|Print this story||Permalink|
Kerry Politzer is a Maryland-born classical jazz musician turned Forest Hills resident who isn't afraid of exploring her talents. That's why Politzer's latest album, "You Took Me In" (2007), is her first album to showcase her lyrical ability.
Politzer decided to write and perform lyrics on "You Took Me In" because she felt it would be a challenging experience that would help her grow as an artist.
"I think it's a challenge to write lyrics and put them into music. I think I'm more of a music person than a lyrics person, but it's fun to hone the craft and keep growing and learning," Politzer said.
Of her transition into writing and performing lyrics with her instrumental music, Politzer said she got a lot of help by involving herself in musical workshops.
She started 10-week classes where she wrote one song per week, and completed assignments and critiques. Politzer said the classes were fun and inspirational, so much so that "You Took Me In" features songs she wrote during them.
"I don't tend to write political songs," Politzer said of her themes. "I am not able to translate politics to an effective song." Instead, she lets personal stories and lives of others feed her lyrics.
"A lot of times inspiration comes from a person, or a story that's interesting to me," Politzer said.
In October, it will be one year since the album was released, and though many songs have been written, Politzer has no immediate plans to release a new album.
"I'm trying to figure out if I want to release an album that's more lyrical but jazz-driven." Politzer said of her musical horizon. Pop is also a territory she intends to venture into.
In the meantime, Politzer is focusing on performing at the local level, and branching out to unique New York venues. Sept. 28 marked the first night of performances in a new series called "Girls Rock the Night," a group composed of Politzer and a few of her musician friends. The women will be playing a bunch of café and sidewalk gigs, some of which will take place at The Parkside Lounge on Houston Street in Manhattan and at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale.
One of Politzer's favorite New York venues is Waltz, a coffee/wine bar and performance space in Astoria — a venue she highly recommends to anyone in the neighborhood. She has also performed at the Jazz Improv Live Festival, Wave Hill, The Cutting Room, The Blue Note, Birdland, Rockwood Music Hall and the Kitano, among other venues.
Politzer's first encounter with the piano occurred when she was still a toddler, "My folks gave me a little toy piano when I was 3 years old, and I started picking up Mickey Mouse tunes, and making little songs," Politzer said. Shortly after her family purchased an adult-sized piano, and Politzer's skill grew. Her parents were a nurturing force for her musical side.
"My parents were supportive. They sent me to an arts high school — North Carolina School of the Arts, which is a most creative environment," she said.
Politzer went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied under Charlie Banacos, who she credits as a defining musical mentor and inspiration.
Banacos wasn't the only musician to rub off on Politzer, who credits her Brazilian influences to Milton Nascimento, a self-taught singer, songwriter and guitarist who is considered by many to be an international icon of Brazilian music.
"He's amazing — his early stuff has these crazy falsetto voices. I saw him at the Blue Note, he is one of the legends," Politzer said.
Before the release of her first album "Yearning" (2000), Politzer made a living by playing and touring with the New York City based all-female jazz orchestra Diva (which has the subtitle No Man's Band).
"It seems that at some point almost every female musician played with [Diva]. When I played, the Queen Elizabeth 2 was sailing, and we took the cruise to Halifax, played on the boat from Bar Harbor all the way there," Politzer said.
A few years ago, Politzer decided to start her own record label, Polisonic — the name came from combining the words "Politzer" and "sonic." Her previous records, "Watercolor" (2002) "Labyrinth" (2005), are both under her Polisonic label, and the latter was a finalist for Best Jazz Album in the 2007 Independent Music Awards.
In a way, Politzer's whole life has been about music since she was a child, including her romantic life. She met her husband George Colligan, a classical trumpeter turned drummer turned jazz pianist, indirectly through a piano competition in Indanapolis. Soon after she listened to one of his demo tapes, then met the man behind the music. Colligan recently released an album called "Runaway" on the Sunnyside label. The two often collaborate together on musical projects.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.