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Got The World On A String

Mike Gellar - guitar; Christiana Drapkin - voice; Chris Battistone - trumpet; Bob Shann - bass; Dominic Smith - drums

1. RealAudio I've Got The World On A String
2. RealAudioYou'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
3. RealAudioThe Nearness of You
4. RealAudio Laverne Walk
5. RealAudio Friends Again
6. RealAudio The Peacocks
7. The Way You Look Tonight
8. There's A Small Hotel
9. Tennessee Waltz
10. For Baden
11. You're Looking At Me
12. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
13. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
14. I'll Remember April

CD Baby

It seemed rather improbable, how Christiana and Mike's paths crossed, and a deep musical friendship grew despite the many miles separating them. Mike and his wife Meribeth, along with their golden retriever Samba, two cool cats, a gaggle of geese, and a frog named Dave, all lived in a place filled with music and tucked away at the end of a long dirt road in the hills of western Maryland. Christiana - although (or maybe because) she grew up in Germany's Black Forest - considered herself a "dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker" ever since settling in Brooklyn in the early 1980s.

They met more or less by chance, at a weekend visit with mutual friends in the area, and played at a music session together. Once or twice a year, Christiana found herself in Mike's neck of the woods, and one jam session led to another. They found common ground in the old Standards like "The Nearness of You" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream", especially enjoying their work as a duo. So they decided to develop their shared repertoire and started booking gigs between DC and New York.

Studying with Brooklyn jazz pianist Charles Sibirsky, who carried on the lines and harmonic developments characteristic of the Lennie Tristano school, Christiana brings her own scat-inflected repertoire of the Standards. Mike takes his inspiration from composers such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Johnny Mercer, Burke/Van Husen and Antonio Carlos Jobim and guitarists Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Joe Pass and Oscar Moore. Together, they developed their own "book", crossing over into each other's territory, inspiring and enriching their music in the process.

Mike brought his more contemporary repertoire into the mix with his instrumental cuts of "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Laverne Walk". They shared the wordless musical lines of guitarist Jack Wilkins's "For Baden", and "Friends Again" by West-Coast sax player Lanny Morgan. Their love for trading and soloing together, and Mike's Latin repertoire - so ably supported on this CD by Dominic Smith on drums and Bob Shann on bass - made them delve into "I'll Remember April". Chris Battistone's cool and tasteful trumpet lines complement this cut, as well as the title tune, "I've Got the World on a String", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "There's a Small Hotel", "You're Looking At Me".

Mike introduced Christiana to the 1970s Nancy King - Steve Wolfe album, "First Date", which took them to a later recording of King's and a reharmonization of "Tennessee Waltz". In another nod to her, they couldn't resist including an intimate version of "There's a Small Hotel". Mike first heard pianist Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" on his album with Stan Getz, and they included this challenging and haunting song for a rare vocal rendition. They rounded out this CD with "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)" and "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To".

Here is what Mike Gellar says about his band:

Christiana and I have a special rapport that inspires each of us to create a result that is the greater than the sum of the two individuals. We love the interplay and counterpoint that happens between us. Part of our close collaboration is due to our love of the same music and performers. I look at Christiana as a jazz musician, and one who is adventuresome, rather than as a vocalist who sings with jazz musicians. She brings a great deal of joy to the music and is not afraid to take chances.

Bassist Bob Shann always lays down a smooth, warm, supportive sound and is a wonderfully melodic soloist. The Ray Brown influence comes out on Bob's solo on "I've Got the World on a String", and he plays a beautiful solo on "There's A Small Hotel".

Drummer Dominic Smith is a master of taste, dynamics and textures. I love his brush work on "I've Got the World on a String", "There's A Small Hotel", "The Peacocks", and "The Way You Look Tonight". Listen to the beautiful cymbals in "The Peacocks".

Trumpeter Chris Battistone and I go back over 20 years. We have performed together, he recorded with me and wrote an arrangement for my 1998 debut-CD "Perdido", and he has even helped me improve my ear from time to time. Chris' playing is always so tasteful, he makes me think of Harry 'Sweets' Edison. Enjoy him backing up Christiana and his solo on the opening tune. I loved trading 8's with Chris on "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To". He reminds me of Randy Brecker, along with Bob and Dominic really laying down the rhythm.

I love the interaction between us on the CD's instrumental cuts, "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Laverne Walk". - Guitarist Steve Herberman turned me onto this Oscar Pettiford tune during a gig together. I thought a bluesy, rhythm changes-type tune would be a nice complement to the others on the CD. And I even threw in a lick from my earlier rock days.

"Friends Again" is alto saxophonist Lanny Morgan's composition which he recorded with guitarist Bruce Forman. Chris Battistone and I used to play it, and one day Christiana and I decided it would be fun to do together. Tony DeCaprio helped me improve my picking on this challenging tune.

I play an incredibly wonderful and expressive handmade guitar by Gary Mortoro.


Christiana Drapkin - SHAKESPEARE IN JAZZ

Shakespeare The Bard's words, set to jazz arrangements by
John Dankworth, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington & others.

1. RealAudio Winter (John Dankworth)
2. RealAudio Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? (John Dankworth)
3. RealAudio It Was a Lover and his Lass (Thomas Morley)
4. RealAudio It Was a Lover and his Lass (Arthur Young)
5. RealAudio My Love Is as a Fever (Ellington/ Strayhorn)
6. RealAudio If Music Be the Food of Love (John Dankworth)


Shakespeare The Bard's words, set to jazz arrangements by John Dankworth, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington & others.

Christiana Drapkin - vocals Michael Kanan - piano Stephanie Greig - bass Michael Petrosino - drums

View a video of a live performance at the Kennedy-Center Washington, DC

Christiana Drapkin & Charles Siibirsky - Songs About You

1. RealAudio Time On My Hands (You In My Arms)
2. Open Your Heart
3. You Don't Know What Love Is
4. Cholesterol Blues
5. Among the Living
6. RealAudio Formation
7. Jazzman's Serenade
8. Procrastination Blues (Now's the Time)
9. RealAudio Songs About You
10. Just Friends
11. Monkery's the Blues (Blue Monk)
12. RealAudio Out of Nowhere

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Download tracks at DigDisJazz.com

This CD is a collaboration between New York jazz vocalist Christiana Drapkin and her long-time teacher, jazz pianist Charles Sibirsky, and builds on the tradition of the great jazz standards and bebop repertoire. They present six brand new tunes, proof positive that jazz lives and that new standards can be written today.

Some tunes like Charley Krachy's ballad, Jazzman's Serenade, and Charles Sibirsky's bossa nova, Open Your Heart, reaffirm the form of the American standards polished and shining little gems. Andy Fite's Among the Living, brings wit, humor and style reminiscent of the great songwriter, Cole Porter. Cholesterol Blues continues the long line of cabaret humor. In the CD's title tune, Songs About You, Charles pushes ahead into something altogether unique or maybe he is coming full circle to a Schumann-style art song. The moving lyrics were written by his son, Graeme. Formation, also written by Charles, is a soaring bebop line over a fast-driving harmonic progression. The trading and soloing really take flight here, just like they do in a live session.

Two tracks feature lyrics to well known compositions, one written by Charlie Parker and the other by Thelonious Monk. In Parker's Now's the Time, Dori Levine penned hilarious lyrics, and the song was subsequently re-titled, Procrastination Blues. Jazz singer and songwriter Abbey Lincoln took Monk's Blue Monk and wrote the lyrics to this work which is now known as Monkery's the Blues. Christiana dedicates this song to the memory of Carmen McRae. The standards, Time on My Hands, You Don't Know What Love Is, Just Friends, and Out of Nowhere, round out the CD and fit in seamlessly with the original material.

Christiana Drapkin - The Man I Love

1. RealAudio The Man I Love
2. RealAudio Crazy He Calls Me
3. Honeysuckle Rose
4. Good Morning, Heartache
5. Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me
6. RealAudio Straight, No Chaser
7. You've Changed
8. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
9. Moonlight in Vermont
10. Body and Soul

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Christiana's debut CD "The Man I Love" is reminiscent of the style of the great café singers of the 40's and 50's. Her voice and style sets the tone with verve and clarity. She is a felicitous combination of Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald, combining the musicality of an instrumentalist with her very personal, at times even humorous, delivery.

Christiana Drapkin & Stephanie Greig - AU PAIR

1. RealAudio You'd be So Nice To Come Home To
2. RealAudio Detour Ahead
3. RealAudio Straight, No Chaser
4. RealAudio The Man I Love
5. RealAudio Just in Time


Stephanie and Christiana have embarked on a close duo collaboration, mining the bebop and standard repertoire for their unique bass - vocal interpretations. Their performances have musical daring and a stripped-down purity. They challenge their audience to go out on a limb with them, take flight, and then bring them back after an exhilarating musical ride. "Au pair" is their work in progress, a recording project that delves more deeply into the nooks and crannies of the jazz repertoire and improvisation. Their ever-changing sets can include works by Erik Satie and Kurt Weill, through Thelonious Monk and Hoagey Carmichael, to Ned Rorem.

As the daughter of Las Vegas bassist, Kenny Greig, Stephanie grew up listening to live music, from the Musicians' Union rehearsal bands playing Count Basie and Duke Ellington charts to the eclectic mix of music that passed through the hotels on the Strip. At age fourteen, she was playing guitar in her father's pop quartet as well as in blues, funk and rock groups with her peers. As she grew, she developed a lifelong love for the great Broadway composers and devoted herself to learning the American standard repertory. At Smith College, she focused on the intersection of music and theater, particularly the Brecht-Weill collaborations. After graduating, she spent a few years acting in small theaters in New York. In 1996, she acquired an upright bass and went to work. Since then, Stephanie has performed in Japan with her husband, pianist Michael Kanan, and has played in restaurants, bars, hotels and at private parties all over the New York area. She is currently studying classical bass with David Grossman of the New York Philharmonic.

Christiana came to the US as a German Fulbright exchange student in theater. At Tulane University in New Orleans, she discovered the inner workings of musical theater and, more importantly, the roots of Jazz. However, New York City has become Christiana's artistic home for the past twenty years. Through her continuing private jazz studies with pianist Charles Sibirsky, she developed a deep connection to the American standards and bebop repertoire. Combined with her voice training under vocal coach Barbara Feller, Christiana is known for her fearless and soaring improvisation lines, as well as for her highly personal delivery of lyrics. Christiana has been performing in clubs and at festivals on the Eastern Seaboard for over fifteen years. Some of her favorite musicians she is collaborating with are guitarists Mike Gellar, John Merrill, and Andy Fite, to name a few. She has released two CDs on Iana Records, "The Man I Love" (1999), and "Songs About You" (2004), which features six original compositions by some of her favorite fellow-musicians, in addition to fresh takes on standards, from Porter and Gershwin to Parker and Monk.