Suzanna Smith with the Ken Husbands Organ Trio
Vocalist, Suzanna Smith, and guitarist, Ken Husbands, have been making music together for almost a decade. Performing together as a duo, in small combo settings and contributing to each other's recordings, they have developed a poignant yet playful musical dialogue. This project celebrates that connection with a new (old) twist: the organ trio. From the classic pairing of Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery to more modern iterations such as John Medeski and John Scofield, the blend of amplified guitar and organ has proved fertile ground for groove-based jazz improvisations. Add a hard driving drummer to that combination and a vocalist is propelled with the force of a much larger ensemble, while retaining the flexibility and intimacy inherent to a trio. Joining Ken and Suzanna on this date are one of the rising stars of the Bay Area scene, Ian McArdle on organ, and one of the brightest stars, the impeccable Deszon Claiborne on drums.
Ken Husbands soaked up music from a young age in his native Boston, Massachusetts, studying jazz guitar with Berklee faculty and working in a range of styles from classical to disco. Several years in Paris, France helped hone his jazz chops and introduced him to various world music traditions. For the past decade, he has called Oakland home, and has performed steadily, working with some of the Bay Area's finest musicians and producing three CDs of original music reflecting his diverse inspirations.
Bringing classic jazz standards to life with a golden tone, innate sense of swing, and irresistible charm, the San Francisco Examiner calls Suzanna Smith a jazz singer with sass and style to spare. Suzanna has been featured several times on KCSM's 'In The Moment' and is a creative force behind The Sound Room. In 2013, she released her debut recording, Halfway Between Heaven And Love, to critical acclaim on her label Ink Pen Records. The album showcases sage treatments of standards and a talent for crafting successful original compositions. Suzanna also leads The Peggy Lee Project, born out of admiration for Peggy Lee as an extremely prolific composer. Timeless influences include Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Helen Merrill and Shirley Horn and contemporary influences include friends and mentors Karrin Allyson, Kitty Margolis and Kenny Washington.
Equally at home on piano and organ, Ian McArdle, has received the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Deans Scholarship and awards from the Campana Jazz Festival, CSU East Bay Jazz Festival and the Sacramento State University Winter Jazz Festival. He has performed at Yoshis, Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as jazz venues in Italy, France and China.
Deszon Claiborne has been a Bay Area treasure since he started playing the drums. He has performed and recorded with a list of internationally known artists that is too long to list here. Were we to start alphabetically: Alex Acuna, Peter Apfelbaum, Charles Brown, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Bo Diddley, Kai Eckhardt, Dave Ellis, Robin Ford... He brings an inimitable presence to music from a wide range of genres that keeps him one of the busiest musicians around and a favorite of both musicians and audiences.
The Sound Room (View)
Oakland, CA 94612