The CD: On her latest CD, “Fun Out of Life”, April Hall revitalizes the classic jazz standard, creating music that’s alive with energy and attitude. From subtly nuanced ballads to soul-drenched blues, the emotional power of her delivery is perfectly framed by the elegant simplicity of her arrangements.
Hall organically leads her stellar ensemble with her exquisite phrasing. Her performance is deeply personal on “I’ve Got the World on a String” and unapologetically swinging on “Foolin’ Myself”. She sings Jimmy Rushing’s “Boogie Woogie Blues” with an authentic Southern swagger, and gives an unforgettably sultry rendition of Percy Mayfield‘s protest song “Please Send Me Someone to Love” (featuring New Orleans saxophonist Amadee Castenell of Allen Toussaint and Elivs Costello).
April, a Florida native, has roots steeped in southern tradition, music and culture. Her deep roots in southern gospel and blues combine with urban soulfulness and sophistication to create music that’s pure, gutsy, and unmistakably authentic.
April’s voice is an instrument of astonishing beauty and versatility, capable of ranging from the subtlest nuance to the most powerful soul-drenched belting with equal ease and mastery. But her focus is always on singing the song, in the tradition of classic singers like Joe Williams, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett.
In 1993 April graduated from Berklee College of Music, where she received the prestigious Louis Armstrong Performance Award. She has done projects for Atlantic Records under the direction of Arif Mardin for the likes of Melissa Manchester, Bette Midler and Chaka Khan and has appeared on stage with artists such as Al Jarreau, Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, Rosemary Clooney and Dinah Shore. For the past 12 years, she has been recording and performing with New England's finest musicians, including Tim Ray, Marshall Wood, Kenny Hadley, Dino Govoni, Jon Damian, Bruce Gertz, Tom Hall, Bob Neiske, Jerry Bergonzi, John Lockwood, Marty Balue and Amadee Castenell.
Her graceful good looks and powerful presence have captivated audiences at every conceivable venue, from night-clubs like The Regattabar and Scullers to the fine ballrooms of the Copley Plaza and Ritz Carlton, from the Vonn Trapp Estate in New Hampshire to the mansions of Newport, from intimate parties on the Cape to major events like the Anthony Spinazolla Gala Festival of Food & Wine, National Democratic Convention and the NAFTA Convention.
April is also an award winning songwriter, and her music has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine and on Boston's "Women in Music" series (presented by WERS), "The Coffeehouse" and WGBH's Premier Jazz show, "Eric in the Evening" and PRI.
Voice, Upright Bass, Piano/Guitar, Drums, Saxophone
Fun Out of Life-2009
Bee Boy Records, Boston, MA
Hall Sings Hines-2005
Spice Rack Records
Riding the Bull-2004
Spice Rack Records
Something Like That-2000
Bee Boy Records, Boston, MA
Voice of Honey!
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The native Floridian sings standards in a voice of honey and smoke, with a vital blues and gospel-in...The native Floridian sings standards in a voice of honey and smoke, with a vital blues and gospel-informed swagger that draws from her Southern roots. - Kevin Lowenthal, Globe Critic 1/2/09
You Must Believe in Spring!
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TRACK You Must Believe In Spring ARTIST April Hall (vocals) CD Fun Out of Life (Bee Boy 0902) ...TRACK You Must Believe In Spring
ARTIST April Hall (vocals)
CD Fun Out of Life (Bee Boy 0902)
Musicians: April Hall (vocals), Jon Damian (guitar). Composed by
Michel Legrand, Jacques Demy, Alan & Marilyn Bergman.
Recorded: Boston, MA, date not given; released October 2008
April Hall is a Boston-based singer with a voice so ﬂexible and wide-
ranging that she can sound like several completely different vocalists as you move from track to track on her Fun Out of Life CD.
Her strongest performances come on bluesy numbers such as "Boogie Woogie Blues" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love" where she allows her voice free reign, as well as on "How Deep is the Ocean" and especially "You Must Believe in Spring," where controlled intonation and tasteful, subtle phrasing are the keys to success.
The dramatically emotional "You Must Believe in Spring" is a challenge for any singer, and Hall's interpretation is one of the better ones you'll ever hear. No vocal tricks or horn-like phrasing, but rather a commanding, sharply focused approach that would transﬁx a live club audience, bringing even the rudest patrons to rapt
silence. Jon Damian's lovely guitar intro and coda, as well as his
accompaniment and impressive Joe Pass-ﬂavored solo, only help to
magnify the impact of this duet track, his playing a perfect complement for Hall's lustrous voice. Her resonant timbre and varied delivery are to be admired, and she's equally assured in both the upper and lower registers. One must also note Hall's reﬁned
inﬂections and ﬂawlessly sustained long tones. This is a heartfelt, moving and unassuming version of a classic song.
The Boston Globe
Glorious vocals on a bed of folky, bluesy melodies!
The Muses Muse
...Sweet Brilliance! Music that fully believes in the positive nature of the human condition.
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...Visceral power, impresses by not trying to impress. April Hall's debut CD Something Like That,......Visceral power, impresses by not trying to impress.
April Hall's debut CD Something Like That, doesn't sound like a singer song-writer record, at least not like the kind you are used to. There's no "stamp" for it-it's not a Paula Cole wannabe, it doesn't have Sheryl Crow's drum loop with twang sound, not too much jazzed out Joni either. Hall is fond of the hollow, woodsy acoustics of upright bass and unproscessed drums, along with acoustic guitar and the occasional Udu accompaniment.
The Visceral ower of the record comes through the strongest. For someone with Berklee-powered theory behind her, it is surprising to find a nary a minor seven flat five throughout her 12-songs. Instead, the melodies are well-crafted and are performed expertly, and the other instruments find their places around them. In this way, the album doesn't really remind the listener of anything specifically. It impresses by not trying to impress!
Chill Baby Chill!
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Lately go! has been feeling sorry for all you snow-bedraggled cavemen and cavewomen of Boston's Ic...Lately go! has been feeling sorry for all you snow-bedraggled cavemen and cavewomen of Boston's
Ice Age. We've seen you, digging out cars that could pass for igloos and squabbling over parking
spaces, which is why we went looking for something that would start your weekend in a mellow
tone. And when we heard that the April Hall Quartet has just begun a short residency at the Top of
the Hub, well, clang-clang-clang went our trolley. As Hall (left) and her band swing through jazz
standards with an effortless effervescence, we will be soaking up the clubby atmosphere of the
sprawling, 360-degree bar and restaurant perched on the Pru's 52d floor. The effulgent Hall, a
Berklee grad with a rich, commanding voice and a classy stage presence, leads a graceful foursome
that includes Kenny Hadley on drums. Hall also sings with the local jazz ensemble Soul Kitchen,
and even more remarkable to Go!, she could have been separated at birth from our friend Carolyn,
a woman so unaffectedly smart and savvy that we often forget that she's five years our junior. Hall,
too, has the stage presence of an old soul of jazz.
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April Hall lives in Boston, Mass. She says she's been writing in some form or another for a long ...April Hall lives in Boston, Mass. She says she's been writing in some form or another for a
long time. "I can't remember a time when I didn't have some scrap of paper with scribbles on
it. When I look back on my old journals most of them were ﬁlled with the images that I saw
She received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music where she says she ﬁrst realized
"Hey, i don't have to sing everyone else's songs now! I can't imagine my life without
expressing myself through music."
Her song "Red Dirt Summer" is based on her time spent with her Grandmother. "When I was a
young girl, i spent several summers with my grandmother in Georgia. The best part of my
summers was the nights. So many ﬁreﬂies would come out...it was unreal. We'd catch'em and
keep'em in jars on our window sills. It is one of my most precious memories. My
grandmother was tough but she loved us and let us make a mess of ourselves and her house.
We were constantly draggin' red dirt through the house and of course we were covered in it by
the end of the day."
When asked for advice for other writers, Hall replies, "Write about what you know. My best
and most loved songs are ones that came right from my soul. The bottom line is that people
are moved by the truth, whether it's funny, happy or heartbreaking. And of course write, write
and then write some more."
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Pamela Hines and April Hall continue their collaboration with a full album of tunes that Hines compo...Pamela Hines and April Hall continue their collaboration with a full album of tunes that Hines composed. The last time around, Hall was a guest vocalist on Twilight World. On the present effort, the tunes cross different streams and Hall gets in to them with compact ease. Her voice is supple and she uses phrasing to bring out the emotional strength of the lyrics.
Hines has a free-ﬂowing gait as a pianist. Her ideas are relevant and they bring context to the
development of her songs. She gets off on the right track with “I Go For You,” essaying a light undercurrent of swing. She improvises but keeps her inventions in check to make this a
nice lithe tune. There is a balmy air to “Encinitas.” Hall has a sultry edge to her singing, but the overall atmosphere is an easy one, a warm wind wafting across softly. It is time to go uptempo and ﬂex the rhythm when they take it “To the Street.” Hines parlayssome colourful runs, making her work all the more interesting as she steers clear of
unnecessary ﬂourishes. The blues has to be in there, and “4 Blues,” a traipsing song, is given a lucent presence by Hines while Hall makes the lyric jump and sit up with her vocal acrobatics.
Personnel: April Hall: vocals; John Lockwood: bass;
Reed Dieffenbach: drums, percussion; Pamela Hines: piano.
Hall Sings Hines
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Hall Sings Hines Spice Rack Records 2005 Posted by: adminon Wednesday, February 22, 2006 By John...Hall Sings Hines
Spice Rack Records 2005
Posted by: adminon Wednesday, February 22, 2006 By John Gilbert
April Hall (v), John Lockwood (b), Reed Dieffenbach (d), Pamela Hines (p) Hines and Hall combine to create some very listenable jazz. On "4 Blues" things get off the ground with some ﬁne pianistic dexterity by Hines and an interesting bass solo by Lockwood. The exchanges by Pamela Hines and drummer Dieffenbach show that Hines takes no prisoners. April Hall brightens matters up with a no nonsense vocal. This is the best track on the album. I would have liked to have heard some jazz standards as an addition to a nice recording. 3 Stars
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