For the last 15 years, Tammy Hall has been one of the best-kept secrets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The jazz pianist and songwriter has been successfully packing in local clubs and venues, thanks to a widespread rep for distinctive, lively performances of everything from jazz and Brazilian to salsa and classical, and both original tunes and renditions. And now, listeners around the country can witness her virtuosity and captivating musical approach with the releases of her first CD with a jazz quartet, titled "Blue Divine" and a live DVD, "Reflections, " both released in February 2006.
The majority of both releases feature all-new compositions by Hall, who began playing piano at a precious age four in Dallas and has been performing since she was seven. Her deep experience reveals itself with one cursory listen - the wonderfully refined technique of seamlessly shifting between moods and emotive melodies exemplifies a style all her own. Indeed, "Tammy Hall: Blue Divine" and "Tammy Hall: Reflections" are a true achievement for a blooming talent who has much to offer the ever-branching jazz universe.
"Tammy Hall: Blue Divine" features nine original compositions with highly crafted arrangements and a contagious, warm chemistry among the musicians. Among the highlights are: the upbeat, toe-tapping "Back to the Source," the ambitious jazz suite "To Our Ancestors," and "Hymn to Lacy B.," which is bookmarked by mournful melodies and is a tribute to her maternal grandmother, who raised her and, along with her other grandma, helped pay for her musical lessons when she was very young. (Later, from the age of 8 to 21, she received classical training.)
Also on the CD is a tribute to the late blues/jazz vocalist Etta Jones, a good friend of Halls who died three years ago. "Maui Shimmers" which benefits from an atmospheric vibe that's reminiscent of sunlight bouncing off the water - was inspired by a recent vacation to the Grand Wailela Resort in Maui. Lastly there's the playfulness of "Lauren's Step" named after the album's producer - and executive producer of the DVD and Creative Director of elfenworks - Lauren Speeth. Hall is backed by jazz bassist Marcus Shelby drummer Kent Bryson and percussionist Michaelle Goerlitz.
"I actually see the color blue when I play these pieces" explains Hall about the album title. "Blue is my favorite color. It's a divine color a color of healing majesty dreams and of course "Tammy Hall: Reflections" has also been featured at jazzreview.com. It is a 35-minute film of Hall's jazz favorites and original compositions where her musical artistry is combined with sophisticated cinematography and special effects by master animator Tim Schaller. The blending of her performance with dream-like animation invites viewers to escape into a world of visual metaphor inspired and driven by the emotional qualities of the music. Among the original tunes are: "Pink Lightning" and "Pour Tania" an ode to Tania Maria a critically-acclaimed Brazilian pianist who sings along with her improvisational playing and who inspired a lot of Tammy's music.
More about Tammy Hall: Pianist organist composer and arranger Tammy Lynne Hall is one of the most in-demand musicians in the Bay Area. In particular her prodigious accompanist skills make her a top choice for such singers as: Rhonda Benin Frankye Kelly Lady Mem"fis Kim Nalley Denise Perrier Little Jimmy Scott Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir Voz Do Brazil and the great Etta Jones. Stylistically Tammy Hall is equally gifted in Classical Gospel Jazz Brazilian Salsa and Funk. Her major influences include Tania Maria Beethoven Liszt Stevie Wonder Nina Simone Mary Lou Williams Dorothy Donnegan and Thelonious Monk. Like her influences Tammy brings a virtuosity to the piano that is never ostentatious and her approach to the music is always genuine and fresh. Hall has worked with award-winning cabaret singer Connie Champagne violinist Jeremy Cohen Ruth Davies Mark Epstein Philip Hamilton Etta Jones Frankye Kelly Veronica Klaus Lady Mem"fis Allison Miller Kim Nalley Denise Perrier Houston Person Sassy Divas Liza Silva Robert Stewart and Linda Tillery. Her arrangements have been used for live music performances including Sassy Divas Veronica Klaus at the Plush Room TARC and A New Leaf Benefits and most recently Equality California. She maintains a very busy performance calendar accompanies the U.C. Santa Cruz Porter College gospel choir and teaches privately. She is also a member of the highly acclaimed Montclair Women's Big Band whose new CD recorded at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch was recently released. Her charity work includes performances for Help Is On The Way Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center & and Children's Hospital of Oakland's Miracle Network.