Krisanne Crowell with Solarocity
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Krisanne Crowell with Solarocity

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"This Middle Ground is so Right"

This middle ground is so Right
Crowell hits all the right notes on new bluesy CD
By STEPHEN PEDERSEN
Mon. May 3 - 4:53 AM


Krisanne Crowell will launch her new CD, Right In The Middle of Wrong, in the Commons Room of Hotel Atlantica at 7 o’clock tonight. (Peter Parsons / Staff)

Krisanne Crowell will launch her new CD, Right In The Middle of Wrong, in the Commons Room of Hotel Atlantica at 7 o’clock tonight. (Peter Parsons / Staff)


Singer/saxophonist/keyboardist/arranger Krisanne Crowell takes the middle of wrong and sets it right on her funky, jumping, bluesy CD called Right In The Middle of Wrong. She and the band that brewed it, Dave James (drums), Jamie Gatti (bass), Russ Brannon (guitar), Rick Waychesko (trumpet), Eric Landry (trombone), Paul Harris on organ and others, will launch the CD with two sets and some quality hang-out time in the Commons Room of Hotel Atlantica, tonight starting at 7 o’clock.
The CD is an all blues, heady vintage of 11 songs, eight of them originals. The multi-talented Crowell wrote them, arranged them, sings them on the CD and plays tenor and keyboard in the band. She credits co-writer Peggy McKinnon, L. Jarvis and her own mother for some of the lyrics. Two of the tunes are takes on the late Theo (Ted) Hilfiker songs from The Floorboards days of Crowell’s most notable early band. And there is Duke Ellington’s Nothin’ But The Blues, a signature tune of Crowell’s from her favourite arranger. She doesn’t leave town without it.
If this CD were a keg of beer, the froth would get up your nose and linger on your lips, imparting a strong aftertaste of hops on the tongue like an Old Stock Ale. No calories, however, which is lucky because it tastes so good.
In fact it is an outstanding disk, which rewards repeated listening as you focus on individual instruments or on the lyrics. The solos swing hard without exception. On a first hearing, Crowell’s voice sounds a little bit distant in the mix but she did this on purpose, she said in a subsequent interview. She said she wanted the vocals to take their place as another instrumental colour in the band. She achieves this goal most strikingly after the second bridge on the title track.
Crowell has a great ear for voicing and instrumental harmonization. Her arrangements are well balanced and little big-band-ish with a great sense of swing. "I’ve done a lot of work over the years arranging," she said. "Duke Ellington is at the top of my list of great arrangers, a harmonic wordsmith from a rich period of music. "I just wanted to engage every musician in the band. I wanted to add in passing chords and rhythms that engage the rhythm section as well as the horns. We used a swing shuffle in the rhythm section, which creates more space than a jazz shuffle. That’s why I like a drummer like Dave (James) who can sing hard on jazz but also play more simply on the blues."
The CD was engineered by Russ Brannon and produced by him along with the help of James and Crowell. With so many superb local players on the gig, Crowell felt particularly lucky. She credits James with mentoring the project. Any way you cut it, when you are in the middle of it, Crowell and company show us that there is a right way to be wrong. And the blues are all about that.
If this CD were a keg of beer, the froth would get up your nose and linger on your lips, imparting a strong aftertaste of hops on the tongue like an Old Stock Ale. No calories, however, which is lucky because it tastes so good.

- The Chronicle Herald


Discography

Right In the Middle of Wrong (single) & full length cd
All tracks have received airplay. Radio streaming on Rockin' Moms website, Women of Substance, CBC, www.chmr.ca - selected top 20 Canadian Blues Recordings of 2010.

Photos

Bio

East Coast Music Award 2011 Jazz Recording Nominee, singer, songwriter, pianist and sax player — Krisanne Crowell does it all, and does it with style. Placing in the Top Twenty of 2010 Canadian Blues cd's on Radio Chmr FM with her recent release, Right in the Middle of Wrong, Krisanne made her first splash on the Halifax music scene as co-founder of the popular 8-piece jump blues band, The Floorboards. The band caught on fast, building a huge fan base and snapping up an East Coast Music Award back in 1991.

Kris was hooked. She threw herself into music, studying arranging and performance at Humber College and Dalhousie University, while finding time to gig — even busking on the side —to hone her performance chops.

Her reputation as a serious musical force fuelled her growing obsession with the jazz combo tradition, as she performed in everything from 3 piece jazz vocal harmony groups to larger blues/ jazz combos and big band ensembles.

While her smoky vocals are often compared to Diana Krall, her horn arranging and writing style adds the energy of Colin James, and slickness of Steely Dan She created the Latin/Funk/Jazz group, K.C. and the Sunshine Men, featuring her own arrangements and original compositions performed by an all-star band.

This band morphed into its' current configuration, Krisanne Crowell with Solarocity. Dave James is the fiery driving force under the band with his tantalizing grooves and sizzling drumming style. Jamie Gatti on bass is a pool of harmonic depth and rock steady lines. Russ Brannon flies on guitar with his virtuostic guitar solos. Rick Waychesko shines with that rare soaring trumpet lead stemming from his past work with Tower of Power and The Philosopher Kings, and Krisanne adds her bluesy tenor sax sound to the mix.

Right in the Middle of Wrong marks a new high in this prolific artist’s career. Recorded with her new band, Solarocity, this full-length CD features Krisanne’s catchy melodies, smooth vocals and full horn arrangements — a signature sound driven by a top-notch rhythm section.

With unique experience as a pianist, horn player, vocalist, songwriter and arranger, Krisanne Crowell proves that she’s the real deal — and this album delivers. If you’re a fan of jazz and blues with an edgy, contemporary sound and hot musicianship, Right in the Middle of Wrong belongs right in the middle of your music collection.