Alex Pangman

Alex Pangman

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandJazz

" In Alex Pangman's musical world, hot tunes flow like bathtub gin in a back-alley speakeasy. She roars through a repertoire of vintage swing and blues, possessed by the coltish spirit of a young Mildred Bailey or Ella Fitzgerald. " (Montreal Gazette)

Biography

Although Alex Pangman grew up a couple of generations late to have sung with Teddy Wilson, the vibrant young vocalist is proud to be known as Canada's Sweetheart of Swing. With pipes aplenty, Pangman possesses the requisite taste, talent and the historical knowledge of an avid record collector to breathe new life into the sturdy standards of the classic jazz era.
A superb song stylist with growing compositional chops, the prodigiously gifted Toronto scene maker has built a loyal fan base amongst jazz listeners and dancers alike through her critically acclaimed work with her stacked Alley Cats in the studio, upscale nightclubs and concert halls across Canada including two stellar showcases at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Alex's dedication to her music goes far beyond what might be called a passionate pursuit – it's more like a life-long obsession which began in her teens upon first discovering Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden along with amazing singers like Mildred Bailey, Julia Lee and Maxine Sullivan. "An exciting new world with this immense songbook opened up to me."
Alex quickly began delving deeper into the sophisticated shellac of the 20s and 30s which eventually led to a fortuitous connection with guitar great Jeff Healey who knew a rare talent when he heard it. In very short order, Healey produced her impressive 1999 debut ‘They Say’ (Sensation Records) as well as the 2001 follow-up, ‘You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming.’ While facets of Ella Fitzgerald, Connie Boswell and Ruth Etting could be discerned in Alex's zesty delivery, that crisp clear voice was unequivocally her own.
After getting a Songwriter of the Year nod from the National Jazz Awards for her tune Melancholy Lullaby for the 2001 film Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story, Alex received two more nominations in the Vocalist Of The Year category and then a Ken Whiteley number she sang over the opening scene of the 2003 feature film Falling Angels won a Genie for Best Original Song.
While the gorgeously filmed videos for the aforementioned Melancholy Lullaby and One Night In Monte Carlo shot to the top of the Bravo! Countdown, Alex was busily scheduling collaborations with everyone from Grammy-nominated trumpeter Kevin Clark and the dashing Denzal Sinclaire to pianist Tyler Yarema and even Jim Galloway's All-Stars. But Alex was never keen on being anyone's "chick singer" and to underscore that point, she selected the repertoire, assembled her band and co-produced 2005's ‘Live In Montreal (Real Gone Gal)’ album which stands among her finest recorded performances.
The blessing of more frequent bookings would also prove to be a curse. Smoke-filled venues were definitely not the place for someone battling lung disease and Alex reluctantly took a break to recoup. All the while, her interest in singing and playing music never waned. In fact, it was during her self-imposed exile that she stumbled onto the city's bluegrass and string-band underground.
Alex fit right in with the scrappy Cameron House crowd who shared her excitement for the enriching sound of a bygone era when the lines between jazz, blues and country were still blurry enough to ignore.
A hook-up with the Backstabbers' front man Colonel Tom Parker gave rise to the rollicking roots country combo Lickin' Good Fried. But just as the tape was about to roll on their debut album session, Alex's physical condition worsened to the point where a double lung transplant was deemed essential. Determined to finish voicing her parts, vertical or horizontal, Alex's sweetly soulful crooning throughout the group's self-released ‘Say Uncle!’ disc is testament to her unflinching dedication. The good news is that a donor was found in time and the surgery was a complete success. Alex has roared back to full strength in a remarkably quick recovery that's borderline miraculous. A happy ending? More like a thrilling new beginning!
More recently a union with prestigious Montreal jazz label Justin Time Records further continues Alex’s return to form, with a new disc entitled ‘33’, which was released in Canada in April 2011 and will be released in the US on July 12th, 2011. In Alex’s own words, “as a longtime devotee of music from the classic genre I find something of a kinship with the music that buoyed nations through the "dirty thirties"... The initial concept of this record was to honor that kind of spirit with songs popular in 1933; indeed the bulk of the material (save for one self-penned number) was a popular song in the year 1933 - recorded while I was 33.” Along with her longtime band The Alley Cats and featuring guest vocalists Ron Sexsmith and Denzal Sinclaire – the music is presented with all the love, fun and respect it deserves.
‘33’ will be promoted and toured across Canada in summer of 2011 with support from the Canada Council.

Discography

33 (Release date April 12th 2011)
Live in Montreal
Dead Drunk Blues
Can't Stop Me From Dreaming
They Say
Christmas Gift