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we could be overs

Sarah McKenzie Piano, Vocals

we could be lovers

1. I Was Doing Alright 3:20

[George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin] Frankie G. Songs, Ira Gershwin Music, Nokawi Music, WB Group Corp. Warner Chappell Music Corp. Inc.) / ASCAP

6. I Won’t Dance 3:34

[Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh]

Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing, Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc. / ASCAP

7. Love You Madly 3:04

[Duke Ellington] Sony ATV Harmony / ASCAP

2. That’s It, I Quit! 3:34

8. Quoi, Quoi, Quoi 3:29

[Sarah McKenzie]

[Sarah McKenzie]

Universal Music Publishing / SACEM

Universal Music Publishing / SACEM

3. We Could Be Lovers 3:05

9. The Music Is The Magic 4:33

[Sarah McKenzie] Universal Music Publishing / SACEM

[Abbey Lincoln] Moseka Music / BMI

4. Tight 3:04

10. Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) 5:01

[Betty Carter]

[Roger “Ram” Ramirez, Jimmy Davis & James Sherman]

Mykag Music Co. / BMI

Universal Music Corporation / ASCAP

5. At Long Last Love 5:20


Moon River 3:58

[Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer]

[Cole Porter] Chappell-Co. Inc. / ASCAP

Sony ATV Harmony / ASCAP


laying music does not just make me feel good - it means something. The Blues, the deep feeling of Swing and the storytelling aspect of American music are, for me, what makes Jazz so powerful. I feel that playing music is about making a lasting contribution to a legacy, to a tradition, and about being part of something greater than myself.

Writing tunes is really my ultimate outlet for expressing myself musically, however placing a tune of my own next to a tune written by Cole Porter or Duke Ellington is not something I take too lightly. I am deeply inspired by the songs of The Great American Songbook, and with the careby which they are written. The combination of a simple melody, accompanied by classic harmony and clever lyrics is something I am truly fascinated by. When I write, I am not trying to recreate something that happened in the past. I truly love so much the style and elegance of the old standards that I feel it naturally influences me, and almost without my thinking about it I write in a similar way.

© 2015 Philippe Levy-Stab

The experience of recording ‘We Could Be Lovers’ in New York City was my greatest musical challenge yet. From the beginning my focus was on the arrangements, and my aim was to make each tune sound fresh while keeping the original intent of the composition. It may be simple to throw together a quick arrangement of any Jazz standard, but I find it is always more interesting and rewarding to dig deeper into a song and a lyric, so as to understand its true meaning while bringing something of yourself to the work. Due to their popularity, some standards are more «well worn» than others. Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” is an example of a tune that has a long history of being covered by musicians. Here however lies the great challenge. It is to show how, despite a long performance history, it is always possible with creativity and vision to re-work and bring an old song into a new life.

© 2015 Philippe Levy-Stab

“That’s It, I Quit!” is an original that may sound as if it was from another era, but it was written in March 2014 while I was studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA - and at a moment when I was really ready to give up on music. Practising in a tiny piano cell, I was battling with transcribing a piano solo by Herbie Hancock. I thought to myself that the truth of the matter is, I’ll never be as good as Herbie Hancock and therefore I should just quit. I really can’t express enough how miserable I felt at this moment. I could see myself leaving Berklee College, calling my family and telling them I wouldn’t be furthering myself as a musician, nor would I be playing another piano ever again. I began to fantasize and as I indulged further in my fantasy, I started to amuse myself with some rhyme and chords, and wrote a very silly song called “That’s It, I Quit!”. At the time it was just something that gave me a little relief from my depressive state, and if nothing else made me smile. I then completely forgot about it until I realized I needed to perform a composition for a class. As I was now giving up on the idea of a music career, I felt strangely happy and positive! I decided to stop being so serious, and sang my ‘light-hearted’ “That’s It, I Quit!” for my teacher. I fully expected her to tell me to re-do my assignment, but her reaction surprised me so much that I just sat for a long while at the piano in disbelief: she actually liked it. Unfortunately, after that class I wasn’t granted the opportunity to give up on music as I had previously hoped. In June of 2014 I found myself sitting on the Steinway piano at Symphony Hall accompanied by none other than the Boston Pops Orchestra. What did I perform you ask? Well, I performed none other than “That’s It, I Quit!” of course! Making music however is always a team effort and being presented with the opportunity to put my music on record, I was very fortunate to be able to work with the super team of producer Brian Bacchus and recording engineer Jay Newland. Both Brian and Jay contributed far beyond their roles - from producing and engineering the record, to being two great musical mentors during the entire recording process. Their extensive musical knowledge, guidance and encouragement, in particular on my original songs and arrangements, were invaluable to me during this time.

Any great vision cannot be realised alone, and I would not have been able to bring the picture of this music to life without the unique musicians involved in the session. I am deeply honored and humbled by the musicians for giving their talent, time and dedication to my music. They were Warren Wolf, Ingrid Jensen, Troy Roberts, Yosvany Terry, Alex Boneham, Hugh Stuckey and Marco Valeri. I hope you will enjoy the music of ‘We Could Be Lovers’. Sarah McKenzie, Paris, May 2015

Executive Producers: Robert Patterson, Toby Chadd Publications Editor: Natalie Shea ABC Music thanks Virginia Read and Natalie Waller All arrangements by Sarah McKenzie Produced by Brian Bacchus Engineered and Mixed by Jay Newland Assistant Engineers: Ted Tuthill & Lim Wei Recorded at Sear Sound, NY, March 2014 Mixed at The Grateful Shed, East Norwalk, CT Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, NY Liner notes by Sarah McKenzie Art Direction: Farida Bachir, impulse!


pecial thanks to my family, especially Janice, Robert and James McKenzie for their enduring love on this journey. To the team of Alex Boneham, Hugh Stuckey and Marco Valeri for their musical talents and to special guests Ingrid Jensen, Warren Wolf, Troy Roberts and Yosvany Terry. To Impulse! Jean-Philippe Allard, Farida Bachir, Bruno Guermonprez for believing in the record and to producing/engineering super-team Brian Bacchus and Jay Newland for drawing out the best possible music in me. Finally, to the Berklee College of Music for changing my life. Very special thanks to Berklee’s Damien Bracken and Michael Borgida and to my teachers Maggie Scott, Peter Eldridge, Anne Peckham, Kathleen Flynn, Ayn Inserto, Daniela Schachter and Daniel Ian Smith — the ones who made all the difference.

Cover and Liner Photography: Philippe Levy-Stab Designed by Françoise Bergmann

Sarah McKenzie plays Yamaha Pianos Yosvany Terry is a Yamaha artist. Troy Roberts plays handcrafted mouthpieces by Thomas Woodwinds, and Vandoren Reeds. Warren Wolf appears courtesy of Mack Avenue Records.

Sarah McKenzie (piano, vocals) on track 8 (vocals), on track 11 (vocals) Hugh Stuckey (guitar) tracks 1-11 Alex Boneham (double bass) tracks 1-10 Marco Valeri (drums, percussion) tracks 01-10 Warren Wolf (vibraphone) tracks 2, 3, 6, 7 Ingrid Jensen (trumpet) Tracks 3, 6, 8 Troy Roberts (tenor saxophone) Tracks 3, 4, 6, 10 Yosvany Terry (alto saxophone) Tracks 3, 6 All arrangements by Sarah McKenzie

Management : Burkhard Hopper, B.H. Hopper Management Ltd T: +44 (0)207 386 1602 - P 2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, under exclusive license to impulse! A division of Universal Music France C 2015 impulse! A division of Universal Music France Distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Universal Music Group, under exclusive licence.

Sarah McKenzie - We Could Be Lovers_Booklet  

Sarah McKenzie, pianist-singer-composer and winner of the 2012 ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album, returns with a stunning new recording: We Cou...

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