Recording artist, performer and composer Liza Lee is a breakout talent rapidly making her mark on today’s jazz scene. Her personal and haunting musical interpretations exhibit an emotional vulnerability laced with a confident understanding of life’s realities.
Liza’s (pronounced the same way as the famous Minnelli) highly praised first CD, Scarlet Mark, was released on the Jazz Doll label. Her latest project, Anima, was released on January 27, 2009. Anima will be re-released on The “Art of Life” label in mid 2009. Lee is the first female vocalist to be signed to “Art of Life Records”. As on her previous album, the material she has chosen for Anima is fresh, unpredictable and innovative. It also includes some of her highly praised yet controversial original compositions.
Anima is an extremely personal CD. In 2006, shortly after the release of Scarlet Mark, Liza suffered a stroke. Having made a full comeback, Liza Lee has decided to donate the proceeds from Anima to The Society For Women's Health Research (SWHR), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy (www.womenshealthresearch.org). This life altering experience inspired the title of the CD, Anima, which comes from the concept of the Anima and Animus by Carl Jung.
“Anima represents the feminine whisper inside of a patriarchal society,” Liza explains. “This is especially significant to me because this CD will benefit SWHR.”
“The doctors did not know if I would ever be able to sing or perform again,” explains Liza. “Now that I am better, I feel that it is my job to help increase awareness about the dire need for funds to research how illness, disease and medications uniquely affect women’s bodies.”
Most of the songs on Anima were composed or co-composed by women including Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” “A Thousand Kisses Deep” by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, and Kate Bush’s “Wow.” Liza Lee is particularly haunting on “Silver Dagger” and “Revolving Mattress,” a song about confounding expectations and “Sorry Child” an original about the cyclical nature of drug and psychological abuse. She also presents a unique and memorable interpretation of the Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There Is.” Her supporting cast includes such notables as pianists Bruce Barth, Michael Kanan, David Cook and Art Hirahara, bassist Pat O’Leary, drummers Michael Petrosino and Eric Halvorson, the reeds of Scott Robinson, Jim Clouse and Adam Kolker, and guitarist Kelsey Warren. Singer Shayna Steele duets with Liza on ”Calling You.”
When the time to record her first album arrived, the result was Scarlet Mark. As with all of Liza Lee’s music, the songs dealt with aspects of her life. She drew from such diverse writers as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, in addition to her own title cut.
For the future, Liza has been busy writing songs and lyrics for other artists and she is currently composing her first operetta. She is also involved in recording her first all-original alternative music project, Houses Of Detention, as well as an original jazz project, The Lover-Less Chronicles with producer, guitarist and composer Joe Davi, whose credits include work with Mya (Interscope), Akon (Universal), Foxy Brown (Universal), Noreaga (Penalty), Big Punisher (Loud), Kelis (Jive Records), Remy Ma (Universal) as well as Neyo and Jennifer Hudson.
“I enjoy taking personally influential songs from all genres and reworking them into jazz standards. Additionally, I plan to concentrate more on creating and performing original compositions in the future,” says Liza. “I love standards but none of us sound like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. We need to work with today’s material and keep the music going and growing.”
Liza Lee is an important voice of the 21st Century. Her continual evolution and development, which are well displayed on Anima, are fascinating to watch and her thought-provoking music is always memorable. She has proven herself a consistently intriguing vocalist and a significant addition to the current jazz scene.
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