Friday, April 9, 2010

The Queen of Swing

The Susie Arioli Swing Band from Montreal sure knows its way around the music of the 30’s and 40’s. The group consists of two guitarists, a stand-up bass, and a snare drum, all backing up the charming Susie Arioli on vocals. Actually, Susie plays the snare, not so much to add rhythm but to give her something to do with her hands, she confesses. The combination of instruments sounds odd, but it sure seems to work. Her voice is silky smooth, and she doesn’t employ some of the usual tricks other jazz singers use. She sings the songs pretty straight forward, but they sure make you want to tap your foot. Susie and her group opened for Ray Charles at the Montreal Jazz Festival back in the last century (I love writing that), and the rest is history. Growing up she listened to Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Billy Holliday, but her sound is all her own. Another wonderful musical gift from our Canadian neighbors!

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