San Francisco Jazz singer Amanda King continues to make strides in establishing a career. She talked about her upcoming schedule of performances in May 2011 at the Rrazz Room.
"Excited, thrilled, nervous...and anticipating that it will be a great mix, this will be my third show at the Rrazz Room" said King.
She will be performing three shows on Mondays this coming May and said that this upcoming set of shows entitled "The Swing of Things" will center around the standards.
"I will be avoiding the lesser-known gems that I sing," said King, as she referred to her show from last year “Forgotten Women, Lost Songs -the songs of Blanche Calloway, Bea Wain and Mildred Bailey" in which King performed at the NYC Cabaret Convention and The Metropolitan Room in October of 2010.
"I aim to grow in my singing of the jazz standards," said King. She explained that it is important for singers and musicians to know and understand the established songs. "Of course, when these songs were first written they were the popular songs of the day," she said. "Over time they became embedded in the go-to musical repertoire of Jazz and popular music," said King.
King is eager to please the audience and wants to share her love of singing and great music.
Yet, she pointed out that it is important for a singer to have a connection to a song.
"Sure I can sing a song by request," she said. "But even if it is a song I know, it has to be a song that is something I feel and understand and can relate to."
Some songs are easy to embrace harmonically and can be sung with enthusiasm. But more sophisticated songs with thoughtful or complex lyrics must be understood and performed with integrity. "You have got to feel it," she said.
"I can always tell when a singer is not really connected to the music," she said.
King is someone who takes her song selections for each show very seriously. She sees it as a singer's responsibility to make sure each song fits. "When I sing a song I hope I can add something unique of my own to the song," said King.
"This is why it is much harder for me to find jazz and Great American Songbook standards that I identify with," said King. She emphasized how important it is for a really good singer to realize that understanding a song's meaning and its connection to the singer makes the song powerful.
"Songs must speak to me," she said. "I have to be able to have something in my life that can identify with that particular song so I can convey its meaning and depth to the audience," she said. "Or I just have to really, really like it!"
What many people don't realize is that each song must be charted and that takes time, King noted.
Warren Leong of The Music Center of San Francisco provided detail, "to chart a song is to set the notes and chords of a piece of sheet music into an arrangement."
The Music Center on Powell Street, not far from Union Square is where many musicians and singers go to buy sheet music. Leong said that when musicians or singers say "chart or to chart a song, they are referring to having to create an arrangement of notes and chords for an instrument."
"It is what musicians play off of," said, singer and musician Barry Lloyd, locally known as San Francisco's prince of the cabaret scene. "it is usually hand written, or nowadays, done with a computer program," he said. "Charts often are for the piano, yet are written for the other instruments, as well (bass, drums, horns etc.). And yes, it can be very time consuming and get very expensive," said Lloyd.
For this series at The Rrazz Room, King is pleased to have the opportunity to work with over nine musicians - a different trio for each performance. Taylor Eigsti, Bill Bell, Eddie Marshall, Noel Jewkes, Jeff Chambers, Eugene Warren, Terrence Brewer, Surya Patri, Chuck Bennett, and Shota Osabe will be among the musicians featured in the three Monday night shows.
"I will be a little nervous," said King. "But it will create something spontaneous and unique for each night, not scripted," she said. "It will be like were having a jam and the musicians will flow with the feeling," she said.
King is looking forward to appearing again at the next NYC Cabaret Convention this coming fall back at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Yet she pointed out that being "Mom" is her number one priority.
"My son will be going into Kindergarten in the fall" she said. "And I want to be there for the important steps in his life."
"I would love to venture further from San Francisco for longer tours and more shows, but life keeps me centered here right now. Fortunately, I get to work with great musicians in venues such as The Rrazz Room...one of the best houses anywhere" said King.
While this will be King's third show, she has appeared as a guest at the Rrazz seven times. "I love the sound system, everyone there is really great to work with," she said. King is looking forward to enthralling an audience and have them fill the house each night.
"Come to all three shows because every night will be very different," she adds.
"The Swing of Things" will be on three consecutive Monday nights, May 2, May 9 and May 16. For details and ticket information visit Rrazz Room web site or call 1-800-380-3095.