Beth Arrison
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Beth Arrison


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"Charming New Talent"

Her voice is a classic beauty. A smouldering and wispy mix of the seductive, sensual and astonishingly pure. Beth Arrison has a natural jazz voice - and so much more. "Everybody has a certain genre that their voice just naturally suits" the soft-spoken Arrison says from her parents' home in Red Deer "and for me it was definitely jazz." Given how confident and polished a set of pipes she possesses, it's surprising to discover the 23-year-old Alberta native has really only been singing for the past four years - although she's been studying and performing for a great deal more. A classically trained pianist, Arrison play Carnegie Hall with a jazz group when she was 15. She studied music at Grant MacEwan for a couple of years before completing her jazz degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, where she also spent time as a radio DJ and writing and recording jingles. Now, with the schooling behind her, Arrison has freed herself from all limitations and struck out on her own - which means, despite the voice and training, jazz is merely a launghing pad for other things to come. "It was hard for me and frustraing for a while because I was in school and when you're in school you're being told what's good music by the professors and they definitely direct you in a certain way" she says "Now I feel like I'm just do what I want to do and focus on the kind of music that I think is good music." She's well on her way with the release of her CD Modest Charms - a gorgeous album of self-penned dreamers, which are very much what the title announces. And although most of the songs have a decidedly jazz tone to them - she's backed by a five-piece collective, which makes her originals sound like smokey jazz-club standards - there's also a hint at something more, well, something. Arrison will celebrate the release of Modest Charms tomorrow at Beat Niq with two sets (9pm and 10:30pm), which will feature her performing tracks from the CD and spreading her wings even more. "I'm doing some rock stuff, too" she says. "In a jazz club." Does Beat Niq know about this? "Uh, no," she says with a laugh. "But they'll find out" Those who head down to Beat Niq tomorrow night will also discover a truly unique and promising talent. And for those unfortunate to miss it, Modest Charms is available from the artist's website

Written by Mike Bell - Calgary Sun

"CKUA CD of the Week"

With a voice that belies her modest 23 years, Beth Arrison's presence cascades through her own material, piercing the night air with a smoky luminescent quality. Hailing from the cultural hotbed of Red Deer, Alberta, Beth Arrison is a trained Classical pianist who fell in love with jazz while in her teens. A gig performing in New York's Carnegie Hall with a teen jazz ensemble piqued Beth Arrison's interest in the genre and she did the natural thing after high school, she enrolled in the Grant MacEwan jazz program. Her appetite not quite sated, she further pursued her studies and obtained a degree in music from Nova Scotia's renowned St. Francis Xavier University. Having performed gigs in Seouls, Korea and throughout Europe, Beth Arrisom comes home this month. Her official CD release gigs include: gigs at the Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club in Calgaryl; the Velvet Olive in Red Deer, and the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton. More information about Beth Arrison's new disc Modest Charms can be found at: There you will find details on future gigs, information on how to buy the CD and more music samples. Beth Arrison is certainly an artist worth discovering in these incipient stages of her career. Her writing is incredibly sophisticated for someone her age, her voice is seductive and flows with the natural cadence of her original material.

Written by Tony King - CKUA Radio Network

"Arrison Attracted to Jazz Charms"

Taking a college program of jazz studies doesn't have to automatically lead to becoming a jazz musician. That's what up and coming singer-composer Beth Arrison realized after taking years of conservatory piano since she was a kid, then two years at Edmonton's Grant MacEwan College, and another two years finishing her Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University. Either way, she's well prepared to make her own kind of music. "I think my attraction to jazz was because it can be so much more complex than a lot of music," Arrison explains. "I love harmonic theory and composition in jazz, but the artists I really like don't sound much like my music. Jazz will always influence my writing, but I don't really want to be labelled as just a jazz singer." She names composer-improvisers like Thelonius Monk and Anthony Braxton, songwriters like Hoagy Carmichael, and Chet Baker's vocal work among her favourites. The singer has also included covers of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright in her live sets. Whatever she winds up doing, Arrison, just 23 has made an impressive start with Modest Charms, her new debut album of all-original songs leaning towards jazz with some broader pop shadings. Arrison marks the release of the album at the Yardbird Suite Friday (at 9pm: tickets are $7 for EJS members, $11 for guests, in advance from Ticketmaster or at the door). Keyboardist Doug Organ, guitarist Peter Belec, bassist Rubim de Toledo and drummer Dan Skakun will be there to reprise their contributions to the CD (trumpeter Bob Tildesley also lends his fine horn to the album but couldn't make the gig). The singer admits she's still finding herself artistically, but it's unusual to hear such accomplished debut. She has only been writing for several years, but the nine tunes on Modest Charms show surprising sophistication and versatility in both their conception and execution, some with languid phrasing and delicate tones reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto, or deeper, sultry numbers with an elastic sense of phrasing. She sees herself as a musician first, but her lyrics also reflect an urban tone you expect from a more seasoned artist. Alberta native Arrison grew up on a farm outside Red Deer in a musical family that encouraged her pursuits. She was singing in choirs by high school and began picking up on jazz music at the same time. Some of her earliest live performances came at Four Rooms during the 2004 Jazz City Festival. Despite an exporusre to the great jazz singers and the standards repertoire during her college studies, she seems very caught up in composing original material. She says she would even like to do an all-instrumental album is she had the chance. It's too early to say exactly where Arrison's ambitions will take her but her aptly-named Modest Charms suggests she is an artist to watch out for.

Written by Roger Levesque
- Edmonton Journal

"Doing the Krall and More"

She's a young Diana Krall - with one key difference: Beth Arrison writes all her own material. Sure, she couldn've recorded a bunch of standards like everybody else, but says, "My biggest passion in music is composing. It wasn't really a question for me." The 24-year old jazz singer laughs at the Diana Krall comparison, "yeah" but has to know it's inevitable. Any female jazz singer who also happens to play piano is automatically help up to the light cast by She Who Has Conquered Pop. Arrison has a little more Sade in her, and a smooth new album, Modest Charms, that would fit perfectly in the CD changer next to Krall's ubiquitous When I Look Into Your Eyes down at the local Starbucks. Arrison performs her CD release tonight at the Yardbird Suite. They have coffee there, too. Sultry, silky, seductive, smooth, pick your S-work to describe Modest Charms, the music ranges from gentle bossa novas to lazy ragtime to mild swing to tinkly wallpaper one might listen to over dessert in the lobby of the Westin Hotel. It's all very tasty with muted trumpet solos sprinkled here and there, spare arrangements, understated performances throughout. It would scream "mellow" if mellow could scream. An urgent whisper, maybe. In short, it could be a hit. Arrison admitted she changed the album's original title - Cowboy Martini, a track from the record that has nothing to do with Brokeback Mountain - when she heard the final master and discovered to her horror that she didn't really like it. This sort of thing hapens all the time. You're just not supposed to admit it. You're supposed to bray to the press, "This is my best album yet!" Not Arrison. "I think initially I heard it and didn't want to hear it again," she says. "I wasn't very happy with it. I think it's something every artist goes through. You write it, it's very personal and I'm really critical of myself. It's my first time doing something and I always think there's room for improvement. But now, I've been able to step back from the whole project and say it's OK. And people have been responding to it well, so that's really helps my feelings towards it. I like it now. When I see someone responding to something I've written, that makes me happy. I know it shouldn't matter what people think." No, but praise helps - after you've finished the record, of course. Unlike Krall, Arrison is not limited to jazz. She's also known for making "house" music in the vein of Candy Dulfer. Asked why there isn't even a whiff of electronica on Modest Charms, Arrison replies it didn't even occur to her. She laughs, "I guess I just keep my genres separate." Besides, the grant proposal to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts specified "jazz" and while she certainly could've got a way with a few groovy loops, jazz is what it turned out to be. Also, Arrison has been in what she calls "jazz mode" for at least the last four years. She'd taken two years of piano at MacEwan College before applying for the degree program at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. She was in for a big surprise. Arrison sent a demo tape of her piano playing, on which she happened to be singing, then got a nice letter back. "The naturally assumed that because I was singing I was a vocal major, so I accidently got accepted into the coval program. So I just sent with it. It was good because I had an excellent teacher down there and also to play in the big band, so it was like I was doing two majors." This singer could really go in any direction. She also has a classical background, as the ballet accompanist for the Edmonton Dance Centre, and she also travels regularly to Korea to manage an English teacher's program (interesting day job). She'll be there in June. After that? Someplace mellow, likely. In the right hands, Modest Charms could take her a long way. - Edmonton Sun


Modest Charms (2006)



From the Canadian the past seven years I've lived in seven different cities on three different my music is a product of all that.