Born: July 1 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Latest Release: Everything Must Change, the newest recording from Susan and her longtime collaborators, Rich Eames and Jerry Kalaf, is a departure from their enthusiastically received [Jazz Aviary] concept recording (2007). Joined by the deeply simpatico Ryan McGillicuddy and Chuck Manning, the Susan Krebs Band made music together one recent summer: “We had some seriously good fun!” says Susan. “I chose tunes which I’d been living with for a while, musically mulling in my garden and on long walks - tunes which resonate with me in a very personal way, with the title tune. Everything Must Change, guiding the feel of the album and reflecting the tenor of the times we live in.” The collaborative nature of the project can be heard throughout the recording. “Mostly, it felt that the music just arrived, ya know?,” says Susan. There is an immediacy and an intimacy to this recording which reflect the spirited sessions which make up Everything Must Change. The final track on the album, “Are Ya Havin’ Any Fun?” leaves no doubt about the grand summer fun these folks had: “It’s our feel- good single for challenging and changing times!”, offers Susan.
Everything Must Change is an opportunity to hear Krebs in a small ensemble setting, delightfully organic, fully interactive, focused and engaged. Her vocal delivery is spot on, and invokes the modern jazz language with masterful control, truly a journey worth exploring, that offers a uplifting outcome.
Stage, screen and TV actor and vocalist, Susan Krebs, decided a few years ago to devote herself fully to singing, and the jazz world is a better place for it. Krebs’ voice is rich and pure with an enticingly dusky patina. Blessedly free of affectation, she rivals Karrin Allyson and Diana Krall in her ability to climb inside a lyric and make it seem as if she’s lived there her entire life... ~Christopher Louden JAZZ TIMES
Born and raised in Baltimore, Susan grew up in a home filled with the sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Gilbert & Sullivan, Broadway Musicals and the blues of Bessie, Billie and Ella. Graduating from Hollins University, Susan went on to New York City �� studying acting with Uta Hagen, appearing in Off- Broadway plays and musicals, TV commercials and performing with the improvisational theater company, War Babies. She then relocated to Los Angeles, making it her new home �� delighted that she could garden and hike �� and that there were greater work opportunities. Over the years, she has appeared in dozens of TV shows (Shameless and Mad Men, most recently), Films (Million Dollar Baby, 28 Days), Animation, Radio & TV Commercials, and Theater, including her own solo musical revue, LUNAR I; the all-women’s improvisational company, the Wims; and the contemporary opera, A String of Pearls, both in L.A. and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Theater. Throughout Susan’s career as an actor and improviser, she was also performing as a jazz vocalist, and studied with the great jazz singers, Sue Raney and Sheila Jordan. Then, seeking clarity and artistic direction during a four month middle years retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Susan’s sense of herself as a jazz gardener came into being - which she explains is about the art of becoming - whether working with plants or music or with oneself - to dig down, to cultivate, to encourage growth, to thrive and flourish, and eventually to let go and begin the cycle anew.
She returned to L.A. with the intent of devoting herself fully to the art of jazz singing in order to tell her tale through song. Following the 1999 release of her debut album, Jazz Gardener, came What Am I Here For? in 2002. Both projects were created with her group of superb L.A. based musicians, including her longtime drummer/producer, Jerry Kalaf, and the saxophonist extraordinaire, Gary Foster. Susan performs regularly throughout Southern California, including such venues as: L.A. County Museum of Art, Jazz Bakery, Vitello's and Cafe 322. She also hosts and performs regularly with the Susan Krebs Band in her jazz salon, ThemeScene.
Susan Krebs has nothing but fondness for our feathered friends��and expresses her joyous affection magnificently throughout this fascinating concept project... irresistible offerings from a formidable jazz artist... ~Jonathan Widran/AMG
Susan’s ongoing project is the critically acclaimed multi-media concert JAZZ AVIARY �� a celebration of Birds and the universal music we share - conceived and performed by Susan in collaboration with the Soaring Sextet, with Musical Direction by Rich Eames. Susan explains her longtime fascination with birds: I remember as a kid, lying stretched out in a hammock between two grand sycamores, watching the birds, listening to the birds - digging the birds! With JAZZ AVIARY, I want to express the wonder and awe that birds arouse as well as raise awareness for their beauty and preservation.
From Baltimore to Los Angeles, as an actor or singer, Susan Krebs - the self- professed jazz gardener - likes to dig, cultivate, grow, and flourish. Krebs' music wraps itself around the listener like a big hug. How can one not enjoy the whole grain, organic pleasure of jazz classics about spring, love, flowers, and stars? These are eight tunes that clearly provide considerable meaning, direction, and personal reflection for Krebs. They're the kind of songs that allow for plaintive, soothing contemplation. Whether a Cole Porter classic (What Is This Thing Called Love?) or Billy Strayhorn tune (A Flower is a Lovesome Thing), the songs don't rush things. The creative, four-to-six minute arrangements allow for warm, expressive conversations between the vocalist and instrumentalists. Krebs' earthy vocal presence is surrounded by the intimacy of her longtime collaborators, Rich Eames (piano) and Jerry Kalaf (drums). Together, they co- produced this project like their last - the enthusiastically received Jazz Aviary (2007). Ryan McGillicuddy (bass) and Chuck Manning (saxophones) round out the quintet for this current project. The closing feel-good single, Are Ya Havin' Any Fun? also taps Scott Breadman (percussion), Steve Huffsteter (trumpet), and Riner Scivally (guitar) for a carefully cultivated full combo sound. In her interpretive cover of Bernard Ighner's Everything Must Change (featuring Chuck Manning's fine sax work), Krebs proclaims in song: Rain comes from the clouds/Sun lights up the sky/And music...Sweet music/Oh music makes me cry. Thus, Krebs displays her love of good songs, as well as the emotional and symbiotic relationship that she intimately has with them. Throughout the entire set she exudes confidence, delivering the musical goods in a sturdy, self-assured, affable manner. She's a sincere singer whose ballads and sense of swing remind me of Shirley Horn. At the same time, think Sheila Jordan for the witty interpretation that Krebs and company provide in the joyously refreshing closing number. ( Joe Ross/Blogcritics.org)
Krebs has the latitude to make the music she wants to make and add her own special sauce as and when needed. Here we have an intimate, gutsy jazz vocal date where she isn’t afraid not to hold back an emotion. Making it seem like she’s doing what comes naturally, her latest is a side step away from her past outings and she once again shows that she can handle any facet of jazz singing. (Chris Spector/Midwest Record)
Refreshing...A wonderfully eclectic release with an N.P.R vibe and a warm rich sound that works hand in glove with her vocals. A somewhat personal release which reflects upon some favorites of Krebs and the current social-political climate we live in today. Normally when an artist begins mixing social commentary with their music and especially jazz then my attention span and tolerance level are equivalent to the interest I have in an Obama press conference. The release works because it does not push a message but instead shines the spotlight on the music which Krebs delivers with a refreshing honesty and clearly shows her comfort zone as an artist.
Working with long time collaborators Rich Eames and Jerry Kalaf has a subtle chemistry that brings the music and vocals together in a nice working band setting. The joy of making music is nice. The joy of making good music is Susan Krebs.
Everything Must Change opens with a spot on version of the Freddie/Hubbard/Abbey Lincoln tune Up Jumped Spring. The Cole Porter classic What Is This Thing Called Love along with the Billy Strayhorn tune A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing showcase Krebs unique ability to reinvent a timeless standard without disrespecting the original or herself and this is the true sign of an artist. An intimate all most live studio sound seems to permeate this recording giving new meaning to the often tired critical term organic.
Having shifted a career away from stage, screen and television it would appear Krebs has made the correct career decision with pursuing singing as her vocation of choice. In her press release Krebs describes her musical odyssey as the art of becoming and given the 24/7 learning curve that is life she seems to be an artist blessed with a clear focus and understanding of how to best develop her talents.
Krebs closes the release with her feel good single Are Ya Havin' Any Fun? which she describes as her feel good single for challenging times. As a jazz vocalist Susan Krebs offers a nice vacation from the trials and tribulation of everyday life and Everything Must Change is well worth the trip! (Brent Black/CriticalJazz.com)
REVIEWS for JAZZ AVIARY:
“Irresistible offerings from a formidable jazz artist... A lot of great jazz interpreters gather great songs together, but few do it as well and convincingly as Krebs.” (AMG)
“Stage, screen, TV actress and vocalist Susan Krebs decided a few years ago to devote herself fully to singing, and the jazz world is a better place for it. Krebs’ voice is rich and pure with an enticingly dusky patina. Blessedly free of affectation, she rivals Karrin Allyson and Diana Krall in her ability to climb inside a lyric and make it seem as if she’s lived there her entire life...” (Christopher Louden / JAZZ TIMES)
“Susan Krebs, a talented singer with wit and energy...” (L.A.Times)
“... there’s just love and joy and gratitude for the inspiration which motivated this full-throated song fest... Krebs’ interpretive passion, intelligence, and love for the project can be heard throughout.” (Bob Gish / Jazz Improv)
Everything Must Change GreenGig Music, 2012
Tracks: Up Jumped Spring; What Is This Thing Called Love?; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; Everything Must Change; Lost in the Stars; Wheelers and Dealers; Our Love Rolls On; Are Ya Havin' Any Fun?
The Susan Krebs Band: Susan Krebs: Vocals; Rich Eames: Piano; Jerry Kalaf: Drums; Ryan McGillicuddy: Bass; Chuck Manning: Saxes; Special Guests: Scott Breadman, Steve Huffsteter and Riner Scivally
JAZZ AVIARY GreenGig Music 2007 1. High Flying Bird 2. Bird Alone 3. The Peace of Wild Things 4. Songbird 5. Strange Meadowlark 6. Baltimore Oriole 7. Bob White 8. Blackbird 9. The Lark Ascending (sextet) 10. Skylark 11. A Gaggle of Geese..."What the Crow Said" 12. Ornithology (sextet) 13. Medley: I'm So Lonesome Dink's Blues Three Little Birds 14. Bird in the Rain 15. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square 16. Song of the Birds Rich Eames - Piano//Musical Director Jerry Kalaf - Drums/Vibes Ken Wild - Bass Riner Scivally - Guitar Rob Lockart - Saxes/Flutes Scott Breadman - Percussion M.B. Gordy - Percussion The Susan Krebs Group
WHAT AM I HERE FOR?
GreenGig Music 2002
Tracks: 1. Peace; 2. What Am I Here For?; 3. Nature Boy; 4. The Way You Look Tonight; 5. Out of This World; 6. Good Morning Heartache; 7. Water Under the Bridge; 8. A Sleeping Bee; 9. You Bother Me; 10. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; 11. Ten Minutes Ago.
The Susan Krebs Group: Susan Krebs: Vocals. Rich Eames: Piano. Luther Hughes: Bass. Jerry Kalaf: Drums/Vibes. Gary Foster: Sax/Flutes. Ken Wild: Bass (Tr #3,7,10). Scott Breadman: Percussion. Mike Clinco: Guitar
Susan Krebs JAZZ GARDENER Sea Breeze Jazz 1999 1. In the Name of Love 2. Skylark 3. Compost Blues 4. You Don't Know What Love Is 5. Small Day Tomorrow 6. Cockeyed Optimist 7. What'll I Do? 8. My Foolish Heart 9. The Blues Are Brewin' 10. Give Me the Simple Life 11. Don't Fence Me In 12. Jazz Gardener Susan Krebs: Vocals. Louis Durra: Piano/Organ. Domenic Genova: Bass. Jerry Kalaf: Drums/Vibes. Gary Foster: Sax. Scott Breadman: Percussion. Joe Romano: Trumpet.
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