PHENOMENAL WOMAN: THE MAYA ANGELOU SONGS and Songs Without Words
Vocals: Capathia Jenkins
Music Composed, Arranged and Conducted by Louis Rosen
Lyrics by Maya Angelou
Produced by Louis Rosen, Scott Lehrer and Capathia Jenkins
Premiere: Birdland, NYC, October 25, 26 & 27, 2018
"By rights, and I’m a committed fan of Birdland, this indelible cross pollination of classical/opera/jazz/blues/gospel should be at Carnegie Hall – which is not to say you won’t find yourself chair dancing. Composer Louis Rosen’s symbiotic relationship with poet Maya Angelou, muse/vocalist Capathia Jenkins, and his superb band is so organic, so exacting in craft, it’s difficult to imagine one without the other.
"...These songs are so melodious (while maintaining ferocity), it seems as if words were originally lyrics. Excavating life experience, the artist adds painterly imagination, musical backbone, and arresting texture to Angelou’s raw emotion. Capathia Jenkins is unique.... Jenkins seems to become a song rather than perform it. Cascading through octaves with seamless control and discretion, she erupts and retreats plumbing meaning. Exuberance is infectious, anger palpable, pathos visceral...." (from the review by Alix Cohen for Woman About Town)
"'Phenomenal Woman' is a beautifully done project... a beautiful homage to the legendary Maya Angelou." (from the Black Grooves Magazine review by Jered Griffin)
Louis reunites with the phenomenally soulful vocalist CAPATHIA JENKINS for their fifth album together, the new recording, PHENOMENAL WOMAN: The Maya Angelou Songs (Di-tone Records™). The 15 tracks include 11 songs with lyrics by the iconic American poet, Maya Angelou, and four new “Songs Without Words” that weave in and out of the song sequence as prelude and interludes. Louis’ new arrangements for these jazz, blues, soul-infused and classically tinged compositions are for jazz sextet, with occasional organ added in for good churchly measure.
PHENOMENAL WOMAN: The Maya Angelou Songs is also noteworthy in the Jenkins/Rosen discography because it completes the recording of Louis’ substantial opus, the BLACK LOOM TRILOGY, three album-length song cycles written specifically for Capathia on the poetry of three major African-American poets, the other cycles being DREAM SUITE (Langston Hughes) and ONE OUNCE OF TRUTH (Nikki Giovanni).
The musicians joining them on the album are long-standing Jenkins/Rosen collaborators and among New York’s best, including Kimberly Grigsby (Broadway conductor) on piano and organ; CJ Camerieri (yMusic Ensemble) on trumpet and french horn; Hideaki Aomori (yMusic Ensemble) on alto & tenor saxophones, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet; Andrew Sterman (Philip Glass Ensemble) on alto sax, clarinet and flute; Susan Rotholz (Orchestra of St. Lukes) on flute; Erik Charlston (ABT Orchestra) on vibraphone, and Broadway veterans Dave Phillips on acoustic and electric bass and Gary Seligson on drums.
Now available for purchase and downloading at:
(Click on the store's name to be taken to its site.)
Click on Louis' Juke Box at the bottom right side of the site to hear three songs from the album -- "Phenomenal Woman: Song for CJ", "Interlude III: Together" and "Out Here Alone."
Prelude: A Day Next Week (Song Without Words, No. 1) · Come Be My Baby · But They Went Home · Preacher Don't · Interlude I: Dream Dust (Song Without Words, No. 2) · Think About Myself · Some Blues I've Had · Turned to Blue · Interlude II: Trust Silence (Song Without Words, No. 3) · I Hate to Lose Something · Poor Girl, Just Like Me · Out Here Alone · Interlude III: Together (Song Without Words, No. 4) · For the Caged Bird Sings · Phenomenal Woman: Song for CJ
Louis dedicates this song cycle and its premiere recording to Tom Leavens, for without Tom's selfless effort and generosity, this album would have never come to pass. And the title song, Phenomenal Woman: Song for CJ, is affectionately dedicated to Capathia.
Louis and Capathia thank Maya Angelou's grandson, Colin Johnson, for generously granting the rights that allowed us to record these songs; Jennifer Lash at CMG Worldwide; the third member of our team, Scott Lehrer; the brilliant musicians who recorded with us; Joan McKay, a true angel, for her extraordinarily generous financial support of this project; and the following patrons for their deeply appreciated ongoing support: Jason Brett, Lauren Streicher, Marilyn Katz, George Petty, Susan Friedlander, Elizabeth and Walt Bachman, Mary Ellen Geiser, Doug Hughes and Margaret Moore.