I had the pleasure of talking to both about the show, themselves and their approach to music. Renee Yoxon is a young singer that got to music via the route of a Physics degree she was awarded in Toronto. It was in Toronto that Rene studied with Tena Palmer and got introduced to the art of jazz vocals and her quest has only gained speed since then. Last year Renee recorded her debut CD Let's Call It A Day. I have always loved how she researches the sources of songs and presents them in serious, thoughtful manner... a hard thing to do with jazz standards. Renee definitely brings the songs alive.
Here is what Renee had to say about her music:
1. I know you recently undertook a residency in Brooklyn, New York. Has this changed your approach to music?
Yes definitely. The residency in Brooklyn taught me a lot about what I could accomplish with persistence and consistency. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about being creative enough or playing well enough but now I just sit down and do the work and let the rest come to me.
2. You made a duo record with Rene Gely and although there is quite a range of moods and sounds the two of you get, there is seems to be a common thread throughout the album… how do the two of you work on music together?
It's a pretty organic process. We usually play songs we like over and over again over a long period of time until they become something unique to us. However, with some of the music on Let's Call it a Day, René Gely would surprised me on recording day with a far-out arrangement and it would shape my interpretation by forcing me to be spontaneous.
3. Your repertoire ranges from old standards to originals. Can you tell us a bit about what songs you chose and why?
The songs on Let's Call it a Day were chosen because I had loved them for a very long time but had never put them in my regular performance repertoire. I wanted the music on the record to be fresh to my regular audience. That idea still directs most of my musical choices. I have an endless list of tunes I've been meaning to start performing.
4. Does this tie in to your original compositions?
Yes and no. the song Let's Call it a Day was co-written with Justin Klassen while we were members of a rock band called Gorgeous George. My newer compositions however, all have a pretty strong "jazz standard" feel to them. I'm really excited about these new songs.
5. You are doing a double bill with Megan Jerome and although you are both very different artistically, you both have a great passion for what you are doing. Is there somewhere you think the two of you meet artistically?
I think that Megan and I are both obsessed with songs. I dissect jazz standards and look at them inside and out and from every angle until I understand it completely. Megan does this with the characters and subjects of her songs, whether she's writing about her own life or about the characters in a Chagall painting.
6. Has the similarity and/or contrast between the two of you influenced what you will do?
For our show together Megan and I decided to give each other space to do what we do best so for the most part we're splitting the bill. We will be performing 6 duo songs throughout the night. We've chosen songs that are meaningful to both of us.
7. Would you name some musicians or groups that you are excited about?
There are so many people and groups that I'm excited about! I'm excited about the Craig Pedersen Quartet and Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers. I'm excited about Steve Berndt's upcoming release with Brian Browne. I'm excited about Andrea Simms-Karp latest release Hibernation Nation. The list goes on and on because Ottawa is so awesome!
Renee Yoxon will be performing with Rene Gely, and colaborating with Megan Jerome and her group
Saturday, Feb 4th