Saturday, December 1, 2007
Inga Swearingen always loved singing, whether it was with her elementary school choir in San Luis Obispo, California, or performing her own songs in high school, or during her years of voice lessons. But it may have been joining a jazz choir while pursuing her education at Cuesta College that sealed her decision to be a jazz singer. In 2003, after studying with Swiss artist Susanne Abbuehl, she won the Shure Jazz Voice competition at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. She earned a master's degree in choral conducting from Florida State University, then returned to California, where she now performs, works on recording projects, and teaches at Cuesta College her old alma mater. Reverie, her latest CD, is on the Rhythome label.
Joe Ely and Joel Guzman
Joe Ely left West Texas as a teenager in the late '60 and put on miles like a trucker; "followed Woody Guthrie west and the blues guys down south ... was on the West Coast during all the big hippie days." After living in Europe for a while, he returned to Texas. "I always knew the best musicians were in Lubbock," he says. His current solo recordings are Happy Songs from Rattlesnake Gulch and Silver City, both on Rack 'Em Records. Bonfire of Roadmaps (University of Texas Press) is a collection of poems and drawings culled from his traveling journals. Accordionist Joel Guzman was performing with his father's band before he had even started school "El Pequeño Gigante" ("The Little Giant"), they called him back then. These days, he is an in-demand instrumentalist, singer and producer, known for fusing traditional Mexican music with other genres.
Since his 1962 Broadway debut in Something About a Soldier, Tony Roberts has appeared in dozens of plays, on Broadway and elsewhere Barefoot in the Park, Don't Drink the Water, Promises, Promises, Endgame, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife and Victor/Victoria, to name just a few, and he earned Tony Award nominations for How Now, Dow Jones and Play It Again, Sam. He is currently playing a dual role Danny Maguire and Zeus in Xanadu at the Helen Hayes Theater. The musical is based on the 1980 movie starring Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton-John. His film credits include Annie Hall, Play It Again, Sam, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Serpico and Amityville. Roberts grew up in New York City and it is still his home base.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).