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Anna Danes Has Found Her Wings

Photo front page Imagine if you will for a moment living in three different countries by the time you are eleven years old and having to escape the first one under the guise of a vacation. Then you achieve scholastic excellence in your new found home, begin a promising career as an attorney, give it all up for love and move to a fourth country. As a single parent you think you are giving your child a gift by providing her with singing lessons, she stubbornly refuses to take part in them and then magic, at the suggestion of the vocal coach you take the rest of the lessons and you launch a career as a Jazz singer, topped off by recording your most recent album in the very same studio where Frank Sinatra once recorded. It sounds a little farfetched I know, except all of this really happened and it could not possibly have happened to a more deserving person than the warm and gracious Jazz singer Anna Danes, who now makes her home in San Diego, California. This is only part of Anna Danes’ story, read further and you will discover a courageous lady who is always looking forward, who does not dwell on the disappointments of the past and who just released her second album.  

Anna Danes’ story begins in Gdansk, Poland, “Life (in Poland) was certainly very, very different than it is here, especially on the economic side of things and with personal freedoms, because there were none.  It was the time of the communist regime in Poland and so things were scarce and you had to fight to survive every day.  You couldn’t leave the country, unless the government gave you permission to leave the country.  You couldn’t speak your mind and if you could speak your mind it could backfire and it would affect your career, your family and life sometimes.  It was living in hiding in a way. It could put great limitations on your potential.” Read More

Barbara Dennerlein New DVD / CD

Barbara Dennerlein 2016 Front Page PhotoBarbara Dennerlein one of the world’s most highly regarded organists and Jazz composers just released a brand new CD and DVD, My Moments, recorded live at Studio Acusticum in the northern Swedish town of Piteá. The original Jazz compositions are played on both the Hammond organ, for which she is more widely known and the pipe organ. The very congenial Dennerlein who has become a good friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine over the years spoke to us from her home in Germany and referred to this CD / DVD as her most personal recording so far.

She explains why, “It is so pure. It is a solo situation. I am alone with both instruments. It is so personal. I think my personal style has developed over many, many years and it is very special. When you have a solo situation you can hear it more clearly. Also you can hear the little things. Very often when you have a drummer with you no matter how good he is it is always covering details from the organ sound. I do so many little things, because I love the sound and I love the colors that you can make and little changes. I like to experiment with sound and I can do this alone with my instruments. That is why I think it is my most personal one.

(Also), there is nobody else that you can hide behind. You have your own inspiration. I play the pedals very intensely, I have a whole band in a way, as I play with my feet the bass player’s work and I have both of my hands for comping and soloing. It gives me a lot of freedom and my style, which is very different from other organists, can be heard very clearly on the solo performance. It is wonderful and I just can let it go and it flows. I have a lot of inspiration and the two instruments are fascinating. Read More

Elisabetta Russo

Elisabetta Russo front page imageElisabetta Russo is an Italian soprano soloist and Opera star who was born in Bari in the Puglia region of Italy and who grew up in Calabria in the town of Cariati. She now makes her home in Los Angeles, California and recently she received her green card. She has performed with some of Europe’s and North America’s most well-known members of the music community including, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster and Renato Bruson.

Describing her childhood she says, “It is a beautiful city in the Calabria region. I had a loving childhood and I was raised in a very loving family who always supported me. Living in Cariati it was nothing short of an amazing privilege, because I was incredibly lucky to play by the sea, inspired by nature and the coastline. I was twelve years old when my father brought home a magazine, along with a Classical CD of the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. I fell in love with the story, but most of all with the beautiful music. It was my soundtrack for the whole next month. I just couldn’t stop listening to it.

I used to sing Pop music as a child, but then I am an old soul and Rossini, Verdi and Puccini were the right companions for the musical adventure that I was about to start.”

During her youth Elisabetta Russo played Classical piano and she also took vocal lessons. She later auditioned for the S. Cecilia Conservatory of Music in Rome, from which she graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor degree in Vocal Art and she also has a Master’s degree cum laude in Chamber Music and she attained the highest marks possible. She studied with some of the most iconic figures in Italian music, Edda Moser, Renata Scotto  Read More 

Barbara Dennerlein New DVD / CD

Nancy Valentine front page photoBarbara Dennerlein one of the world’s most highly regarded organists and Jazz composers just released a brand new CD and DVD, My Moments, recorded live at Studio Acusticum in the northern Swedish town of Piteá. The original Jazz compositions are played on both the Hammond organ, for which she is more widely known and the pipe organ. The very congenial Dennerlein who has become a good friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine over the years spoke to us from her home in Germany and referred to this CD / DVD as her most personal recording so far.

She explains why, “It is so pure. It is a solo situation. I am alone with both instruments. It is so personal. I think my personal style has developed over many, many years and it is very special. When you have a solo situation you can hear it more clearly. Also you can hear the little things. Very often when you have a drummer with you no matter how good he is it is always covering details from the organ sound. I do so many little things, because I love the sound and I love the colors that you can make and little changes. I like to experiment with sound and I can do this alone with my instruments. That is why I think it is my most personal one.

(Also), there is nobody else that you can hide behind.  Read More

Brazil's Rique Pantoja

Rique Pantoja Front Page PhotoRique Pantoja is one of Brazil’s most highly respected composers, arrangers, orchestrators, pianists / keyboardists and singers, who has been living in Los Angeles for the past two decades. He was recognized early in his career and he still is, for being a brilliant composer and a music innovator, as his songs have been recorded by artists such as Chet Baker. His band Cama de Gato is legendary and impacted the Brazilian music scene as much as the Fusion band Weather Report did the North American Jazz scene. In essence Cama de Gato influenced future generations of Brazilian artists and songwriters. Rique Pantoja has worked with some of the most iconic people in the music industry including Brazil’s Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins and Djavan, as well as prolific artists like, Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Luis Conte, Brenda Russell and Alex Acũna. His music has appeared in numerous feature films and television shows, as well as it has been used to promote some of the world’s top brands, such as Coca Cola, Honda and Toshiba.

Rique Pantoja grew up in Rio de Janeiro, one of six children, the fourth oldest boy and he also had two younger sisters. He says that his father who passed away almost six years ago was the greatest influence on him musically. He remembers his father as a great pianist and although he did not pursue a music career  Read More

Christine Flowers, Jazz & Mini Ninjas

Christine Flowers Photo OneTake a white American girl who grew up in North Carolina and Georgia, and who attended the first integrated school in the state of Georgia, where many of her fellow students were the children of civil rights activists, mix that with listening to a healthy dose of Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy on Sunday mornings and she has now lived in Paris, France for most of her adult life and what do you get? You get a terrific Jazz singer named Christine Flowers, who is also a voice actress, and recently launched her own YouTube channel featuring weekly ten minute restorative and therapeutic yoga sessions. You also get a woman who knows who she is, has strong convictions concerning human rights and who appears to be very comfortable in her own skin.

Looking back Christine Flowers describes herself as, “I really am an artist and I was a failure at academics. I was so flighty and I was so daydreamy about other things, music and poetry and all of that stuff.  I didn’t (care) about anything else. I was just allergic to that stuff. The funny thing is when I finally got out of high school and had I not graduated out of a performing arts high school (she pauses) all of my credits were because I was a singer, an actress and a dancer or I don’t think that I would have graduated. Read More

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