Trombonist/Vocalist Natalie Cressman & Guitarist Mike Bono will performing music from their newly released CD at Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center on November 20 7 pm. Their CD, ETCHINGS IN AMBER, is a duo project by these two talented young artists. They both live in New York City and perform regularly in the city, around the country and internationally with their own bands and as sidemen for other groups.
The project features Cressman on vocals (she eschews her trombone for this recording) and Bono on acoustic guitar. Cressman and Bono composed all nine tunes on this CD, with Bono penning most of the compositions and Cressman writing all the lyrics. Jazz is a
constantly evolving art form. Ever since its early days, jazz artists have been incorporating different musical styles from different cultures. According to Cressman, “Jazz has always embraced the world outside the genre. It has always reflected the social and political climate of its time. Swing, the blues, and bebop are distinctly American art forms that are important in my own development as a jazz musician, but these days, because of the
Internet and social media, it’s easy to be exposed to great music from all around the world. It has expanded my musical vocabulary and influences my performing and writing. For me, the essence and true spirit of jazz is its improvisatory nature using a rich harmonic palette that can surprise the listener.” With its mix of jazz with folk and indie rock, the
genre-bending music on this CD is complex yet very approachable. Cressman’s
voice has an alluring smoky quality, and her singing style comes out of the tradition of vocal jazz but with a distinctly contemporary feel.
Bono is an accomplished arranger and improviser. He cites Julian Lage and Ben Monder, two popular guitarists who play with a contemporary edge, as current influences. Bono says, “A lot of the music I wrote for this record was inspired by Ben and Julian. The thing that’s most attractive to me about Julian’s music is how singable his melodies are. I try to incorporate Julian’s melodic approach with Ben’s wild and unpredictable harmonies into what I’m going for as a composer, along with my own personal experiences and feelings.” For Cressman, “We want our music to reach people melodically and lyrically, but especially emotionally. We want to tell stories with our music.