somerville, in Davis Square, on Tuesday, January 25th. The Johnny D's show is a benefit for Doctors Without Borders, a group providing assistance to people in South Asia affected by the Tsunami.
Check back to Sarah's Web site at https://www.tradebit.com for future show dates, sound clips, and pictures of Sarah and her band, as well as to read all about the purple house on the hill.
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