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Little Red Robin
  • Artist: Mary Ellen Spann
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 634479356322
  • Item #: SRD935632
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Release Date: 10/1/2002
  • Rank: 1000000000
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List Price: $12.98
Price: $11.31
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Little Red Robin on CD

QUOTES: 'Mary Ellen Spann displays strong potential to become houshold name. Little Red Robin is easily recommended.' Scott Yanow, L.A, Jazz Scene 'Mary Ellen has a singular talent for caressing a ballad and putting her own individual stamp upon it. She has a knack for picking great old songs but doing them in a thoroughly contemporary way.' Jim Clark, Host, Jazz Nightly, South Dakota Public Radio 'Lovely voice, good musical selections, a fine time in the land of pop standards. Take one Little Red Robin and call me in the morning.' John Scalzi, IndieCrit.Com 'Mary Ellen has that unique combination of looks, voice, talent, sensitivity and professionalism that make her a complete and enjoyable entertainer. Her expressive vocals and original work combined with sultry standards made our evening of jazz a dazzling success.' Sue Kohl, Culturals Arts Events, City of Henderson, NV. 'Spann gracefully keeps songs swinging. This CD highlights her smooth golden tones.' JazzReview.Com 'Mary Ellen sings with a warm smile as though she had a scret she is willing to share with you.' Alan Lambert, Host, KBEZ, Tulsa, OK 'Our listeners would be pleased if we played almost non-stop Mary Ellen Spann.' Rambo, Host, KUOO, University of Okoboji, IA BIO: Jazz music lovers receive a fulfilling four-course meal with Mary Ellen Spann's latest release, Little Red Robin. Lush, expressive, intimate vocals sung by Spann; interesting, "outside of the box" arrangements; time transcending tunes and top-notch players all contribute to make this a must have in any music lover's library. Little Red Robin is Spann's third CD and the second on her label, China Alley Records. The result is a collection of 10 musical gems from the past and one of Spann's originals, "Guess I Lost Me for Awhile." Little Red Robin also marks Spann's first time out as producer. "I didn't want to be predictable regarding the arrangements of these tunes. I have always wanted to record Tea for Two in waltz time with an accordion and They Were You from The Fantastiks with a classical guitar in 4/4 time. It completely altered the feel of these songs, made them feel more intimate." To make this dream and vision come to fruition Spann called the "crème de la crème" of Texas based musicians. She had worked with guitarist, Joe Lee, on her last project, Heart Soar, and had chosen tunes specifically with him in mind on this latest effort. "Working with Joe is a dream. His playing is magical and he climbs effortlessly into the world of the song you're trying to create." Lee Tomboulian, on keyboard and accordion, was another player she had worked with on Heart Soar. Spann states, "He is a tremendously versatile and brilliant player with a great sense of humor." Dan Wojciechowski plays drums on six of the tracks, "One of the most intuitive players I have had the pleasure of working with. He was right on every step of the way and so completely delightful. Wayne Delano, on saxophone, was a musician I had not worked with previously, but I had heard about him. His beautiful tone and ultra-creative solo work is truly inspiring." Spann also used a second group of musicians that she had performed with. "I wanted to work with Noel Johnston, on guitar and Joel Fountain, on drums, in a recording situation and I'm so glad we had this opportunity to collaborate because they were terrific. Noel played one of the most beautifully expressive classical guitar solos on Willow Weep for Me." Like Spann's previous CD, Heart Soar, which consisted mainly of her original work and two cover tunes by Jobim and Gershwin, this one, too, has a Latin thread sewn through it. "I just can't seem to ignore that gravitational pull to South of the equator, in my own writing and what I hear in my head instrumentation-wise," states Spann. "My goal in producing is to take the listener on a journey." Heart Soar (co-produced with Colin Boyd) traveled continents and genres and Little Red Robin is said to be an exploration of human emotions. From the extreme heights of joy to the depths of despair, the overriding message of this latest work is one of resounding hope. Spann notes that there has been a real sense of "carpe diem" in the air this last year, "I spent a good bit of time contemplating this next move. I wanted this latest project to be one that I could really climb into the world of the song. I have always felt that it's part of my role to keep these great older tunes alive. When I first moved to NYC out of college I was convicted to this mission. The opportunities for reinterpretation are endless." Spann's love for making music began in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she performed her first solo of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the age of five. Music was in her blood from the start with a grandfather who composed and sang his original cowboy ballads on his own radio program in the Midwest, to a father who played tenor saxophone in his own big band, a mother who sang jazz standards and her oldest sister who is currently a composer/vocalist and jazz piano player in the Chicago area. From her hometown she went on to Washington, D.C. where she studied music and acting at Catholic University of America. Upon graduation, she landed a role in a production at the Ford Theatre and soon after she loaded all of her belongings into her Honda Civic and headed for the Great White Way, New York City. "When I was going to school in Washington DC I began researching and collecting sheet music. Some of the tunes were well known and some were obscure. Usually they would come from an old movie or a Broadway musical that didn't last very long. I was obsessed with uncovering musical gems." This exploration was made easy due to the wealth of material filed at the Library of Congress. When she moved to NYC this obsession and hunger continued at the Lincoln Center Library of Music. "I've often thought that if my apartment were on fire, the sheet music would be one of the first things I would throw out the window." Spann has performed her music in New York at The Bitter End, Don't Tell Mama, the Village Gate, to name a few. Her music has also taken her to Nashville, performing her original work for Broadcast Week and oversees on the USO Tour through Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Spain and England. She currently resides in Dallas where she has fulfilled a life long dream to sing with a big band. The 20-piece orchestra, Steve Lallier's Tuxedo Junction, has released two CDs, "Live at the Isle of Capri" and "Up in Harlem on a Saturday Night." The latter contains one of her original tunes, the bluesy "Tatertot Casserole," arranged by Carl Murr. Little Red Robin has been a labor of love for Mary Ellen. "These musical gems are songs that I've been in love with for many years. The concept for this latest project is based on following your heart. It's all about using your gifts, in the same way a red robin was put on this earth to sing and fly." For Booking: Steven Spann (214) 850-5291 To Email Mary Ellen: maryespann@earthlink.net.