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Bettina Pohle

Born: October 15    Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Bettina Pohle

Bettina Pohle has been singing all her life. Born in Berlin, she started taking piano lessons at age 6, later adding flute and voice to her music education. She sang with the Berliner Konzertchor for years, before leaving for the United States in 1986, where she studied literature and voice at the University of Georgia, placing 2nd at the classical student competition NATS the same year, and concentrating on oratory performances as a soprano soloist.

After moving to California, she continued her studies in literature, graduating with a Ph.D. in from UC Berkeley, California in 1994. While studying, Bettina continued to sing in classical and contemporary music ensembles, among them Anthony Pasqua's Perfect Fifth Chamber Choir and Robert Geary's The San Francisco Chamber Singers . Eventually she switched to vocal jazz, when - after working with pianist Ellen Hoffmann and participating in a workshop with Mark Murphy - she joined Bill Ganz’s UC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, with whom she also went on tour to Hawaii. She was given the University of California Chorale Ensembles': Award for Greatest Musical Achievement, 1993-1994 . Due to her vocal qualities, Bettina also worked in the Bay Area as a sought-after voice-over artist for many years. From 1995-1997, Bettina was employed as Asst. Prof. in the Humanities at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, California....
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Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio Just [b] Sensual and technically brilliant „I sing therefore I am“ is written on the cover of Bettina Pohle's latest CD, which appears to be a translation suggestion from a dictionary for the word „to be“. This is obviously the life motto of the versatile Berliner, who lived in the US for an extended period of time. Initially out and about in classical music, Pohle switched to jazz during her time in the US; and - to put it in Berliners' terms - that's a good thing, too, because Pohle's expressive voice, full of character, is virtually predestined for jazz. With Just [b], Bettina Pohle is presenting her second album, this time accompanied by the Ralf Ruh Trio with Ralf Ruh at the piano, Lars Gühlcke on the bass and Peter Horisberger on drums. Along with the interpretations of jazz classics, the disc also contains an original composition by Ruh and Pohle. Unfortunately, there is no CD booklet with it. From the outset, the striking thing is Pohle's extraordinarily warm timbre: expressive, strong and still transparent, such as in „The Man I Love“ by George and Ira Gershwin, which brings out her vocal timbre wonderfully especially in her low range. Likewise in Eden Ahbez' „Nature Boy“, which in this interpretation is interspersed with Latin sounds, which are particularly skillfully mastered by the pianist. This song interpretation, too, is characterized by Pohle's expressiveness. However, sensuality and warm timbre must not let one forget that Pohle is also technically very versed; with flexible agogics in the individual phrases she pointedly ramps up the expression. In „Angel Eyes“, a jazz standard from the 1940s, written by Matt Dennis and Earl Brent, Pohle shows that her voice can also groove. This is a title one can hardly sing as written, not exact singing but expression is what is demanded here. Pohle answers to this demand skillfully by using her voice nimbly and playfully, accompanied gingerly by The Ralf Ruh Trio. The real surprise on this CD is „Beneath the Midnight Moon“ a gorgeous song, composed by Ralf Ruh with lyrics by Bettina Pohle. Not only does Pohle's voice come into effect particularly well in it; the song is written with great skill and quality that rival international jazz standards without effort. The Ralf Ruh Trio accompanies perceptively and gently. Good timing, rhythmic secureness and mutual close listening inform the overall music playing of Pohle and the Ralf Ruh Trio on this CD. Hopefully we will hear more from Bettina Pohle, preferably again with the Ralf Ruh Trio. Perhaps the label then decides to print a real CD booklet with all the bells and whistles. This music deserves it. Susanne Westerholt, OMM (Online Musik Magazin) http://www.omm.de/cds/jazz/bettina-pohle-just-b.html

timeless Jazz music Music Jazz: With Just [b] Bettina Pohle presents her 2 nd album, accompanied this time by the Ralf Ruh Trio From: GFDK - Bettina Pohle Just [b] 13 songs: ballads, up-tempo swing, blues to latin, standards and an original, elegant vocal jazz, “old-fashioned” in the sense of old school. Not effect or passing fads guide Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio's interpretation, but instead their deep appreciation of the beauty of the original music and lyrics, or as the press put it: /.../it shows their devotion to jazz - and to story-telling.” (SRS Swiss Radio & TV/Apéro). Singing standards or writing jazz in standard fashion in times where mainly the “newest” and most “different” jazz musicians/music seem to promise success, is a little bit like swimming against the tide, but one has to agree with the American jazz connoisseur David Friedlaender, who recently wrote: ”The beauty of singing a standard is that it is not just about you, a standard is a piece of music that is shared cultural “artifact”. When you sing it you are joining in, personally contributing your expression to the music culture in a way that can join people together. You are saying I know that “Moonlight in Vermont” feeling and this is how I feel it. I think this maybe why people love to hear so many people's versions of standards.” Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio – their versions of timeless jazz classics is music that gets under your skin, stays in your head, touches your heart and makes you hungry for more. http://www.freundederkuenste.de/empfehlung/musik-jazz-und-klassik/reingehoert/musik-jazz-mit-just-b-praesentiert-bettina-pohle-ihr-zweites-album-diesmal-begleitet-vom-ralf-ruh-trio.html

Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio Just[b]

Octason Records, 2012 - OSR 21201 When first listening, and without reading the thin booklet or even rummaging about in the internet, one immerses into a past long gone, a past that got freshend-up. An American sounding voice, accompanied by a jazz-piano-trio; together they revere sixteen timeless jazz virtuosi. And then suddenly one notices that all of this is coming from the cultural capital (and not only) of the old Europe: Berlin. Bettina Pohle is German and has always been singing. Her life moves between the German music business and California, where she doesn't just sing but also leads a life in academic research and teaching. We owe three solo records to her already and two more with pianist Ralf Ruh, among them „Just [b]“. Pohle knows where she wants to go, and she states it clearly with her extraordinarily strong voice - which is raspy one moment and jet black the next, and then again crystal clear and bright - taking it back to her hometown Berlin. She sings in perfect accordance with the rhythm and never disappoints Ruh's expectations, this exquisite pianist who makes suspenseful plots sound relevant and sober. Bettina Pohle adopts the harmonic fabric of „The man I love“ without immitating any past diva; or „Don't get around much anymore“, a bewitching and in it's composition dazzlingly beautiful song. A spotless album, with which the singer lets us plunge into days gone by with a voice that projects into the future. Alceste Ayroldi für Jazzitalia http://www.jazzitalia.net/recensioni/justb.asp#.UPGf5vLhfTr

Standards for the Blue Hour Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio - “just [b]” by Frank Becker S ometimes soft, occasionally brittle, even dramatic, narrative, then again gravelly – the likeable Berliner Bettina Pohle interprets a dozen standards of the American songbook on her latest album „Just [b]“, adding the extra from her own music kitchen: „Beneath the Midnight Moon“ - a title she co-wrote with her pianist Ralf Ruh – and which can stand comparison easily. The well-travelled artist's biography shows work done with renowned colleagues such as Esther Kaiser, Jörg Seidel, Celine Rudolph and Nicolai Thärichen. The traces can be found in the songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Duke Ellington, Oscar Levant or George Gershwin, all of which she slips over her own (fitting) dress. It is not least due to the unostentatious classic trio accompaniment of the Ralf Ruh Trio that this album has turned out to be an album for the cocktail hour, the Blue Hour. The swinging piano, full of character, played by Ralf Ruh – every so often in the style of Oscar Petersen - , Peter Horisberger's almost „invisible“ drums and especially the gentle voice of the double bass, made to talk by Lars Gühlcke, provide Bettina Pohle with the foundation that guarantees for a delightful short hour, sometimes dreamy like in „Angel Eyes“, or prancing in Latin-American style like in Eden Ahbez's „Nature Boy“. A well-rounded affair. Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio - just [b] Bettina Pohle, voc - Ralf Ruh, piano - Lars Gühlcke, bass - Peter Horisberger, drums © 2012 Octason Records You And The Night And The Music 2:46 - 2. Blame It On My Youth 4:34 - 3. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)? 4:25 - 4. The Man I Love 4:50 - 5. Big Spender 1:59 - 6. Come Rain Or Come Shine 4:41 - 7. Nature Boy 5:55 - 8. Don't Get Around Much Anymore 3:43 - 9. Beneath the Midnight Moon (Ruh/Pohle) 4:41 - 10. Angel Eyes 5:03 - 11. Teach Me Tonight 4:04 - 12. God Bless The Child 5:31 - 13. ByeBye Blackbird 4:13 - Gesamtspielzeit: 56:24 http://musenblaetter.de/artikel.php?aid=10882&neu=1

BETTINA POHLE & RALF RUH TRIO Just [b] Octason Records @@@@@ Time after time a vocal jazz record is a beautiful thing! Already with her first recording with the Ralf Ruh piano trio, Berlin based singer Bettina Pohle caught my positive attention. Now her second album „Just [b]“ is out, and its elegance and charm best unfolds in the hours of dusk. It is simply fun to listen to Bettina's slightly dark and velvet voice, be it in the snappy opener „You And The Night And The Music“, in the lascivious „Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)?“, or in the marvelous „Big Spender“ from the Musical „Sweet Charity“, accentuated by a smacking contrabass. Recommended! Rainer Guérich, chief editor inMusic

Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio ”Just (b)” Already with her previous CD „Time and Again“, Berlin jazz singer Bettina Pohle had shown that she is rightly deemed to be a sensitive and creative performer of jazz standards. With her current album she once again confirms this appraisal and again she has with the congenial Ralf Ruh a reliable partner at her side. Completed with bass player Lars Gühlcke and drummer Peter Horisberger, Bettina Pohle has engaged a sensitively acting trio, which interprets the breezily arranged standards wonderfully. In this vein the classic „Big Spender“, for example, receives a completely new livery, away from heavy chords and driving rhythms – terrific! But also „Come Rain or Come Shine“ or „Angel Eyes“ - both standards heard a million times – appear here in a new light: Cool and intimate at once. And this might be what Bettina Pohle had in mind with her CD, i.e. to show what the basic essence of these standards is, what they are like by their nature - „just be“ as program. She and her trio accomplished this well! CD, 2012, 13 Tracks, Label: Octason Records Marion Möhle, Melodiva http://www.melodiva.de/melodiva/melodiva-cd-reviews.php?t114=detail,22721

Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio: Just [b] A singer previously unknown to me is being accompanied by a classic jazz trio. The CD's program is diverse, besides jazz standards the four artists offer musical tunes, rhythm&blues songs and pop songs like „Nature Boy“ and Bye Bye Blackbird“ (which have long been part of the jazz repertoire), and with „Beneath the Midnight Moon“ even an original number. The quartet does justice to all of them. The singer is excellent and the trio outstanding. And that is not to be taken for granted. Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and many others have set the bar high, Bettina Pohle is up to par - with best instrumental support. In recent years numerous Northern European and Northern American female vocalists have been highly praised and promoted accordingly by the record labels. Often rightfully so. However, domestic artists can keep up, which this CD proves. It is suited both for careful listening and for having it play in the background. Herbert Huber http://www.gavagai.de/musik/jazz/HHMJ09.htm

Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio – Just [b] „Great drama“ is the thought that comes to mind when the first sounds of Bettina Pohle & Ralf Ruh Trio's album reach one's ear. An endless drum role and piano playing that demands cutting up a mean floor. One wants to book the four musicians right away for an evening gala performance. They deliver jazzy music, which is a bit serious and very entertaining at the same time. She stands leaning against a tree, Bettina Pohle – in a glamorous red evening gown and a black leather jacket. This contradiction on the album cover already reflects what we are up for: The contradiction in the music. „Just [b]“ starts fiercly and ostentatiously with „You and the Night and the Music“, immediately followed by „Blame it on my Youth“, a first jazz ballad followed by many more. Bettina Pohle's singing is sassy, confident and sophisticated. And every time one wants to lean back and relax, the music starts to seethe again. Ralf Ruh and his two band colleagues accompany the jazz vocalist's singing worthily. With Ralf Ruh at the piano, Lars Gühlcke at the bass and Peter Horisberger at the drums she found three of Berlin's best jazz musicians. They provide for the kind of accompaniment which highlights a good voice on stage. And so here, too, we find contradiction to be the recurrent theme of the album: Bettina's down-to-earth singing on one hand juxtaposed by the instrument's (especially the piano's) snazzy accompaniment on the other hand. Big Spender“, originally written by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields for the musical „Sweet Charity“ is being presented here in a new and very soft manner. Also „Nature Boy“, a popsong originally and then mostly rendered as a jazzhymn, finds a fitting place on the album and sounds out of Bettina Pohle's mouth like it was made for her. The collaboration with the Swiss jazz pianist, drummer and composer Ralf Ruh is thoroughly successful. It becomes clear: Skills and passion complement each other here. And for all who are wondering what the highlighted „b“ in brackets stands for, or the grammatical explanations of the verb: Well, imagination knows no limits. Maybe we experience through the music what happens when one is simply pursuing what one stands for. And so we think [b] does not „only“ signify Bettina and her musical pals, it also wants to express that one should simply be the way one is, to not worry about it, and to JUST BE. Star rating: 8 of 10 stars Sabine Werner http://www.cd-bewertungen.de/reviews/jazz/kritik-just-b-von-bettina-pohle-ralf-ruh-trio/

Just [b] – A Stroke of Luck within the German Vocal Jazz Scene When Bettina Pohle returned to her native Berlin after twelve years in the U.S., the city was given a truly „Sophisticated Lady“. No, this famous Duke Ellington composition is not on her latest CD but everything else which sophisticated stands for - cultivated, advanced, subtle, challenging, differentiated, elegant – can be found in Bettina Pohle's singing, both in ballads and in up-tempo songs. It seems as though everything the singer lived and learned, her experiences, the joys and suffering of her impressive artist biography has subtly flown into her interpretations of classic jazz tunes./.../ One of the vocal highlights on her new CD (besides „Blame it on my Youth“) is „Angel Eyes“. During the song's first one and a half minutes, the singer is accompanied very effectively only by a bass, and through this minimalist sound the striking timbre and sensitivity of her voice comes out particularly well. The listener is spell-bound by the great intensity of her performance, in which emotionality and detachement are always in balance. /.../ Nonstop „finger snapping“ distinguishes also „Bye bye Blackbird“. With an easy and cool drive and the best of timing, the singer swings beautifully in harmony with her accomplished trio. This true feast for the ears is provided by the splendid sound of the entire CD, and not least by the fantastic trio (piano: Ralf Ruh, Lars Gühlcke, bass, Peter Horisberger, drums). The musicians shine in their solos and accompany Bettina Pohle expressively and with dynamic strength. The Ralf Ruh Trio sets the jazzy accents for the intimate and authentic qualities of the singer, thus making it a perfect musical liaison. Bettina Pohle's jazz singing convinces less with pure dynamics than with her finely graded art of phrasing, with intelligent understatement, her knowledge of the lyrics and their communication, and through an emotional depth which her warm alto voice transports in a one of a kind way. Werner Matrisch, Köln http://www.wernermatrisch.de/rezensionen/kuenstler/bettina-pohle-ralf-ruh-trio.htm http://www.jazzie.net/category/jazz-rezensionen

BETTINA POHLE & RALF RUH TRIO “JUST [b]” VOCAL JAZZ For fans of: Caecilie Norby - Nikki Yanofsky - Hilary Cole Germany On the Cover of the CD, an attractive blond is leaning against a tree, in which the graphic artist scratched some explanations of the English verb „to be“, among them: „I sing, Therefore I am“ and „Home is where my Heart is“. Trying to classify the music, I am guessing classical music or jazz. Alright, let's put the disc in and see if I was right! Right from the first few measures of the album, the listener is struck by the superb sound. Drums and piano enter in – a short break – then the singer's voice comes in and bowls me over. Warmly and sonorously the singer's voice floats through the first great swing tune „You And The Night And The Music“ . The album „Just [b]“ was recorded by Berlin Jazz singer BETTINA POHLE and the RALF RUH TRIO. Tenderly the listener's soul gets stroked in „Blame It On My Youth“ - when bass player Lars Gühlcke and drummer Peter Horisberger slip into the song at 01:27, goosebump-feeling is inevitable – a wonderful „cocktail jazz“ ballad! „Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)“ ist finger snapping cool jazz – goes a bit in the direction of Nina Simone, relaxed the singer eases into the groove, Ralf Ruh shines with wonderful accord „voicings“. The quartet manages a successful feint with „The Man I Love“ - the composition starts out calmly and balladic, suddenly in minute 02:19 picks up a fast latin jazz pace, only to present itself from minute 04.07 on almost unnoticably as swinging walking blues. With „Big Spender“ the CD presents a song from the 1966 musical „Sweet Charity“ (one of the most famous renditions of the song is Shirley Bassey's version), and one of the album's highlights is „Nature Boy“ , a song in which drummer Horisberger subtly and sensitvely canters on the frame of his drum set. Music to dream by presents the wonderfully melancholic tune „Beneath the Midnight Moon“ (with romantic phrasing and enchanting piano playing by Ralf Ruh. And with a humorous „Bye Bye“ the 4 cheerful protagonists bid their fare-wells, after a grooving „Bye Bye Blackbird“ , 4 minutes long one of the most beautiful performances by the excellent singer. CONCLUSION: Traditonal and yet modern vocal jazz, unbound by the usual sales relevant demands. Great stuff for purists but also for newcomers of the genre. BETTINA POHLE from Berlin sings & whispers with a soft, dark & seductive voice like I haven't heard it in this genre for a long time. Just delicious! Recommended for listening: A delicate, dry & simultaneously fizzy pinot blanc cabinet wine from Franconia. Date of release 02/14/2012 available: CD & digitales Album buy recommendation: K K K K K K K K K K Bronek Kubal aka The Real Dr.Music, www.music-newsletter.de

Berlin based jazz singer Bettina Pohle has a rather impressive new album out with Octason Records. Her song selection on the album is excellent. The highlight of the album for me is her rendition of “Nature Boy”, in which she harmonizes with her talented rhythm section quite well. Another track worthy of recognition is “Is You or Is You Ain't My Baby”, which is done in the fashion of Diana Krall. The same is true of the album's jazz standard “The Man I Love”. Another excellent track from the album that is equally rich in jazz history is “Come Rain or Come Shine”, which Pohle handles with grace and elegance. One last jazz standard the aficionado should tune in for is “Angel Eyes”, which highlights both the distinguished character of the featured vocalist and her accompanying rhythm section. Dustin Garlitz, Editor www.JazzTalent.com

“Just [b]” A good album! Well done - both with regard to music and vocals. Wulf Müller, All in Music Service, Spain

BETTINA POHLE & RALF RUH Time and Again 7Jazz/NMD * * * * *

Friends of vocal jazz will be happy about this recording by the Berlin Singer Bettina Pohle and Swiss pianist Ralf Ruh. Both have been working together since 2008 and “Time and Again” is their first joint CD which they recorded in an intimate duo constellation. Bettina Pohle rises to top form at the mike with her dark velvet voice and is accompanied congenially on the black and white keys by Ralf Ruh. The CD's playlist does not only contain Cole Porter's “Love for Sale, but also Ike & Tina Turner's classic “Black Coffee” and the timeless “Cry me a River” which in its spartan soundscape comes out of the loudspeakers particularly tingling. Well done! (Rainer Guérich, Chefredakteur in Music; March/April 2011)

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Time and Again
7jazz (2011)

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