BIO / english

SIMONE KOPMAJER - “SPOTLIGHT ON JAZZ”

The very inviting jazz singer from Austria swings throughout her latest CD.
Simone Kopmajer and her quintet (featuring Terry Myers on tenor) perform a mixture of vintage standards and colorful originals that sound as if they could have been from the 1940s and ‘50s.

The internationally famous jazz singer Simone Kopmajer is heard at her best throughout her 13th album as a leader, Spotlight On Jazz. She performs six standards and seven of her originals on a set that covers many moods while consistently swinging.

Ms. Kopmajer, who sings in awless English, is joined by tenor-saxophonist Terry Myers (the current leader of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra), guitarist Martin Spitzer, pianist Paul Urbanek, bassist Karl Sayer, and drummer Reinhardt Winkler for a spirited program lled with memorable singing, superior songs, and joyful spirits.

From the start of the opening “Spotlights,” Simone Kopmajer’s voice is warm and inviting while expertly placing her notes for maximum swinging. Terry Myers’ playing on this piece is straight from Lester Young, clearly inspiring the singer. “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue”
(a tune associated with Louis Armstrong) is given a rare vocal version and has parade rhythms by Winkler that perfectly t the song. “Struttin’” and “Exactly Like You” have Myers switching effectively to clarinet with Ms. Kopmajer scatting a hornlike chorus on the latter.

Other highlights of the infectious album include “Pennies From Heaven” (taken as a jazz waltz), a slower-than-usual rendition of “Poinciana” that retains the essence of Ahmad Jamal’s hit version, the wordless singing on “Dig That Riff” (a second remixed version
is included as a bonus track), the warmth displayed by both singer and saxophonist on the ballad “A Gift From Buddy” and a relaxed “Stompin’ At The Savoy.” In addition to the rst-class singing and Myers’ tenor solos, there are many spots for pianist Urbanek and guitarist Spitzer to make their own complementary statements.

Simone Kopmajer, who was born in Schladming, Austria, began singing when she was eight, had classical piano lessons, and spent time playing saxophone. When she was 12, she sang regularly with her father’s band and four years later was accepted into the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz where she earned a Masters degree. Simone had opportunities to study with Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy, Michele Hendricks, Jay Clayton and the New York Voices. She has since not only performed regularly throughout Europe but has visited the United States regularly since 2000 and is quite popular in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Her debut album Moonlight Serenade was recorded in 2003. Since then she has been featured on a dozen other recordings as a leader including Romance (which features tenor-saxophonist Eric Alexander), Taking A Chance On Love (with both Houston Person and Dick Oatts on saxophones), Live At Heidi’s Jazz Club, The Best In You, and Good Old Times. Throughout these programs, Simone Kopmajer uplifts vintage standards with her phrasing, beautiful voice and quiet enthusiasm, and adds to the legacy of straight ahead jazz by contributing worthy new songs.

Spotlight On Jazz serves as a perfect introduction to the singing and musical artistry of Simone Kopmajer and is one of her nest recordings to date.

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She has soul and a particular charismatic tone in her voice that gives each song that special something. Born in Schladming, Austria, Simone Kopmajer already achieved at a young age what many musicians, bands and ensembles dream of – the launch of a successful international career. In the United States, Japan and Southeast Asia, the singer is a household name for lovers of demanding and refined jazz music. She fills large concert halls, performs as the headliner of major international festivals and has sold thousands of CDs worldwide. Lo and behold, it seems as if only Austria is not quite aware of this outstanding and award winning singer.

In a time where everyone is complaining about declining CD sales, Simone Kopmajer managed the feat of selling more than 30,000 units of her album “Nothing’s Gonna Change” in Thailand last year. Not only is this a very impressive figure, in Thailand her release was also on the topof the list of the best-selling jazz albums of the year. Similarly impressive are the sales figures in Japan, where the Styrian-born musician made her breakthrough at an even earlier stage.

Her enthusiasm and love for music already kindled at a very early age. She began to sing at eight, with twelve she sang in the band of her father, who was a music school director and a big jazz fan, and at sixteen she was accepted at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, where she was immediately admitted due to her rare talent. During her studies, she was given the opportunity to work with many renowned artists such as Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Michele Hendricks, Jay Clayton and the New York Voices.

In the year 2000 she debuted in the U.S. and left a lasting impression among quite a few experts and connoisseurs of contemporary jazz music. Simone Kopmajer’s role models were the great voices of jazz and American show business, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Jon Hendricks, although over time the Styrian-born detached herself more and more from these influences to findher own musical language.

With her charisma and unbelievable talent, Simone Kopmajer manages to give her songs a very specific emotional, charming and in-depth note, which simply touches the people. Her sound is located somewhere between jazz, swing and tasteful pop. Although her music is very relaxed, flowing and elegant, it is also very playful and varied – these multilayered facets distinguished her early off from similar formats and made her music all the more interesting.

With her debut album “Moonlight Serenade”, which was released in 2004 and produced by Todd Barkan, the award winning singer was able to land respectable successes, especially in Japan. As a consequence, the singer was able to steadily increase her popularity from one album to the next. Unfortunately her albums were not available in Austria for a very long time. In 2009 her album “Didn’t You Say”, recorded in collaboration with stars such as George Mraz, Houston Person, Victor Lewis and James Genus , finally also opened the gates to the domestic market.

The probably largest success of Simone Kopmajer’s carreer was with her fifth album “Nothing’s Gonna Change” in 2011, which, as already mentioned, made her a celebrated star in new realms such as Thailand.

It is safe to say that Simone Kopmajer is on her way to the very top. With the ability to constantly raise her musicto the next level, we may assume that there is yet a lot more to come and it will be excitingto see where the journey will still take this exceptional singer.
(Michael Ternai)


PRESS - REVIEWS

Twenty-something Austrian singer Simone Kopmajer has toured Europe, Asia and also spends a couple of weeks annually in the U.S.  She's dynamite!  She's played and recorded with such names as Houston Person, George Mraz, Victor Lewis, James Genus and Eric Alexander. – Florida Today (USA) 8/2010

This week "Didn´t You Say" is on the BILLBOARD CHARTS in Japan 

                                                                          „Simone Kopmajer possesses a voice of incredible depth. Her approach to a song is understated sincerity.“   –Jazz Review (USA) 

 „...with this lineup, presumptions must have been high, and Kopmajer does not disappoint. She posses that unique ability to exhibit her own approach while remaining true to the tradition....This set is heartily recommended for those interested in excellent jazz vocals, rooted in the past while learning toward the future.“ –Jazz Improv Magazine (USA)

 

„There´s no denying that the cloud-soft Kopmajer is a breath of fresh air, and it will be intriguing to hear which way her gentle breeze blows next  - Jazztimes (USA)

 



 

BIO / deutsch

SIMONE KOPMAJER – „Spotlight On Jazz“

Sie zählt ganz ohne Zweifel zu den erfolgreichsten österreichischen Jazzstimmen der Gegenwart. Die aus der Steiermark stammende Sängerin Simone Kopmajer hat ihren Weg gemacht und geniest in der Jazzszene den Ruf, eine der profiliertesten ihres Faches zu sein. Ihre Fans sind rund um den Globus verstreut, ihre Veröffentlichungen auch in fernen Ländern gefragt, sie singt europaweit, in den USA, in Japan, Israel und auch Südostasien, wo sie mittlerweile den Status eines Stars geniest und die Hallen füllt. Mit „Spotlight On Jazz“ setzt Simone Kopmajer nun zum nächsten Wurf an.

Die 1981 in Schladming geborene Sängerin mit der samtwarmen verführerischen Stimme knüpft auf ihrem neuen Album im Grunde genommen dort an, wo sie auf ihrem letzten Werk „Good Old Times“ (2017) aufgehört hat. Es ist einmal mehr eine Zeitreise durch die Geschichte des Jazz, die sie unternimmt, eine, die bei Neubearbeitungen altbekannter Klassiker des Genres (u.a. „Pennies From Heaven“ von Billie Holiday, „Poinciana“ von Bing Crosby oder „Stompin´ At The Savoy „Benny Goodman) ihren Anfang nimmt und bei Nummern aus eigener Feder endet. Die Hans Koller Preisträgerin des Jahres 2003 kehrt somit ein Weiters Mal zu ihren musikalischen Wurzeln zurück, zu den Songs, die sie einst geprägt, inspiriert und geformt und die sie letztlich auch dazu animiert haben, eigene Stücke zu schreiben.

Der ganz edle Jazzklang

Unterstützt vom Leiter des Tommy-Dorsey-Orchesters, dem amerikanischen Saxofonisten Terry Myers, der unter anderem bereits mit Weltstars wie Ray Charles und  Natalie Cole zusammengearbeitet hat, und in Begleitung der mit Paul Urbanek (Piano), Martin Spitzer (Gitarre), Karl Sayer (Bass) und Reinhardt Winkler (Schlagzeug) hochkarätig besetzten Band wendet sich die 36-Jährige - wie schon in der Vergangenheit - dem ganz edlen Klang des Jazz zu. Ihr gelingt es auch dieses Mal, diesen in etwas wirklich Zauberhaftes zu verwandeln, sie schlägt einen Ton an, der einfach nur viel Gefühl in sich trägt und die reine Leidenschaft versprüht.

„Spotlight On Jazz“ offenbart sich als ein Album, das sich irgendwo zwischen Jazz, Swing, Soul und Pop auf ausgesprochen gediegene Weise erzählt und die Tore zu einem wirklich stimmungsvollen und abwechslungsreichen Hörerlebnis ganz weit aufstößt. Die zutiefst berührenden und unter die Haut gehenden Momente fehlen ebensowenig, wie die von einer betörenden Unbeschwertheit getragenen. Simone Kopmajer und ihre in allen Belangen überzeugend aufspielende Truppe lassen es swingen und grooven, sanft werden, sie geben sich verspielt und impulsiv wie auch geheimnisvoll und zurückhaltend. In den Songs wird Liebe bekundet, engumschlungen getanzt, humorvoll mit den Augen gezwinkert und einfach das Leben gefeiert.

Simone Kopmajer gibt mit ihrem neuen Album auf eindrucksvolle Art die Antwort auf die Frage, warum sie dort steht, wo sie steht. Sie zeigt, warum sie zu den Ausnahmeerscheinungen der österreichischen Musikszene zählt und mittlerweile auch dieses hohe internationale Renommee genießt. Die Steirerin und ihre Band vollbringen auf „Spotlight On Jazz“ den oftmals schwer zu meisternden Spagat zwischen höchster Unterhaltung und musikalischen Anspruch mit Bravour. Ihre Musik ist Ausdruck einer immensen Spielfreude verbunden mit außergewöhnlichen musikalischen Fähigkeiten, sie ist eine, die Stimmung regelrecht atmet und verbreitet, intensiv hinhören und auch die Seele baumeln lässt. Einfach schön.


WHAT OTHER´S SAY ABOUT SIMONE

 

 “To the list of young ones to watch we’ll add Simone Kopmajer.  Write it down…she’s going to be around for a long time.” – Doug Boynton (jazzsingers.com/ US) 2009

 

„Simone Kopmajer is the genuine article, a real beauty inside and out, She sings and swings with a lot of grace and remarkable clarity, and she is gonna be heard from...“--Mark Murphy_________________________________________________________________________________________

„...a great young talent.“  - Ira Sullivan, jazz legend

„....I hear a lot of beautiful soul in her voice and music.“  - Todd Barkan, Jazz at Lincon Center