Robin Bessier – Open Road (2016)

Robin Bessier - Open Road (2016)
Artist: Robin Bessier
Album: Open Road
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: USA
Released: 2016
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
01. Open Road 04:30
02. Ride The Wind 04:39
03. River 05:11
04. Siren 02:55
05. Destination Ahead 04:50
06. Sambarron 03:24
07. Renewed 04:52
08. Each Moment 04:20
09. Blue 04:52
10. Never Far Away 04:17
11. It’s Right Inside 03:17
12. Behind Your Eyes 04:26
13. In My Dreams 05:42

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Just as the title song of OPEN ROAD suggests, Robin Bessier prefers to stretch beyond the comforts of the known and fling herself into ‘the mystery.’ In this case, with all original material. A bold move in a field crowded with female jazz singers, but a natural progression from her 2013 debut album OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER, a mix of originals and standards that landed on the top 40 jazz (CMJ) charts the first week of its release and where it remained for several weeks, earning international airplay and critical acclaim.

Robin’s versatility as a composer, vocalist, lyricist and producer is apparent on each tune in OPEN ROAD, as she transitions fluidly from bossa nova to swing to ballads, supported by a cadre of talented instrumentalists. The collaboration with pianist/composer George Radebaugh proved magical, with Bessier penning lyrics to three of Radebaugh’s tunes: Siren, Blue and Sambarron.

In fact, it was the tune Sambarron that kicked off the OPEN ROAD project. When Bessier first heard this tune, played by Radebaugh at a local jazz jam, she knew right away she wanted to write lyrics for it. When she discovered the tune was written as a tribute to the great pianist/composer Kenny Barron, who had also inspired one of Bessier’s tunes (Renewed), the project launched itself.

The next few weeks were spent pouring through volumes of music each had written over many years for possible inclusion in the album. After the songs were chosen, and lyrics set to three of George’s tunes, a theme seemed to emerge — along the lines of the “divine discontent” — the force that moves us along our path; of the yearning of the heart that causes us to shift and grow; embracing and experiencing life in all its complexities. The Siren Song that urges us forward.

In fact it was this Siren Song that compelled Robin Bessier to give up a lucrative job as a CEO to apply herself to the music that she loves. In addition to the release of OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER, in the six years since leaving the corporate world, she has sung in a variety of jazz combos in a variety of West Coast venues and served as the music director at the Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center in Port Townsend.

Trained in classical music by a mother who had been a professional opera singer, Robin cannot remember a time when she did not sing. Before getting hooked on jazz as an 18 year-old music major at Western Washington State University, she sang in numerous choral groups, musical theater productions and classical recitals. She studied guitar and piano, but admits she knows just enough to be dangerous. All things being equal, Robin prefers to sing, but is grateful for a basic foundation in theory and rudimentary skills as an instrumentalist that allows her to write the music presented by the Muses that frequent her dreams and inspire her waking moments.

The musicians that helped bring this project to fruition, in addition to Port Townsend native George Radebaugh, include Seattle horn player Jay Thomas, who was featured in OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER; Seattle guitarist Milo Petersen, who Robin first met at Western Washington State University when they were both music majors; percussionist Jeff Busch, who was also featured in OTHER SIDE OF FOREVER; and bassist Ted Enderle and drummer Tom Svornich who have served as the foundation in most of the band configurations Robin has played with over the past few years in and around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

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