Alana Cahoon
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Alana Cahoon

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF
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"Alana Cahoon has made a strong album"

Alana Cahoon's new effort is smooth and very easy on the ears. She has a strong voice that she puts to good use on these songs. The opening title song has some of Sade's polished warmth. The version of the oft-covered "Fever" sounds fresh and cool in her capable hands. "Suu Kyi" is a funky tribute to the heroic An San Suu Kyi that resonates deeply. Alana Cahoon has made a strong album. - The Ectophiles’ Guide to Good Music stjarnell@yahoo.com


"Alana Cahoon - Don’t Look Back CD Review (Alana Cahoon Miller)"

Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob das jetzt Alana Cahoon gegenüber fair klingt, aber was mir als erstes an “Don’t Look Back” auffällt und mir auch lange, nachdem die CD meine Stereo-Anlage (ja, so etwas gibt es noch) verlassen hat, noch im Ohr hängt, ist das klare und überdeutlich nach vorne gehende, überaus konkrete Saxofonspiel von Bill Straub, der hier, eigentlich nur als Begleitung des Cahoonschen Gesangs gedacht, eine mehr als tragende, nachhaltige Rolle spielt, die mich beeindruckt.



Das heißt nun natürlich nicht, dass ich Alana Cahoon und ihren durchdringenden, ebenfalls glasklar interpretierten Gesang irgendwie schlecht reden will. Im Gegenteil. Ihre Stimme hat ausreichend Schmelz und Gradlinigkeit, bei den meisten der zehn Stücke von “Don’t Look Back“ das Zepter in die Hand zu nehmen.



Doch es ist bei jedem Stück auch die spritzige, sehr Funk-betonte Produktion der Stücke, die das Gusto des Albums ausmacht, auch wenn gerade Songs wie “Carefree“ unterstreichen, wie aufregend und regelrecht explosiv Alana Cahoons Gesang sein kann.



Die Tempi des Albums sind abwechslungsreich gehalten und unterfüttern so den spritzigen, wirklich unterhaltsamen Sound des Albums, das irgendwo zwischen klassischem Jazz, Fusion, Soul, und immer wieder Funk, aber auch Pop seine Mitte findet.



Abgesehen von der Coverversion des meiner Meinung nach etwas zu überstrapazierten “Fever“ hat Alana Cahoon hier alle Songs selbst geschrieben und produziert, was überaus beeindruckend ist. Fast so beeindruckend wie das Saxofonspiel des Herrn Straub, womit sich der Kreis dieser Besprechung eines hervorragenden, spannenden Albums schließt.
- © Michael Arens, Soultrain, Germany’s Soul Magazine


"Go see her perform in person- now, while you can! She's on fire!"

Alana Cahoon: “Don't Look Back”

This is a collection of original songs filled with soulful blues, jazz, & funk with a hint of Broadway. She's joined some top-notch musicians: Andy Calabrese on piano & keys, Steve Curry on drums, Dave Zaskoda on acoustic bass, Ronnie France on electric bass, Davis Rolla Wright on guitar, and Bill Straub on sax & flute. RECORDED By: Andy Calabrese


From the sultry heat of the blues, to the sweet precision of jazz, Alana's is a voice whose power and range will sweep you away! Feisty, funky, soulful, and fine.


City newspaper (9/29- 10/5 issue) did her justice with an almost full page feature story, about her, titled, "Subliminal seduction". It provided some history about her music career, such as when she was fronting The Blue Avengers and released two CD with them. Alana has performed at Pomodoro's, with the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. She has begun rehearsing with a group in NYC, whiel continuning to write, record, & play in Rochester.


My suggestion? Go see her perform in person- now, while you can! She's on fire!


This brand new CD, and DOWNLOADs are available at:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dont-look-back/id377045809

- Cheryl Krall Dec 2010


"Concert Review: REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar at CMAC: Alana Cahoon at Pomodoro"

When an artist splits from a group, or a group disbands (as bands will do), the artist often has to work harder, especially when trying to stake his or her own claim in roughly the same genre. The Blue Avengers are no more, and yet singer Alana Cahoon presses on, straddling the sultry and blue side of jazz. I went to see Cahoon and pianist Andy Calabrese bring the happy to the happy-hour crowd at Pomodoro Thursday night. For me, jazz in the daylight hours is like drinking before noon; a little out of place, a little risky, but extra-cool when it works. Those who do it are hardcore. Cahoon worked her way around stylized standards, as well as stuff off her delicious disc, "Don't Look Back." As long as she takes that advice - and continues to sound this good - her fans won't either.
After Pat Benatar's smokin' set at CMAC last year, people wondered how Blondie could possibly follow (and if you remember, they didn't). This year the question was, How would Benatar follow in the smoldering wake left by REO Speedwagon?
Speedwagon was simply amazing. Yes, Rochester loves its dinosaurs, and often only needs to hear a hit to deem a show good or not, but the band was in tight form at CMAC on Sunday. REO has always been the kind of band that, if you grew up in its heyday, you didn't really have to own a copy of any of its records - REO Speedwagon ruled the airwaves. And besides, all your friends had a copy of "Hi Infidelity" if you wanted to ogle the cover and stock up the spank bank.
I was a little skeptical, as guitarist Gary Richrath has been gone from the line-up since 1989. No worries; the band's sound is still intact, and guitarist Dave Amato (former Ted Nugent guitarist) shredded on the hit-laden set, including the note-for-note solo on "Keep On Lovin' You," which is still in my air-guitar repertoire.
With most members circling 60, there's plenty of speed left in the Wagon, especially in tireless front man Kevin Cronin. I imagine there's some yoga going on somewhere in the tour schedule - perhaps this is how it rolls with the changes. REO milked the crowd dry and frankly wore me out.
I stuck around for a bit of Benatar's set. Her voice has got a bit of a ragged edge to it now and she circumvents some of the skyscraper notes, but she still sounds amazing. Her husband, hipster cat Neil Geraldo, is an amazing guitarist - so good, in fact, that Benatar played air guitar alongside his guitar breaks. When I play air guitar I imagine I sound - and look - as good as he does.
- City Newspaper


"Jazz Fest Previews: New CDs"

Get ready for the Rochester International Jazz Festival...2010 edition. As the name clearly announces, Rochester will be welcoming musicians from various points on the planet, but the festival will shine the spotlight on some great artists that live and work in the area as well. Here’s a quick look at a few CDs by some of the artists scheduled to perform this year.

Alana Cahoon
Don’t Look Back
Alana Cahoon’s musical journey has taken her from Rochester to New York City to the Middle East and back to Rochester again. She’s performed around town as a member of Blue Avengers but the group eventually dissolved and dispersed. So what direction is vocalist Cahoon headed in now?? Her solo CD, Don’t Look Back, offers us some of the answers.

The title cut opens with a soaring sax that helps usher in positive lyrics that affirm her new direction. It’s apparent right from the beginning that Ms. Cahoon has progressed from her Blue Avenger days. She’s feisty and funky on “This Thing,” a sassy number that seems to emancipate her from the past. MANY people have recorded “Fever,” the only cover on the entire disc, but her unique, understated approach keeps it glowing. “Not Worth My Love” has deep R and B roots with sharp lines such as “I turned around and I walked away/Leavin’ behind me a memory in decay.” “Dance With Me Daddy” is smoky and sensuous. A smooth saxophone guides us through this alluring New York jazz club-style song. In fact, even though a number of different types of music are heard, one of the common threads is the sax and flute heard on many of songs. “Warmth of My Soul,” an instrumental, brings us in for a smooth and soft landing.

~~ Scott Gudell, Freetime Magazine, May 19, 2010
- Freetime Magazine


"Cahoon moves on ignoring Medussa’s stare: The Strathallan to stage a woman of jazz"

Alana Cahoon spent seven years working for a "business incubator" company. "It literally incubates start-up companies," she says, explaining how it helps businessmen with a concept, or just some guy daydreaming about going into business himself, turn that idea into a reality.
That's pretty much how it works for most musicians these days. They have an idea, or a bunch of songs, for a CD. The incubation period follows, then the product.
And then? The real work begins: Getting gigs, pushing the songs. Finding the audience. Cahoon hopes she finds that audience with a set of gigs, next Thursday, Sept 9 and Sept. 23, at The Strathallan.
Don't Look Back is the product, 10 songs that show off Cahoon as a woman of jazz, R&B, pop, blues and even a little theater. She wrote nine of the tracks, with the exception of that old jazz favorite "Fever," which she delivers with the kind of finger-snapping delivery that walks the sexy line between Peggy Lee and Eartha Kitt.
Cahoon put out two previous albums with her former band, Blue Avenger. She's a "marketing communications professional," as she calls it, but that sounds a little stiff for a woman who oozes a bit of the bohemian: She spent some time in New York City as the art director of a performing arts theater, and has interests in yoga, painting and drawing (although she fell off the vegetarian wagon on the advice of her doctor). She even lived in Bahrain before returning to her native Rochester, where she's now raising her 14-year-old son.
And now, incubating this new baby, Don't Look Back. She opens with a statement of where she's personally been for the past year, the smooth jazz and R&B of the title track pondering personal change. "I look him straight in the face," she sings. "It's over now. ..."
It's a song that, as she describes in the lyrics, she wrote on New Year's Eve. "A very reflective time," she says, "It's about myself and about inspiring other people. I think you're faced with changes all the time. So many of my friends and the people around me have been experiencing tremendous change, and I think a lot of that has to do with the economy."
So, "Don't look back," she sings. "Don't turn around because you might turn into stone." That's evoking a piece of Greek mythology, the story of Medusa, the snake-headed Gorgon who, if you gazed into her eyes, could turn men into stone.
~~ Jeff Spevak, Democrat & Chronicle, September 2, 2010

- Democrat and Chronicle


"Subliminal Seduction: Alana Cahoon Profile"

I traipsed into Pomodoro on University Avenue on a late-summer evening for a cool drink and some cool jazz. The joint was buzzing with excited chit-chat over assorted cocktails. Beneath it all - or perhaps above, depending on your perspective - was Alana Cahoon’s voice as it wrapped itself around the scene, setting a rather romantic tone. Some, like me, were there specifically to hear the chanteuse sing. Others had things other than music on their happy-hour agendas. But somehow the music still moved them. It suddenly dawned on me that the folks who treated Cahoon as background, as atmosphere, were actually more susceptible to her charms on a subliminal level. You could practically see it move through the room in waves; the less the people were directly engaged with the music, the more it played out over their bodies. Cool, huh?
“It has to do with the venue,” Cahoon says. “So I play to the venue. If I’m in a smaller venue I’m not as big.” This doesn’t pertain to the music, necessarily. The songs remain the same.
“It’s visual,” she says. “The visual adds a whole dynamic to the music. There’s the music and then there’s the performance.”
But whether you see Cahoon perform or happen hear her music in the background, it’s going to hit you with a seductive wallop.
Perhaps better known for her work fronting The Blue Avengers, a smooth r&b and blues outfit with her now ex-husband Bob Miller, Cahoon has been hitting the local circuit with her first solo release, “Don’t Look Back.” The Blue Avengers was a tight group, releasing two CDs - “In From The Cold” and “Chasing Rainbows in The Dark” - that burned with a subtle sensuality and heat due in large part to Cahoon’s superb pipes. Solo, she has stylistically separated herself from her previous band without necessarily trying. It’s still got soul, but now it’s all hers.
“There was no consciousness in that at all,” she says. “I’ve always been writing music. I have bazillions of songs.”
Cahoon got her start in New York City in the mid-80’s fronting the alternative rock group The Outcasts, which later changed its name to The Caste. She had Big Apple dreams since infancy.
“When I was 2 years old my family went to New York City without me,” she says. “So I vowed I was going to go to New York without them.”
Cahoon gigged regularly but never left Manhattan. “I didn’t want to leave New York,” she says. “I was rather stubborn. I was even offered a really sweet gig in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands and I turned it down.”
Umm... what? “I don’t know,” she says. “Most people have a love/hate relationship with the city, it’s pretty intense.”
Cahoon got married, moved to Dubai for a few years, and had a baby before returning to Rochester in the late 90’s. But she didn’t immediately return to music. Instead she worked with a company that helped develop fledgling businesses.
However with her love of jazz and her hubby’s love of r&b, a band was inevitable. But when the marriage went south two years ago, so did the band. Cahoon now sings solo, single, and happy.
She spent just more than a year banging out the new record at Andy Calabrese’s studio. Calabrese played piano on the record, and accompanies Cahoon at her live gigs as well.
“We had a real strong chemistry,” she says. “He heard what i heard. Working with him, co-producing the CD with him, was fun.”
The fun carries over live when Calabrese and Cahoon offer up shifts, tweaks, and twists to her originals and select standards that make the cut. “Usually it connects with me on a soul level,” says Cahoon. “if there’s a story and it reaches my heart. There’s the technique, then there’s the spirit. It’s the putting the tow together that makes the song. I look for a song that moves me so I can bring it to life. I paint on the side for fun and I always say, ‘OK, where’s the movement in the painting? Where is someone breathing? Where is the wind blowing?”
Cahoon has begun rehearsing with a group in New York City in order to take on more gigs there while continuing to write, record, and perform in Rochester. The new CD is doing well and she seems content. You can enjoy her on so many levels, background, foreground, whatever.
“I have no worries in the music industry,” she says. “I just want to have fun and share my music and hopefully people will like it. I’m Alana Cahoon now, and that’s fine with me.”
~~ Frank DeBlase, City Newspaper, September 29, 2010
- City Newspaper


"Jazz Soul Quintet"

Rochester’s Blue Avengers is a jazz/soul quintet led by Bob and Alana Miller. The Millers are possessed of an international background in music separately acquired before they met in 1999 and subsequently formed the band which they front. CHASING RAINBOWS IN THE DARK is their second release; while their first disc was heavy with outside compositions, every tune on CHASING RAINBOWS IN THE DARK but one ( “Walk The Dog And Light The Light” by Laura Nyro) is composed by one of the Millers. The result is an intimate project that is well-suited to Alana’s vocal talents.

Alana puts one in the mind of Maria Muldaur’s early solo albums following her work with (ex) husband Geoff and the Kweskin Jug Band . Occasionally the tracks, on tracks such as “In From The Cold,” sounds like 10,000 Maniacs at their more introspective. A note here: the band members are really tight, both individually and as a unit. Check out the jazz/blues groove on “Feed The Flame,” with the tasteful guitar licks provided by Bob, the subdued piano riffs from Bob Ott, and  the in-the-pocket rhythm section courtesy bassist Christian Northington and drummer Kristen Shiner McGuire. There is a danger inherent in projects such as these that everything will begin to sound the same about five or six tracks into it. Blue Avengers avoid this trap nicely, partially by attentive sequencing but mainly by artful composition and arrangements which don’t stick to one genre throughout. The result is a project that holds up well to repeated examination. Even “Walk The Dog And Light The Light” --- an odd choice, that, not one of the better known items from Nyro’s songbook --- stands up so well that the band makes the song their own.

Blue Avengers, as with many bands, is composed of individuals who have other vocational obligations which prohibit them from broadening their geographical performance range. If they continue the practice of focusing on their own compositions, however, as evidenced by CHASING RAINBOWS IN THE DARK, they might want to think about giving up those day jobs. Recommended. ~~
- Music Reviewer


"Chasing Rainbows..."

Rochester’s Blue Avengers’ sophomore CD, “Chasing Rainbows In the Dark,” is a sweet, sweet platter of the band’s trademark soul. And this time it’s bona fide original, proving that the band isn’t just good at adopting and adapting, but at creating as well. There are classic period-correct nods to Stax-era soul coated by a contemporary veneer. Alana Miller continues to enchant with her warm coo, and hubby Bob Miller’s production is that invisible veil that unobtrusively holds it all together. Sensuous, sexy, soulful, and fine. ~~ Frank De Blasé, City Newspaper, April 23, 2008 - City Newspaper


"Sophomore CD"

The sun is shining, spring is here, and The Blue Avengers have a new CD out (Chasing Rainbows in the Dark), what more could you want!

The positive vibe of the first track, “Winds of Love,” reflects the season, and also showcases the immense talents of lead singer, Alana Miller and guitarist Bob Miller. The sassy, soulful pipes of Alana mingle perfectly with Bob’s steadfast fret work throughout, with jazzy blues appeal.

This, their sophomore effort, features sophisticated songwriting from the husband/wife team, tackling a mixture of topics, from the love-gone-wrong scenario on “Gone Like a Bad Dream” and the story of dreams crushed on “Corporate Refugee.”

The Blue Avengers’ diverse palette of styles is what truly sets them apart. Hear for yourself as they celebrate the release at High Fidelity on Saturday, April 26th (7pm). ~~Michelle Picardo, Freetime Magazine, April 23, 2008 - Freetime Magazine


Discography

Don't Look Back, performed by Alana Cahoon
Chasing Rainbows in the Dark, performed as Blue Avengers
In From the Cold, performed by Blue Avengers

Photos

Bio

“Alana continues to enchant with her warm coo ... sensuous, sexy, soulful, and fine" Frank De Blasé, City Newspaper

Alana Cahoon, aka Alana Miller is that rare singer who mixes depth of feeling, raw vocal power and the sweet joy of performance, taking you to the heights of love found and the darkness of love lost. She has a voice that can carry you into another world. Her sweet tonalities and sultry interpretations give the listener the feeling that they are being transcended.

Coming of age in Rochester, NY (the musical home of luminaries like Sun House, Cab Calloway, Chuck Mangione and Lou Gramm) Alana began her singing in church choirs and school musicals. 

Honing her skills in NYC in the 80’s & 90’s, she performed in world famous venues like World, Lion’s Den and West End Gate.  Writing lyrics and melodies on scraps of paper, napkins and countless journals while strolling through Central Park, hanging at coffee houses, jazz joints and poetry circles, Alana was a bohemian artist.

From small town to big city to world stage Alana has taken her influences from a life of travel and broad experience spending time in Europe and the Middle East.  Her life-long study of voice, dance and theatre contribute to her unique and engaging stage presence. She is a power on stage that audiences connect with, remember and are always left wanting more.

Alana released several CDs during her years with the Blue Avengers (2004 – 2008).  Her first CD with the band In From the Cold is a compilation of R&B, Jazz & Blues.  It received extensive national and international airplay.

Her second CD Chasing Rainbows in the Dark showcases Alana’s songwriting abilities.  Her song Bright Red Feathers was nominated for the 2008 LA Music Awards.

Don’t Look Back is a collection of original songs filled with soulful blues, jazz & funk with a hint of Broadway. She’s joined by top notch musicians: Andy Calabrese on piano & keys, Steve Curry on drums, Dave Zaskoda on acoustic bass, Ronnie France on electric bass, David Rolla Wright on guitar & Bill Straub on sax & flute.