"Possessed of a range as wide as her clear soprano is lovely... Latz sways irresistibly with Brazilian gems like “É Luxo Só”..."
— Andrew Vélez, NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD http://www.nycjazzrecord.com Page 21
“...indulge yourself with this fresh jazz voice. As far as I know, jazz centers on improvisation and interpretation while delving into a palette of vibrant emotions. And if that’s the case, Ms Latz is spot on.”
— Patricia Herlevi, THE WHOLE MUSIC EXPERIENCE http://wholemusicexp.blogspot.com
Featuring Jon Davis, piano; John Hart, guitars; Ray Parker, bass; Willard Dyson, drums; and special guests Peter Apfelbaum, tenor & sop. sax, flutes, and percussion and Abdoulaye Diabate, voice on Latz' original “She Was.”
From the opening selection, Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” with an acid jazz feel, to Latz‘ offbeat and eccentric title track “Fig Tree,” to a beautiful and haunting piano duet on Mercer and Mancini’s, “Moon River,” Deborah Latz‘ third CD, Fig Tree, is a breakout performance, proving her artistic mastery as vocalist, songwriter and arranger. The CD will be released on the June Moon Productions (JMP) label on May 7, 2013.
Latz’ recording career began in 2004 with her debut CD, Toward Love featuring Jimmy Wormworth, which earned immediate praise: “Her voice rings with a fetching richness…I’m Bewitched.” (Dan McClenaghan, AllAboutJazz.com) “...one of the BEST new voices I’ve heard in a LONG time....” (Jan Jenson, Jazz Now).
Her 2008 sophomore release Lifeline featuring Joel Frahm, received even wider critical acclaim: “‘I Didn’t Know’ hits glory strides à lá Carla White.” (Fred Bouchard, DownBeat). “I hadn’t heard this lady until I played ‘Lifeline,’ but I’m now an ardent fan.” (Steve Emerine, Arizona Daily Star). “...a sensibility that incites a lyric with her innate dramatic instincts...” (Alan Bargebuhr, Cadence). “Latz knows how to deliver the songs with a different slant... jazz vocal fans have a new star to celebrate.” (Chris Spector, Midwest Record).
Latz comes to jazz after an award-winning career in dramatic and musical theater, where she garnered a Best Actress Award at the Jerzy Grotowski Theatre Festival in Poland for her one-woman performance of Juliet, and recorded the original song, “I'm Neurotic Over You” for the off-Broadway comedy, High Infidelity starring John Davidson and Morgan Fairchild. Latz received rave reviews in New York and Europe for Travels With Ma Own Self, the one-woman musical that she wrote, produced and performed. She studied theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, and in New York City with Richard Edelman best known for his work with the Living Theater and the Neighborhood Playhouse.
With a creative take on both the Great American Songbook and contemporary jazz, Latz has recorded dynamic and unpredictable interpretations of standards on Fig Tree, and her original pieces are, indeed, worthy of becoming new standards.
On “Blue Skies” Latz shows her funk chops, and allows the lyrics to breath, while offering some signature scatting. John Hart sets up hip, clean guitar lines, while Ray Parker and Willard Dyson hold down the rhythm on bass and drums. Latz’ original and title track, “Fig Tree” weaves a fantastical tale combining offbeat syllables and unexpected sounds with a swinging bass and drums. Latz’ whimsical lyrics surprise and delight, and the solos alternate in and out of time with Latz, Davis and Hart clearly digging in and having a ball. “You Are” another Latz original, opens with the prodigious Peter Apfelbaum on tenor sax. Apfelbaum lays the groundwork for this indelible love poem told with Latz’ fresh and poignant delivery intertwining with the tenor sax, while Willard Dyson’s sparse percussion lends an otherworldly take. And on the breathtakingly beautiful duet, “Moon River,” Jon Davis is a genius as he caresses the keys, while Latz answers with a devastatingly heartfelt delivery.
Fig Tree is richly shaped and supported by veteran jazz artists Jon Davis on piano, John Hart on guitars, Ray Parker on bass, Willard Dyson on drums, and special guests Peter Apfelbaum on saxes, flutes, percussion and Abdoulaye Diabate, guest voice on Latz’ original “She Was.” Collectively these jazz veterans have played and recorded with Sonny Fortune, Stan Getz, James Moody, Maria Schneider, Randy Brecker, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Cobb, Regina Belle, Michael Franks, Rosa Passos, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Scott, Don Byron, Jaco Pastorious, and Omar Sosa, among many others.
Latz most recently played at CD Blues Cafe in Beijing, China and was invited to sing in duo with Beijing’s celebrated jazz pianist, Liang Heping. In Paris, she has played with Alain Jean-Marie, France’s jazz piano luminary, at Café Universel, Le Neuf Jazz Club, Sept Lézards and Atelier de la Main d’Or and will continue her collaboration with Jean-Marie in September 2013. On her 2011 West Coast tour she headlined in Seattle, Portland and Eureka, CA and in 2010 she played to packed houses in Kansas City at Jardine’s Jazz Club.