For its jaw-dropping chutzpah Stealing Genius deserves a Juno. The nerviness begins with the Oscar Wilde aphorism used for its title. It continues as singer McConnell, who sings in French and English, and trumpeter Sperandei take on the A-list of musical egos: Elvis Presley (“Suspicious Minds”), Edith Piaf (“La Vie en Rose”) and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (“Thank You”). The pluckiness hits warp drive, though, when the pair bring an upstart brashness to “From Russia With Love” that’s entirely absent in Matt Monro’s original crooning of the Bond flick’s theme.
There are moments in this 13-song offering that leave you a little shaken, mostly when McConnell hits high notes; other moment can stir you, however. In “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” fromThe Fantasticks, she’s cool, calm, breathy and collected. Sperandei’s playing is lush and well-matched to McConnell voice. Pianist Mark Kieswetter’s arrangements are intuitively right and Douglas Romanow’s production brings a big-money feel.
Peter Goddard, The Toronto Star
Jazz singer Amy McConnell and trumpet player William Sperandei have followed up their JUNO nominated debut album Stealing Genius with an even more arresting offering, Accomplice.
The album is available for pre-order now on iTunes, with four instant grat tracks for immediate download. The full album will be released on September 30th.
Accomplice sees the pair taking on repertoire from composers of the 60s and 70s like Legrand, Brel, Loewe & Mancini. McConnell and Sperandei push the stylistic boundaries of jazz by taking these much loved, complex melodies and putting them in a fresh context influenced by the sound of vintage French pop and electronica. Their groovy takes on favourites like L-O-V-E, Where Do I Begin? and Wild Is Love embrace non-traditional jazz rhythms and instrumentation to dramatic and compelling effect.
Sperandei wrote all the arrangements for the album. “My vision for this album was to use Amy’s beautiful, pure, expressive voice to present these songs as they were intended to be heard – both melodically and harmonically – by the composers. And then to place that voice in a jazz/pop soundscape, adding layers and textures to it. Unexpected endings and beginnings. Serious groove. I wanted to make a record that would make people want to dance.”
“I chose songs that I love to sing, of course,” says McConnell. “But what they all have in common is a certain sophistication of lyric and melody that was still present in popular music in the 60s and 70s. It’s the exceptional quality and craft they put into the songwriting then that makes them still relevant today. They still speak to people. That’s what makes them timeless.”
“We had a lot of influences for our sound,” Sperandei notes. “Brad Mehldau, Air, Glenn Gould, Radiohead, Hiatus Kaiyote.”
“People think of jazz as retro now,” Sperandei says, “but jazz music was always a reflection of its’ time. It’s always been changing and evolving and influenced by different styles of music. And that’s what we’re doing with Accomplice. Sonically, we really wanted to create something that brings jazz into the sound of music today. And that also stands the test of time.”
The CD Release will be at the Jazz Bistro in Toronto on Oct 7 & 8.
An Intimate Valentine’s Day Dinner Concert
Join Amy McConnell & William Sperandei, along with pianist David Restivo and bass player Ross MacIntyre, for an evening of passionate jazz repertoire. There will be some Legrand, some Gershwin, some Cole Porter, some Bacharach and naturally some Edith Piaf.
Sunday, Feb 14, 2016 | Music begins at 7PM | Reserve Online
Bloom Restaurant serves deliciously unique Nuevo Latino Cuisine steeped in the rich culinary traditions of Latin America & Spain, re-interpreted by executive Cuban Chef Pedro Quintanilla.
2315 Bloor Street W (Bloor West Village) Toronto, Ont. M6S 1P1 416.767.1315
$45 including prix fixe menu.
Roaring Girl Records is so proud to present three outstanding musicians in a showcase in conjunction with the TD Jazz Festival. Tia Brazda, Declan O’Donovan and Amy McConnell are unique and talented singers with diverse styles and approaches but all with the same respect for the music of the past and a desire to explore new sonic territory.
From Tia Brazda’s sultry songwriting to Declan O’Donovan’s roof-raising rootsy style to Amy McConnell’s velvety vocals, this showcase is not to be missed.
WHO | Roaring Girl Records Presents: Tia Brazda, Declan O’ Donovan & Amy McConnell
WHAT | TD Toronto Jazz Festival Presents: Roaring Girl Records Showcase
WHERE | The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave
WHEN | Friday, June 26
COVER | $10 AT DOOR
RESERVE TICKETS | $7 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
DOORS | 6:00pm
MUSIC | 7:30pm
ABOUT THE ARTISTS|
Tia Brazda @ 7:30pm
Tia Brazda’s debut EP, “Cabin Fever” burst into the scene in February 2012, hitting #1 on the iTunes Canada Jazz Chart, as well as receiving play on CBC Radio 1, Jazz 91.1 and college radio stations across Canada. Having honed her cutting-edge sound in the clubs of Toronto, Tia’s sassy songs and pin-up girl style have made a startling impression. Her music pays homage to the Golden Era, while still remaining daringly modern.
Website | www.tiabrazda.com
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/tiabrazdamusic?fref=ts
Video | https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=54&v=7VB2IvUhLcc
Declan O’ Donovan @ 8:15pm
Declan O’Donovan is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Whitehorse, Yukon. His music is influenced by the sounds of Americana, blues, folk and roots, finding inspiration from artists such as Bob Dylan and Randy Newman. Informed by adept piano playing, an evocative voice, and skillful songwriting, O’Donovan’s music is at times dark, consistently poignant, and often underscored with twists of wicked humour.
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/declanodonovanmusic?fref=ts
Video | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdnrVX64EVg
Amy McConnell @ 9:00pm
Amy McConnell has been performing from the age of nine months when she appeared in her first television commercial. Amy continued her childhood career as one of the principals on the TfO TV series “Téléfrançais” and also performed in various professional musical theatrical productions. Amy has never been able to resist the siren song of… song and she splits her time between her film production and music careers. “Stealing Genius” is her first album and the reception from the Canadian jazz community has been outstanding. Despite her anglophone name, Amy comes from a francophone background, is fluently bilingual and frequently performs in French. Known for her beautiful voice, impeccable intonation and emotional approach, Amy’s style encompasses jazz, pop and musical theatre.
Website | mcconnellsperandei.com
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/amymcconnelljazz?fref=ts
Video | https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=36&v=Gjkgi7ArJVM
Roaring Girl Records | www.roaringgirlrecords.com
Saturday, June 20 2015 at 7:30PM
Multiple award-winning vocalist, highly-rated JAZZ.FM91 host, ultimate entertainer HEATHER BAMBRICK
with Juno-nominated singing star AMY McCONNELL
with the all-star RUSS LITTLE QUARTET (TOM SZCZESNIAK, piano; SCOTT ALEXANDER, bass; BRIAN BARLOW drums; RUSS LITTLE, trombone)
lead off the star-studded Home Smith Bar ‘Festival Within The Festival’ at the Old Mill Toronto (www.oldmilltoronto.com)
Full Menu – Ample Parking – Just Steps from the Old Mill Subway Stop
Tickets are $35.50 (plus applicable service charge)
Tickets are on sale NOW at Ticketpro.ca or Call 1.888.655.9090
Doors Open at 6:30 p.m. No Reserved Seating. Ticket-holders will be seated on a first come, first seated basis.
EASY TO LOVE: THE COLE PORTER SONGBOOK
Join JUNO nominees Amy McConnell & William Sperandei, along with JUNO winning pianist Brian Dickinson and bass player Ross MacIntyre in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series, the hour long concert will feature the witty, elegant lyrics and memorable melodies of one of the Great American Songbook’s most prolific and beloved songwriters, Cole Porter.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015, FROM 5:30PM – 6:30PM
The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre @ Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts
145 Queen St West at University. Map & Directions to the Four Seasons Centre.
Admission is free, but arrive early to get a seat. Doors open at 5:00PM and seating will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Latecomers will not be admitted.
Saturday, November 1st, 2014, from 7:30PM to 10:30PM. Amy McConnell, William Sperandei & Mark Kieswetter play in the intimate setting of the Home Smith Bar.
Amy McConnell & William Sperandei will be back at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Time: Noon to 1PM.
Admission: Free lunchtime concert!
Last year was a big year for vocalist Amy McConnell and trumpeter William Sperandei. The pair reached the top of the Jazz charts across Canada, received rave reviews in the Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail and The Whole Note (to name a few) and ended up with a JUNO nod for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for their debut album “Stealing Genius.”
The pairing of McConnell’s musical theatre background with Sperandei’s deep roots in jazz and classical trumpet has produced an inspired sound that tells a story both lyrically and musically. Not content to stick to standards, McConnell and Sperandei mine the whole of 20th century music for their repertoire, which ranges from Edith Piaf to Burt Bacharach to Led Zeppelin.
Their rapport on stage is evident, as is their joy in the songs they are performing. Catch them live while you can!
Date: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Time: Noon to 1PM
Place: MainStage at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
Admission: Free lunchtime concert!
Amy McConnell & Lyne Tremblay sing the songs of Paris. Legrand, Piaf, Baker, Brel, Trenet… with Special Guests Miranda Mulholland on violin and Tom Szczesniak on accordion. All in the gorgeous setting of the Woodland Gallery at the McMichael in Kleinburg. Part of the McMichael Jazz Concert Series.
Preshow talk with Amy, Lyne and JAZZ.FM radio personality Jaymz Bee at 7PM. Show At 8PM.
Fee: $49 A+ seating; $39 A seating; $19 students with ID; $169 A+ seating series of four concerts; $129 A seating series of four concerts. Fee includes gallery admission. McMichael members: $39 A+ seating; $30 A seating
Purchase online: https://www.mcmichael.com/apps/index.cfm?page=program.area&areaId=12
Purchase by phone: 905.893.1121 ext. 2209
Purchase via email: email@example.com
LocationMcMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue
Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada
(Islington Avenue north of
Major Mackenzie Drive on the east side)
or toll free 1.888.213.1121
Amy McConnell & William Sperandei perform at JUNOfest
Friday, March 28, 2014 – 11:00PM
Le Garage Café