Margie "Gia" Notte
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Margie "Gia" Notte

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""Margie Notte Sizzles""

All of us lucky enough to live in the area have an appreciation for the cool vibe of Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange, NJ, and this debut recording from Margie Notte really captures the feel of the club, and the fine musicians that regularly perform there. Recorded live in April 2008, Notte’s rich vocals are backed by a phenomenal band with Don Braden on tenor sax and flutes, Jason Leborek on piano, Tom DiCarlo on bass and Cecil Brooks III on drums. With the production in the capable hands of Don Braden, this live performance was engineered by Tom Tedesco, and really provides a great blend of the club’s ambiance, without sacrificing the quality of the sound, or the balance of the music and vocals.

Margie leads off with her swinging version of, “Too Close for Comfort,” with Leborek’s piano and Braden’s tenor providing the solo breaks, while her interpretation of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” maintains a soulful feel, with Notte holding a decidedly minor mode in her voice all the way through. Braden’s flute provides a haunting offset, and the band comps tastefully underneath the solo and vocals.

“Cry Me a River,” (my favorite track on the CD) opens with a catchy riff, and breaks into a swing groove, as the rhythm section of DiCarlo and Brooks sits sweetly under the solos, and as it all comes together, their audience demonstrates their appreciation.

The title track “Just You, Just Me,” is up next, and both DiCarlo’s bass and Brooks’ drums move up a bit in the mix, as DiCarlo’s solo is melodic and tasteful, expertly leading back to Notte’s soft vocal which closes the tune.

“Loverman,” is presented with an interesting, more driving beat, as Braden moves up front with his tenor, and Brooks provides the dynamics with clean breaks and crisp work on the cymbals.

The polished arrangement of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” once again shares the minor feel in Notte’s vocal, and Braden’s flute solo – you get the clear sense that the band really likes playing this one!!

Closing out with “The Very Thought of You, and I Thought About You,” Notte provides classy interpretations of these standards, with smooth, soulful phrasing, and just enough improvisation and emotion to make these tunes her own.

Reviewed by Michael Barbara - Riveting Riffs


"JazzChicago.net"

I have a tendency to get deluged by a plethora of releases by talented, but often undistinguishable female jazz singers. With such a voluminous wave of new recordings coming in every week, I often am sadly unable to find the time to review much in this genre. However, I managed to listen to Margie Notte's Just You, Just Me & Friends, in part I admit because it was recorded live at Cecil's in West Orange, NJ, and features Mr. Brooks himself on drums and the wonderful Don Braden on tenor sax and flutes, and in doing so, discovered that the young Ms. Notte is quite the vocalist herself.
With a warm, rich voice, this songbird unleashes beguiling versions of a string of beloved standards, beginning with "Too Close For Comfort" and ending with "I Thought About You." Pianist Jason Teborek and bassist Tom DiCarlo round out the backing quartet and along with Cecil Brooks III on drums, do admirably refined work in erecting their singer an attractive framework to work with. Of course, Don Braden nearly steals the show every time he plays, but he never grandstands or attempts to steal the spotlight, it's just that he's that good.

Delicious versions of tunes like "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Cry Me a River" and "Just You, Just Me" are attractive and romantic enough to make you want to find a cozy spot to "cuddle and coo." Notte has an impressive way of inhabiting her songs, with touches of Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn and, dare I say, pop star Karen Carpenter, coloring her gracious and understated way of singing a song. Notte has said she had a youthful dream to perform live at Cecil's with Cecil and Don, and she has not only achieved her dream, but produced an enjoyable recording that will please many fans of female jazz singers. Whether, Ms. Notte can take her talent on to the next level of public acclaim is yet to be determined, especially considering the obstacles facing all young jazz singers in these times, but she has an appreciable vocal talent, a nice ear for material and an understanding of the importance of choosing her backing band, so she has a step up on many and I for one will be wishing her the best of luck as she continues her career.
- Brad Walseth


"New York Jazz Improv Magazine"

Vocalist Margie Notte’s debut CD is an en-joyable set of standards recorded at Cecil’s in New Jersey during the spring of 2008. Roseanne Vitro, a teacher and mentor-of-sorts to Notte, has cited that Dinah Washington, early Nancy Wilson and Sarah Vaughan can all be heard in her voice and, while this is true to some extent, Vitro herself must be added to that list. A nice, relaxed trip through “Too Close For Comfort” starts off this set. Notte's delivery exudes an easy confidence and pianist Jason Teborek and saxophonist Don Braden both contribute admirable solos while Cecil Brooks III and Tom DiCarlo hold down the fort. While things take a second or two to gel as the tempo slows down for a big finish/kickline-type moment at the end of the song, this is easily overlooked because of how much fun this music is. Notte uses vibrato in just the right places at the start of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” while Teborek provides some tender accompaniment. Teborek, Brooks and DiCarlo work wonderfully together here, with Teborek filling in the gaps with some creative but supportive gestures, and Notte captures the essence of the song beautifully. Don Braden, playing off of the melody, delivers a magical solo on flute. “Cry Me A River,” while coming off a bit cheerier than some interpretations of the song, has a smoldering, swinging quality to it that makes it enjoyable from start to finish. Braden's saxophone solo is a joy and Teborek is also a pleasure to hear. Notte's vocal flexibility, always used in service to the song, is devoid of the histrionics and overly embellished moments that sink so many other singers. She knows what she wants to say and she knows how to use her voice to say it without taking it over the top. Braden’s saxophone dances around Notte’s voice early on during “Just You, Just Me.” Braden’s saxophone starts the soloing and Teborek comes next with a delightful solo turn that has a blues-based sensibility to it. Tom DiCarlo steps out for his first solo in the set and is equally engaging before Notte returns to drive it home.
“I'm Thru With Love” isn't being sung by a defeated woman here, as the song might suggest, but rather a strong woman who seems to be beyond it all. Notte moves easily in this up-tempo swing setting and Braden and Brooks seem to have a blast trading eights on this one. “You Go To My Head” begins with dream-like sounds, provided by Brooks’ shim-mering cymbals, Teborek's fluttering piano lines and Braden's warm flute playing. Notte's voice is both en
ticing and calming at the same time. While it’s hard
to mine anything new from a well-worn song like "I
Can’t Give You Anything But Love” new isn’t always necessary and this terrific version of the song seems almost effortless in its delivery. DiCarlo contributes
his most enjoyable solo on the record here and Brooks follows him with an extended solo of his own. "Lov-man” has a seductive quality to it that separates this version from many others. Notte’s smoldering deliv- ery never gets too rambunctious but she turns up the heat in subtle ways and the band takes it up a notch when Braden’s sultry saxophone solo begins. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” receives and airy reading, devoid of the swing feel that underscores most ver-sions of this song, and features Braden's flute work. “The Very Thought Of You” begins with Notte's voice gently gliding over Teborek’s piano and this sensitive performance tugs at the heartstrings. Teborek channels the romantic sentiments in the song during a beautiful solo here and holds the mood that Notte established early on. The album ends with the comfortable swing of “I Thought About You.” Just You, Just Me/Live at Cecil’s is more enjoyable with each listen and Margie Notte is well on her way to making a name for herself in the world of jazz vocalists.
- Dan Bilawsky


"JazzReview.com Featured Artist: Margie Notte..."

Universally singing is perceived as a form of art that requires a mellifluous voice, but sometimes there is more to it like a vocalist who can sing a tune that makes people turn their heads and listen with rapt attention like Margie Notte does. Though artists are advised not to make a live album unless they truly know what they are doing, fortunately for Notte, she does. Her latest release, Just You, Just Me & Friends was taped live at Cecil’s jazz club in Notte’s native state of New Jersey in April 2008. Produced by her saxophonist Don Braden, the album features a selection of jazz standards that bring out Notte’s strengths and her fine arsenal of vocal wares. Her vocal style keeps the air filled with glee tempered by music that has toes tapping and mouths smiling.

There is smoothness in her register that recalls of ‘50s jazz singers like Rosemary Clooney and Kay Starr, and starkly pronounced in tunes like “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered” and “Loverman.” She has a a Harlequin-dreaminess in her vocal slides that makes listeners feel like they are having an intimate conversation with her, and she is addressing them specifically when she sings. She makes the tunes personable and relatable to every individual in the room, which causes her live album to be one of the most intimate experiences in your life. Her singing has a way of stripping an audience down to their most vulnerable state, and still feel safe in their nakedness. She makes it seem completely natural to be so bare in public. Such an experience can be overwhelming for many folks, but Notte’s gentleness makes it feel very comfortable and safe.

When the audience is not being stripped down to their bare essentials, they are tapping their feet to the infectious beat of the melodies like in the opener “Too Close For Comfort” and the closer “I Thought About You.” Here, she exhibit’s a Tony Bennett-like flare in her giddy vocals, treating the verses like they were made to be sung with a bounce in her gait and a smile on her face. Braden’s smoking saxophone solo heightens the jolliness in “Too Close For Comfort” and Jason Teborek’s soft showering piano glitters in “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered” enhance the tune’s moonlight glow while purveying a spritz of giddiness in “Just You, Just Me.”

Margie Notte sings these songs as if they were her own. They don’t feel dated but exist for the present in her delivery, kneading the songs perceptively into the audience’s sensory system in the most unobtrusive way. The song selection is just right to showcase Notte’s vocal wares while modernizing classic tunes. She sounds as good as the jazz singers of the ‘50s, but you never feel like you are living in any other time except today.

- JazzReview.com


"Visalia Times Delta, California (3.5 stars)"

Jazz is one of the unique types of music in that it requires the listener to actively hear the intricacies of solos. The albums that
make it seamless are the ones that truly stand out. Margie Notte is able to incorporate improvisation into her singing on such notable tracks as “Too Close for Comfort” and “Just You, Just Me,” while allowing space for her band to follow suit. This is something many modern jazz singers fail to do, and it becomes more about the vocals than the band as a whole. The solos by pianist Jason Teborek, saxophonist/flutist Don Braden, bassist Tom DiCarlo and drummer Cecil Brooks III only enhance Notte’s exceptional voice. One listen to “You Go to My Head” will have jazz fans hooked and have them recall the genre’s golden age of singers. --- - Pete Menting


"Midwest Record MARGIE NOTTE/Just You, Just Me & Friends:"

We’re always up for a date with a real swinger and Notte knows the turf well. Debuting with a set of standards, she and her crew are here to entertain and they do it in fine form. Using her voice as an instrument, but not in the vocalese style, more like a member of the band that knows when to lay out and when to jump in. She’s got the kind of voice that just begs to be abused by nicotine, but it’ll be more interesting to hear her voice age and mellow on it’s own. Simply a solid treat for jazz vocal fans. - Chris Spector, Editor and Publisher


"Margie Notte: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"

Rating: 94/100 --
I seem to be on some sort of hot streak when it comes to hearing really good female jazz vocalists. While I appreciate that, it's not my favorite genre. I don't go out of my way to see lady jazz singers perform or buy their albums. (As I write, I realize the same is true regarding their male counterparts.) I am of the opinion that the jazz vocal repertoire has become somewhat stale. It doesn't interest me. There is nothing really new about the song selections on Marge Notte's Just You, Just Me either. On the surface we would seem to be in store for yet another singer interpreting the classics.

Well, there is "interpreting the classics" and "Interpreting the Classics!" Tired repertoire or not, this artist deserves the highest praise. She is a wonderful singer and song stylist, surrounded here by top-notch jazzmen who would go over with this live audience whether or not Notte was singing. But this CD is about her. On "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," she sounds like a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Doris Day. It took about 10 seconds of listening for me to realize that. The lower register is all Ella. The similarity is especially clear at the end of her phrases. The higher register and a bit of the sunny attitude is Doris Day. (Don't let anyone tell you that Doris Day couldn't sing!) Anyhow, comparisons are used to describe, not define. Margie Notte's voice is an original instrument. She could take the stalest ballad and turn it into magic. As far as I am concerned, she can sing whatever she wants to. --Walter Kolosky
- jazz.com


"Margie Notte: Too Close for Comfort"

Rating: 91/100 --
Regardless of who sings "Too Close for Comfort," I think of Ella Fitzgerald. It doesn't even matter whether a man or a woman sings the tune. I still think of Ella. So it's under that light that all versions are measured. If there were to be a movie about Ella's life, I nominate Margie Notte to supply the voice. She doesn't copy Fitzgerald, but comes pretty close to channeling her. It is an enjoyable déjà vu performed in front of a live audience you feel every bit a part of. Saxophonist Don Braden, who acts as producer, musician and even CD cover photographer, is joined by pianist Jason Teborek, bassist Tom DiCarlo and drummer Cecil Brooks III to form an impressive quartet to back Notte. The song even includes a slow reprise ending that would fit perfectly into that Ella biopic they should make. "Too Close for Comfort" is part of a hot set from Notte and her band. Investigate it. Closely.
-- Walter Kolosky

- jazz.com


"Just You, Just Me and Friends: Live at Cecil's"

Vocalist Margie Notte has an embarrassment of artistic riches. Among those riches are guts, chutzpah, moxie, or balls, if you will. Her debut recording is a live recording.
Foregoing the safety of the studio, where a musician can digitally correct any burp, hiccup, and musical sneeze, Notte puts it all out there in front of an empathic quartet. Her confidence is further demonstrated by Notte's choice of a well-known repertoire, providing an entire library of performances with which to compare her own.

Notte begins her standards survey with a sizzling "Too Close for Comfort," where she vamps the coda with a burlesque flair. The band is displayed early, with pianist Jason Teborek and tenor saxophonist Don Braden turning in sharp solos. Notte demonstrates her way with a ballad on "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," complimented by Braden's fine flute.

The group throws a curve with a gently swinging "Cry Me A River," a song generally presented as a plaintive ballad, given momentum by Cecil Brooks' quietly insistent ride cymbal. "Just You, Just Me" and "I'm Thru with Love" provide the swinging center of the performance before Notte quietly croons "You Go To My Head," over a light Latin treatment.

From this point on, Notte recital is a nod to Sinatra with an upbeat version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," I've Got You Under My Skin," and "The Very Thought of You." Her rendition of "Loverman" is a sophisticated blues with a sensual push. Sometimes a standards recital should be just that: a tribute to the composers through a well-sung vocalist, and that is what Just You, Just Me and Friends: Live at Cecil's delivers. -- C. Michael Bailey
- All About Jazz


"ejazznews.com CD Reviews: Margie Notte..."

In April of 2008 at Cecil's Jazz Club in Orange, New Jersey, new jazz vocalist Margie Notte made her entrance into the national jazz scene with a strong debut recording supported by a stellar cast of musicians. Produced by saxophone great Don Braden, the personnel on Notte's first effort, features Braden on the tenor and flutes along with drummer Cecil Brooks III, Jason Teborek on piano and Tom Dicarlo on bass. For her very first album Notte makes a fine choice of material recording some time-honored classics and other jazz standards that showcase her vocal range.

Included in the repertoire are swinging and lively versions of “Too Close For Comfort,””Just You, Just Me,” “I Can't Give You Anything But Love” and “I'm Thru With Love.” In all of these Notte leads the band with commanding vocals while leaving plenty of space for excellent solos from the group. Braden is especially pronounced providing a strong performance on the sax. The lady is just as adept on the many beautiful ballads here. Beginning with “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bew ildered,” Notte sings with emotion in a warm tone lending a bit of grace to the piece. Shedding no tears at all, Notte delivers a wonderful performance on “Cry Me A River,” then does it again on the love ballad “You Go To My Head.”

Rounding out the live set are superb reads to “Loverman,” “The Very Thought of You” and “ I Though About You.” With a little help from her friends, new comer Margie Notte makes an impressive recording debut on the aptly titled “Just You, Just Me & Friends” serving notice that there's a new jazz gal on the block you'll need to watch out for, Well done Margie!
- Edward Blanco


Discography

Gia Notte "Shades", street date 02/13/10 on Gnote Records, is available at CDBaby.com as well as iTunes and Napster, and Amazon.com and is having National Radio and Internet airplay.
Margie Notte: "Just You, Just Me & Friends"; Live at Cecil's, Gnote Records is also available at CDBaby.com. as well as iTunes, Napster, and Amazon.com.

Photos

Bio

Margie “Gia” Notte is one of the finest vocalists to appear on the New Jersey scene. Her talents make her equally at home performing old-fashioned love songs, pop songs, bossa novas and swinging jazz in the style of the great masters. Margie is from Orange, New Jersey where she was exposed to a wide variety of music. She is the youngest of three sisters, all exposed to the classic American songbook, as performed by Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few. It is no wonder that her phrasing and song choices are impeccable.
Margie Notte recorded her debut CD, “Just You, Just Me, and Friends; Live at Cecil’s” in April, 2008 at Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey. Don Braden, acclaimed jazz musician, composer, recording artist, and esteemed educator, produced the recording.
“Just You, Just Me” demonstrates Ms. Notte’s ability to interpret classic songs in a powerful and reflective way. She personifies an artist who has lived life to the fullest, and through her experiences and interpretive talents connects to audiences on a very personal level. Her soulful approach has earned her distinction as a first-rate performance artist. She has performed with a host of great musicians, among them, Don Braden, Cecil Brooks III, Tim Horner, Jason Teborek, David Braham, Calvin Jones, Allen Farnham, Brandon McCune, Greg Bufford, Radam Schwartz, Rudy Walker, Don Williams, Willie Williams, Kahlil Kwame Bell, Freddie Hendrix, and others. Gia's recent recording, entitled “Shades” features arrangements by Don Braden, Jason Teborek, and Brandon McCune and this recording offers modern, fresh interpretations of the Classic Standards without compromising the provocative messages that the original writers intended and performers portrayed.
Margie’s early passion for music started at age 12 with piano and voice training under the direction of Patricia Domino, and guitar studies with local instructor Carl Botti. At 17, she garnered performing credits with the rock and roll band, “Ecstasy”. Margie also studied voice technique with mezzo-soprano, Carla Wood, who performed frequently with the New York City Metropolitan Opera Company. That relationship yielded the rich, vibrant sound that characterizes Ms. Notte today. She continues her training in theory and jazz with renowned vocalist Roseanna Vitro, and voice technique refinement with Barbara Maier.