Quirky, arty, eclectic and ready to perform, pop-jazz chanteuse Andrea Superstein is the Salmon Arm Jazz Cub’s guest Thursday, Oct. 1.
Superstein is on tour to launch her sophomore album, What Goes On, produced by Les Cooper, a multiple award winning producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Toronto.
The ambitious production draws on Superstein’s background in musical theatre, her training as a jazz vocalist, and her love of ’90s “trip hop” acts like Portishead and Morcheeba – and it pulls them all together into a wonderfully playful and cohesive musical package.
Known to her contemporaries as “Super,” Superstein is influenced by the music scenes of both the east and west coasts.
A graduate of McGill University, Superstein first honed her skills as a singer-songwriter in local coffee houses during her time there.
A new mother, this is Superstein’s first time playing since last September and she says she is very much looking forward to her Salmon Arm performance.
“I played here three years ago in 2012, in a church, and just had such a great time,” she says. “There was such a warm and wonderful response that I thought I have to get in touch again and see if we can make it work for the tour.”
Superstein says that having travelled across the country on tour, she has discovered a lot of amazing things happening in smaller towns.
“It’s amazing to discover all these little pockets of music and music lovers,” she says. “It’s community driven and it makes me feel very welcome. That’s what I like, to connect with community; music is the thing but the connection is important.”
The talented singer worked in musical theatre when she was younger and was a singer-songwriter in university. A move to Vancouver and working with jazz vocalists piqued Superstein’s curiosity about jazz and took her to a summer Swing Camp at Sorrento Centre.
“I met all of Vancouver’s heavy hitters while in camp and I liked the freedom of being able to reinterpret songs, make things new and experiment,” she says, noting she spent the next year just learning songs. “It lit a fire in me again. I just kind of went for it and took chances.”
Superstein says she was surprised and elated that her first application to perform in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2010 was accepted and earned her a Galaxie Award nomination for emerging talent.
“They gave me a gig and it was the encouragement I needed to get going,” she says. “I met people, got inspired and kept rolling.”
Superstein says it took some time to make What Goes On but is really happy with what she calls a genre-bending album. It has jazz at the core but includes elements of hip-hop and indie, incorporating a lot of the music she loves.
It is a love that shines through this warm, wonderful, sometimes sultry and often quirky album.
The diverse repertoire on What Goes On includes a super sexy version of Bananarama’s Venus, a heavily Portissed-up rendition of Radiohead’s Karma Police, a sultry original about Superstein’s awkward first date with her now-husband (Just One Time) – featuring a chorus sung by the Juno-winning Good Lovelies – and a wistful rendition of I Love Paris, marked by gauzy accordion and moody bass.
Salmon Arm musician Jim Johnston says the Jazz Club has grown considerably since Jacob Verburg and Leon Power started it in the art gallery some six years ago.
“Where it really took off was when Sandy Cameron took it under his wing,” says Johnston, noting Cameron moved to Vancouver Island two years ago. “He said ‘look after this thing’ and Jordan Dick has largely taken over the real hard work and is doing a great job.”
Johnston says the nightclub atmosphere at Shuswap Chefs suits the Jazz Club very well.
Jazz Club performances take place at on the second and fourth Thursday night of the month and admission is a suggested donation of at least $10.
“The mandate is to provide a place for musicians to play and they make a respectable amount of money for their effort,” he says. “It treats them with dignity, respect for their art and lets them perform to an appreciative audience; their efforts are rewarded artistically and financially.”