Excitement Surrounds Debut Album from Magnetic Staple of the Kansas City Jazz Scene.
Each tune in Love Me or Leave Me contains a completely different personality and perspective, much like meeting someone and getting their candid take on the whole complicated subject of love. “These songs are fresh imaginings of some of my favorite tunes”, Joanna says. “I love to play around with all the angles of a subject and what has more angles than romance?!
From the beginning, the focus for Love Me or Leave Me was to authentically capture the quartet’s organic stage collaboration in a studio setting. “We didn’t want the experience of live jazz with all it’s fascinating nuances and imperfections to get polished out in the recording process”, says Joanna.
The nine songs cover a wide array of time periods, moods and styles. A few are standards to any jazz fan, but a couple may catch you off guard. Even if you find yourself thinking “I’ve heard this one before”, you’ll quickly take back that thought after just a few bars of Leslie Maclean’s superb arrangements. “I wrote these arrangements specifically for this ensemble” says Leslie. “We deserve that and so does our audience.” Everything about the presentation of these tunes falls fresh on the ear.
The ease with which all four musicians blend their skills and strengths in Love Me or Leave Me makes its excellence accessible to both casual listeners and jazz connoisseurs alike. Joanna Berkebile (vocals), Jerry Pollock (drums), Leslie Maclean (piano) and Tim Brewer (bass) arrived at Cypher Sound Studios on a hot Saturday morning in June feeling confident and excited about how it would all come together. Looking back, Joanna pondered on how smoothly the session went. “One of the secrets of our success was the complete lack of ego in the entire creation process. We’re all professionals and respect ourselves, each other and our craft. We all just wanted it to be something we could be proud of together.”