Born: April 4, 1951 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Meryl Romer's first recorded outing as a jazz contralto is at once adventurous and articulate, playful yet sophisticated as she interprets jazz standards and makes them her own. Meryl's original pieces display an honesty only life can teach and her Dylan interpretation is a truly wonderful surprise.
Of her art, Meryl says, Singing gives me a chance to open to and play with aspects of life that are an expansion of my daily landscape. The songs offer me an opportunity to explore a palette of characters, emotions, stories, rhythms and moods. It is through my voice that I experience the shapes, shadows and subtlety of the movements that allow me to step out of daily routine.
We all do laundry, make breakfast, and show up for work on time; music is a source that allows us to sweeten and soften our relationship to each moment. The music is my avenue to give voice to the yearnings of my heart and soul.
So Sure includes three original pieces that tell Meryl's story of having waited long enough to follow and explore her singing passion. I've often said that I have been singing these songs my whole life....I just never opened my mouth. I began whispering lyrics when I was 11 years old and gathered the courage to begin to sing forty years later.
Her choice of songs reflects her feelings and fantasies about relationships, play, commitment and determination.
Meryl covers standards ranging from Toots Thielemans to Rodgers and Hart and newer selections by Cassandra Wilson and Bob Dylan.
Meryl's musical collaborators, Erik Deutsch, Bill Kopper, Jonti Siman, Marc Dalio, Brian McRae and Robert Kyle, bring an inspired and masterful sensitivity through their music, supporting her as she breathes love and life into these twelve tunes.
Meryl's earliest experiences with music came through the world of dance. From age 11 in Brooklyn, New York, Meryl danced and sang through the rooms of her apartment to the jazz of 77 Sunset Strip, Jelly Roll Blues, and Lazy River, sensing then that the sounds of jazz would be woven into her life through dance or song. Meryl went on to study and immerse herself in the world of dance into her twenties, studying ballet, modern, jazz, African, and improvisation. After college she received her Master's Degree in Dance and Movement Therapy. Much later she found the courage to explore the natural extension of movement.....the voice.
Meryl's vocal journey began at 51 in January of 2002 working with vocal coach Randy Michaels and continued on with Marguerite Jueneman, jazz vocalist and coach (Rare Silk). By January of 2003 Meryl embarked on an intensive course of study and training with Casey Collins, vocalist and coach; Erik Deutsch, music coach and jazz pianist, composer, arranger and producer; and Bill Kopper, jazz guitarist, coach, composer, arranger and producer. It was like stepping onto a musical express train, one I'd always longed to board. Meryl also studied with Mark Miller, jazz musician, composer and educator (Naropa Institute); Sheila Jordan, jazz vocalist; and Jay Clayton, jazz vocalist; and attended workshops with Art Lande, internationally renowned jazz pianist/drummer and composer; Inga Swearingen, and Kate McGarry.
Finally, Meryl had the opportunity to make heard the sounds she'd been singing softly to herself throughout her life. The result is this year's So Sure.
Looking back, Meryl recalls, I remember listening, along with my dad after a long day of work, to Gershwin and Rachmaninoff LP's; Ella Fitzgerald on the radio; Lena Horne and Sarah Vaughan on television; Nina Simon; and the exotic sounds of Pharoah Sanders on his LP, Karma. Later on, in 2003, when I heard the jazz standard, Blues in the Night, aka My Momma Don Tol' Me, I felt as if I were home.
The original sounds of jazz in the Brooklyn of Meryl's youth had re-entered her life, fully realized, ready for her to transform them with her voice.
These days Meryl lives outside Boulder, Colorado with her executive producer husband, Sheldon, having performed in local clubs and jazz venues with Erik Deutsch, Bill Kopper, Eduardo Bijoux Barbosa, Jon Gray, Dave Devine, Joe Diamo, Emily Takahashi, Michael Maisonpierre, Tim Carmichael, Ken Bernstein, Paul Smiddy, Jim Castrone, Bob Schlessinger, Eric Thorin, Carmen Sandim, Amy Shelley, and Eric Wiggs.
Each of the cover songs on So Sure tells a story close to Meryl's heart. Bill Kopper soulfully and creatively arranged Big Spender and Lady is a Tramp, songs which champion strong women who know what they want and persevere to get it. Bill added the groove to Solomon Sang, which Meryl chose as a tribute to her dad, Samuel Sack, who passed away in 1969. But Beautiful describes the prisms through which we experience love and leaves us feeling like we've had a private conversation, strummed through Bill's guitar strings. Close Your Eyes is a swinging invitation to the fantasy of dance and romance. This Is Always, elegantly arranged by Erik Deutsch, is Meryl's tribute to Betty Carter's version of this jazz standard. Boulevard of Broken Dreams takes us to an old quarter of Europe, desperately dancing along to the tune of tragic but committed love. Bluesette is a roller coaster ride wrapped up in a lovely jazz waltz. Deutsch's soulfully arranged entrance and solo work evoke John Coltrane, a favorite of Meryl's.
Bob Dylan's You're A Big Boy (Girl) Now, introduces the theme of commitment to working on relationships. Dylan's music has inspired and trailed Meryl throughout her life. She says, Erik and I began working on this tune several years ago and we both really loved it from the start.
Meryl's original songs were penned for her by songwriter/producer, Casey Collins and composer, Eric Moon. As a trilogy, they chronicle the heartfelt path she has traveled in realizing her dream. These originals, I've Waited Long Enough, Right on Time, and So Sure were lovingly created to tell the story of her journey towards and into this music, from her childhood longing to sing through embracing and realizing that vision, then coming to completion with Meryl's tribute to her enduring love for her husband.
Meryl's collaborators on So Sure form a who's who of some of the most talented musicians working today. Erik Deutsch is the bandleader, pianist and arranger, (Charlie Hunter Trio, Erik Deutsch Band, Erin McKeown Band, Ron Miles Band, County Road X); Bill Kopper played guitar and did arrangements (Billy Tolles Band, Bob Montgomery Quartet, Brazilian Jazz Project, Ginga Band); Jonti Siman on acoustic bass (Erik Deutsch Band); Marc Dalio drums (Erik Deutsch Sextet, Erin McKeown Band); special guest appearance by Robert Kyle on tenor sax and flute (Robert is also an arranger, composer and producer who has several of his own bands. He tours internationally and has performed on the Academy Awards and the Emmies); special guest appearance on Track 1 by Brian McRae on drums (GoGo Lab, www.drumoverdubs.com and more).
This inspired band and their pulsing, modern arrangements help bring Meryl's warm sensuality, tenderness of heart and honest interpretations to full fruition in So Sure
The feelings these songs elicit from me conjure shapes and sounds that tell stories that resonate with my own. Songs are like trying on tailored dresses. Some are like jeweled gowns. Some tell my story and others allow me to embody imagined, dreamt of characters. -Meryl
Web Design: 2 Worlds Interactive© 2008 Meryl Romer
This Lady swings, Tramp swings, love Close Your Eyes...Bluesette, great version of classic Toots...just love the album. Toney Soley, Apple AM, Devon, England
Jazz vocalist Meryl Romer comes alight with a Billy Holiday radiance and a Dinah Washington caressive vocalese on her first recorded outing So Sure from the Lady Pearl Music label. Smooth romantic currents are slate with soul jazz lacing in these tracks. The album consists of three original pieces penned by Romer's writer and producer Casey Collins and composer Eric Moon, in addition to nine standards. Romer handles the vocal melodies with finesse making these songs come to life. Whether she sings them in a cafe setting, a concert hall or the privacy of a bedroom, they resonate with soul wrapped snugly in her sultry voicing. She sings these tunes as if they came out of her own autobiography, shading them with exquisite nuances and memorable moments of insight into the emotions behind the words....Romer's songs exude a deep sense of pride and heart for jazz music. The song selection for So Sure showcases Romer's vast palette to utter perfection. Her vocal style brings out these song's beauty and listening pleasure. Let's face it, Meryl Romer could sing MC Hammer's Can't Touch This and make it sound lacy and frilly and absolutely exquisite. She has that kind of touch. She is one of a kind. Susan Frances, Jazzreview.com Read more: http://www.jazzreview.com/cd/review-20303.html
THANK YOU...WE LOVE MERYL This is one of the best CD's we've got our hands on! We got an immediate response from our listeners and very positive reviews from our Core Jazz listeners. We're already looking forward to her next album...good stuff! Darrin Scott Kibbey, Gen.Mgr. & Host of The Morning Wake-Up Call, WVCR FM, Loudonville, New York
Listening to and loving Meryl at this moment! Allen Gale..Boppin' in the Big Easy with Big Al WTUL New Orleans 91.5 FM
I received Meryl Romer's CD yesterday...I'm thrilled to receive this wonderful recording..There are five tunes I have not heard before, and I've been around the music scene for over fifty years. Dick Hughes, Community Radio Broadcaster Jazz Action Productions Ryde, Australia
Lady Is A Tramp, arranged by Bill Kopper in a relevant and surprising new version...Singer Meryl Romer is a new and beautiful find in this cycle dedicated to The Mambo Kings and The Jazz Queens, her reigning won't be just for these radiophonic sessions, but will last forever. Toni Basanta, Radio Producer/Programmer WRUV 90.1FM Burlington, Vermont