Making her own music
From the April, 2016 issue
Many who have lived in Ann Arbor for a while still miss the downtown jazz clubs, the Bird of Paradise and the Firefly, as well as the Sunday afternoon sessions at the Del Rio. But recently there has been a small revival of jazz in the Main St. area, with performances in bars and restaurants, and one of its pillars is trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Ingrid Racine.
Raised in Ann Arbor and educated at the U-M music school, Racine has pursued a varied career, working regularly with Jim Dapogny's band that focuses on music of the 1920s and 1930s, touring all over the country with the wonderful Afrobeat NOMO orchestra, and also working with decidedly modern jazz bands in a variety of settings. Each Sunday she can be heard with her own quartet during brunch at the Gandy Dancer and then in the evening at the Ravens Club, backing vocalist Heather Black, playing standards and blues.
Now Racine has stepped out with her first CD as a bandleader, Concentric Circles, with guitarist Chuck Newsome, bassist Ben Rolston, and drummer Rob Avsharian, augmented on some tracks by Ian Finkelstein on electric keyboard and Raymond Chandler on trombone. The CD will come as a surprise to many who know her from casual gigs as a lyrical yet rhythmically adroit interpreter of standards: it features only her own compositions, arranged in a manner that presents the full range of her eclectic talents. She varies the mood and rhythmic setting of each track and even performs as a vocalist on two tunes.
Racine's compositions run the gamut from pensive slow ballads to post-boppish romps and slightly rockish fusion, while on some tunes the rhythmic flow varies from section to section. She generously assigns solos to her sidemen, but the sound is dominated by her clear-voiced trumpet,.
While continuing to attend to her regular performances, Racine is presenting a series of concerts featuring her own work, including a CD release celebration at the monthly WEMU 5:01 Jazz happy hour at Rush Street on Friday, April 1.
[Originally published in April, 2016.]
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