Born: July 1, 1953 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Jazz singer Kurt Reichenbach is the son of Bossa Nova pioneering drummer Bill Reichenbach Sr. (Tommy Dorsey, Art Mooney, Charlie Byrd), and brother of internationally renowned trombonist Bill Reichenbach (Buddy Rich, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Quincy Jones).
His intimate, mellow vocal delivery (which has drawn comparisons to such jazz legends as Chet Baker, Mel Torme, and Bobby Darin), and sly interpretations of the Great American Songbook, have combined to earn Reichenbach recognition as a formidable talent by critics and musicians alike.
Rex Reed calls Reichenbach “...a dazzling new singer.... Words fail to adequately describe the thrill of hearing someone with this much talent and class.”
Of Kurt’s Debut CD, The Night Was Blue, Jazz critic Christopher Loudon says, “…one of the most dynamic vocal debuts of the past decade. When a truly impressive new guy joins [the] ranks, it’s definitely something to celebrate. Such a fellow--one who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli and Curtis Stigers--is Kurt Reichenbach. Kurt’s got the chops…. Spread the word.”
As the son of a working jazz drummer from Washington, D.C., Kurt’s formative years were spent backstage in such famed area clubs as “The Lotus,” “The Showboat,” “The Cellar Door,” (formerly “The Shadows”) “The Byrd’s Nest,” and “The King of France Tavern.” He was fortunate enough to experience “up close” the rehearsals and performances of such singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Carol Sloane, Joao Gilberto, and Mose Allison.
When Kurt’s dad returned from South America with a few Joao Gilberto albums, Kurt commandeered them, listening to them over and over, until he knew all the lyrics in Portuguese. He was five years old. (One thing he still remembers--in Brazil, ducks say “quen, quen.”) Kurt’s love of jazz and big band music became evident by his growing record collection. While his friends were collecting Elvis, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, Kurt’s collection consisted of Ellington, Basie, Sinatra, Gilberto, Herman, Miller (Glen, not Mrs.), the Dorsey’s--thousands of LPs and hard to find 78s. While he dabbled in playing, taking short (very short) lived lessons on trumpet, trombone, tuba, and double-belled euphonium--when people asked him what he played, he would respond, “the phonograph.” But what he loved to do was sing. He would spend hours in his father’s teaching studio, singing along with his beloved records. By the time Kurt entered high school, he was discovering his other talents including art, photography, and comedy.
Moving to L.A. in 1989 he has directed his efforts to singing, acting, writing, and comedy. On the acting front, Kurt made three appearances on L.A. Law, starred in a couple of “pilot” television projects and the play, LaBrea Tarpits. Kurt is also a producer for the annual SATURN Awards show and is an instructor at the Screen Actors Guild Conservatory. While Kurt has spent much of his life in advertising and illustration, his first love has always been performing.
2009 saw the Japanese SSJ Records release of “With A Song In My Heart: Kurt Reichenbach Live at the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill,” earning Jazz Journal’s coveted 5 star rating and describing the CD as “truly first class,” and on the 2,000+ member jazz/pop group “Songbirds,” Carroll Moulton writes, “...it is a gem! With his dashing boy next door good looks, Kurt brims with a grace, style and ease... You just can’t help but like this guy.”
Kurt can be found performing regularly in Los Angeles at Vibrato, Spazio, Upstairs at Vitello’s, and Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill. He recently returned from NYC where he headlined along with Polly Bergen, Lucie Arnaz, Linda Purl, and Tom Wopat in Rex Reed’s sold out production of “The Man That Got Away: Ira After George,” part of the Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y. Stephen Holden, music critic for the New York Times, described Reichenbach as “... a jazz singer out of the Mel Torme-Billy Stritch school of polished pop-jazz crooning...”
While in New York, Kurt made his Metropolitan Room debut to audiences made up of a who’s who of New York’s jazz elite. “... a natural swinger who understands lyrics, is blessed with a smooth baritone voice, and has the musical sensitivity to find approaches to each song that make his versions of even the most frequently performed standards sound fresh...” reported Joe Lang in Jersey Jazz magazine.
Immediately after his perfomances at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club on November 9, 2010, Kurt reprised his performance in Rex Reed’s Ira Gershwin show, kicking off its nationwide tour in Dallas, Texas to record crowds. In 2011 he will travel to Japan to perform in Tokyo and to Washington, D.C. to record his third CD, a tribute to the chart-topping Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd bossa nova album, Jazz Samba.
--Rex Reed, The New York Observer
“... a jazz singer out of the Mel Torme-Billy Stritch school of polished pop-jazz crooning...”
--Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“... a natural swinger who understands lyrics, is blessed with a smooth baritone voice, and has the musical sensitivity to find approaches to each song that make his versions of even the most frequently performed standards sound fresh...”
--Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz
“…one of the most dynamic vocal debuts of the past decade. Kurt’s got the chops…. Spread the word.”
--Christopher Loudon, Jazz columnist
“... He loves the classic tunes and adds a reverence to all he sings... Kurt Reichenbach is not a big belter... His voice and style are far more personal... He is an ‘emotional’ singer who has a lot to offer his audience...”
--Myrna Daniels, L.A. Jazz Scene
“…his lively presentation reminds us of Bobby Darin… a real discovery!”
--Keizo Takada, Record Collectors’ Magazine (Japan)
With a Song in My Heart-Recorded live at Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill (SSJ Records, 2009)
Tracks: With a Song in My Heart; Speak Low. All the Things You Are; Bittersweet; Endlessly; I'm All Smiles; I Thought About You; Blame It on My Youth (Pinky Winters); Something in Your Smile; Come Dance With Me; White Guy Blues; I Remember You; When October Goes; Flexible; Someone to Watch Over Me-Bonus track.
Personnel: Special guest-Pinky Winters; Gerry Schroeder: piano; Tom Warrington: bass; Ralph Penland: drums; Bill Reichenbach: bass trumpet; Julie Sussman Perez: alto saxophone; Jeff Colella: piano.
The Night Was Blue (Bungalo Records, 2003)
Tracks: Come Dance With Me; My Foolish Heart; I Remember You; Something In Your Smile; I Like You; It Amazes Me; Sleight Of Heart; Like A Lover; Flexible; For All We Know; Some Other Spring; Waters Of March; When October Goes.
Personnel: Gary Grant: trumpet; Biff Hannon: piano; Dan Higgins: alto saxophone; Larry Koonse: guitar; Mike Lang: piano; Don Menza: tenor saxophone; Bill Reichenbach, Sr.: drums; Bill Reichenbach: bass trombone; Carl Saunders: trumpet; Tom Warrington: bass; Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone.
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact email@example.com. Thank you.