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    BIG JAZZ BLOG - Halie Loren - Live to Air

    Written by Moreen Murray

    I have been a fan of this young chanteuse ever since I stumbled across her recordings on Amazon.com of all things, last spring.  I became an even bigger fan when her publicist read my blog and contacted me about an interview with her – I can tell you she is very delightful.  What better gift to celebrate a milestone birthday than to hear her live for the first time?

    It certainly was no surprise that Halie quickly wove a spell on the audience, seducing them with a voice that is like a caress of satin on her opening number “Sway”, nimbly switching between English and Spanish. She is very easy on the eyes as well boys, chicly attired in a simple black cocktail dress accessorized by a flash of dangling silver hoop earring and her shiny brunette locks .

    She was very excited to be in Canada and indeed in Toronto for the first time – she and her bandmates, Matt Treder on piano and Mark Schneider on bass had just arrived from a gig in Montreal. Ross Porter gently teased out of her that they were indeed listening to JAZZ.FM91 once they got into range in Kingston.

    The next number “Heart First” – a collaboration with songwriter Larry W. Clark from New Brunswick reminded me of the clever wordplay of Mose Allison. She met Larry when she lived in Nashville – that great percolator of songwriters, having chosen to immerse herself in that culture at the tender age of 17, she later revealed she started writing songs somewhere around 14, and sang a little snippet of that with coaxing from Ross “Wandering Girl,” very mature for a 14 year old!

    A discussion of re-stylizing pop songs lead into a beautiful interpretation of Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” – Halie said she has even heard a bluegrass version of that tune. She explained it’s actually easier for her to arrange tunes that are newer as they haven’t been ingrained in her head and a greater part of her experience. She listens to everything from Nina Simone to Scandinavian sensation Robyn.

    Halie’s packing experience for her recent Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong is something many women can relate to…how to decide which shoes to bring? Fortunately,  she enlisted her bassist to check her shoe bag as part of his luggage.  A little foray into French with “C’est Si Bon” and then to another great pop tune, a tender rendition of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” – one of her faves of his and also one of mine.

    It was time to sneak in a great ballad and one of my favourite tunes – the achingly beautiful “My One and Only Love”. Riveting…especially gorgeous was the breathy Ben Webster sound she produced on the last syllable. Perfection.

    Of course, we enjoyed some Canadian content with Neil Young’s “Lotta Love” and forgive me for being a child of the 70’s but I am more familiar with Nicolette Larson’s version of this tune and the original “A Woman’s Way” – check out the You Tube video of Halie…hey, it worked for Justin Bieber.

    Sadly things were over all too soon – I’m sure many listeners would love to have Halie back – maybe for a festival gig or Koerner Hall? What a treat to hear this treasure from Eugene, Oregon…with six albums to her credit, an engaging personality and being number 1 on the Amazon Canada jazz downloads she won’t remain a well kept secret much longer. Be sure to check out her latest “Heart First”.



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