Sara Gazarek
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Sara Gazarek


Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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""...Performance was sublime""

"'Professional' isn't the word; this performance was sublime." - Ben Ratliff, New York Times (May 20, 2000)

""Significant new vocal talent""

"'Yours' signals the arrival of a significant new vocal talent who, if the gods above are truly in the know, should rapidly ascend from minor to major." - Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes Magazine (Nov 2005)

""Appealing vocal style""

"Gazarek has an appealing vocal style; although subtle and understated, she projects a lot of warmth and gets her emotional point across." - Alex Henderson, All Music Guide (Aug 2005)

""Buzz ... is hard to ignore""

"Buzz surrounding this twenty-something singer is hard to ignore." - Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek Magazine (Aug 31, 2005)

""...breakthrough star""

"And now, that [Seattle] scene may have launched its first breakthrough star, the vocalist Sara Gazarek." - Tom Scanlon, Seattle Times (Jan 2, 2004)

"#10 Top Jazz Album (chart)"

Oct 1, 2005 - Billboard Magazine

"#5 Most Played Jazz Album (chart)"

Oct 5, 2005 - JazzWeek Magazine

"Best New Artist (Honorable Mention)"

Feb 2006 - JazzTimes Magazine Annual Reader's Poll

"Outstanding Collegiate Jazz Vocalist of the Year"

2003 - Downbeat Magazine

""Gazarek's the real thing""

"Simple, straightforward, swinging – and emotionally unbelievable at every turn – Gazarek's the real thing." - Paul DeBarros, Seattle Times (Sep 9, 2005)


Yours (2005, Native Language Music)
Return To You (2007, Native Language Music)



Maya Angelou spoke: "Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I'm with you kid. Let's go.’”

Sara Gazarek was listening. At 23, fresh off of the Concord Jazz Festival tour, Gazarek is poised to release "Yours," a collection of vocal standards and original compositions encompassing her wide array of influences from Sarah Vaughan to Ben Folds Five. With a freshly framed degree from the world-renowned Thornton School of Music at USC, Sara can’t wait for "Yours" to be ours…

In 2003, Sara Gazarek was just another college kid from the Northwest, scrambling to make tuition as a jazz performance major at the esteemed Thornton School of Music at USC when she was named as a recipient of the prestigious Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Collegiate Jazz Vocalist. Instead of thinking she'd arrived, Sara says, "I wondered if USC would finally give me more money!" She had no way of foreseeing the scope of what was ahead for her…

Shortly after the publication hit the press, Sara was asked to perform with Oleta Adams, Karrin Allyson, and Diane Schuur as the "as yet undiscovered talent" on the Concord Jazz Festival tour. Simultaneously, Gazarek joined Barry Manilow, Allyson, and Schuur as a Stiletto Management client and was soon being booked by the industry giant, William Morris. "I thought it was a joke or something," Gazarek says. "It all happened so fast, I was still in school, doing chump change gigs all over the place. So the thought of joining three of my favorite singers on the road, combined with the whole manager/booking agent thing just seemed surreal.”

Sara knew the tour would be a perfect compliment to what she was learning in the classrooms of USC. She began studying music at the university in 2000, under the tutelage of Tierney Sutton, Shelly Berg, and John Clayton. While there, Sara had the opportunity to spend two years teaching a 15-person jazz choir made up of first to fifth graders as part of the JazzReach program. "That was an experience I'll never forget. It is so important to me to be out there educating young people. We all remember those who have inspired us. I know I wouldn't be here without the strong words of Scott Brown, the jazz instructor at my high school back in Seattle." Her passion for music education continues as she embarks upon a nationwide awareness program for the Music For All Foundation.

Under the guise of ‘needed guidance,’ Sara set up a meeting with educator/bassist John Clayton. She knew she wanted John to produce the record. "He was the only person in my life who really cared about every member of my group and who had a vested interest in our music." It was Clayton who suggested the whole group meet twice weekly to arrange all of the music for "Yours." The group (Erik Kertes on bass, Josh Nelson on piano and Matt Slocum on drums) rehearsed, arranged, and composed furiously, fully prepared to go into the studio after a three-month pre-production period. "We recorded at Capitol Studios, which was unbelievable. And working with our genius engineer, Al Schmitt, was as amazing an experience as the other elements of the process had been."

Just one year out of school, Sara knows how lucky she is to have recorded an album with her own group, the songs of her choice, and their own arrangements. She won’t hesitate to acknowledge just how rare her situation is. “I made a record with a producer and musicians whom I share a deep emotional connection with - an album that is filled completely with songs and arrangements from my heart. My band and I were able to incorporate our strong backgrounds in jazz, without neglecting the modern musicians who have also influenced us. To have this kind of freedom on a debut recording is mind-boggling! It’s what every artist strives for!”

She says with a smile, "I think the end result is a record with a spirit, a sound, and a heart unlike anything I've ever experienced. I just hope the world falls in love with it as much as we have.”