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17 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm - 19 (Friday) 11:00 pm
Voices of Chicago presents: Anne and Mark Burnell - Two for the Road CD Release Party Livestream Dates Available: August 17 - August 19, 2022 Live Showtime: 7:30PM on August 17 About: Two for the
Voices of Chicago presents: Anne and Mark Burnell - Two for the Road CD Release Party Livestream
Dates Available: August 17 - August 19, 2022
Live Showtime: 7:30PM on August 17
Two for the Road Anne Burnell & Mark Burnell
Mark and Anne (Pringle) Burnell, partners in life as well as music, haven’t made a true duo album since 2000, when they released Little Things We Do Together. In the intervening years, there have been plenty of things – big as well as little – that they’ve done together: Mark almost always accompanies Anne, on stage and on her own discs. But Two for the Road is the first album in 20 years on which they share the marquee and blend their voices, making this album long overdue.
Beyond that, the time is always ripe for an album that can tell stories in song, and that goal has driven the Burnells’ music from the beginning.
With her timbre of clarified honey, containing a hint of clove, Anne can shape her voice around a gaggle of genres: jazz, blues, pop, and hybrids of all three, handling each with a mix of intimacy and strength. She got her degree in theater, and it shows in her assured ability to get inside the words. She doesn’t scat much, but don’t let that fool you: jazz singing entails so much more – the rhythmic legerdemain called swing; the musicality that counsels what to change and when; the gamut of expressivity that jazz artists have sought to convey from the beginning; and the ability to freshen songs from other genres.
As a pianist and arranger, Mark also covers a range of styles and contexts, no surprise when you learn he taught music at Carnegie-Mellon for ten years (after obtaining two degrees there). In framing the stories in these songs, he crafts arrangements that recall the jazz tradition’s deep roster of accomplished accompanists. And as you might hope from a husband backing up his wife, his playing dovetails neatly with Anne’s interpretations; so does his voice.
Like jazz artists from the music’s inception, they also know where to look and what to borrow to enhance their work. In that vein, they’ve also studied cabaret, which is as old as jazz, for what it can teach about telling stories and building a show. As Anne reminds us, “Cabaret is an umbrella, really, a style of performance” – an incorporation of music and theater that, purposefully or not, has informed the artistry of singers from Billie Holiday through Carmen McRae and on up to Cecile McLorin Salvant in the present day.
Another factor in the making of this album: the Burnells wanted to share a couple of arrangements from their friend, the widely admired trumpeter and Chicago native Bobby Ojeda, that hadn’t made it onto a previous disc. (Ojeda, who died in 2020, wrote charts for Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, and Peggy Lee, among others; who’d want to leave any of his contributions in the rearview mirror?) The Burnells also had some of their own compositions to include, as well as a sweet tune written by their friend Shelly Markham, “You Make Me Laugh."
- NEIL TESSER
excerpt from Two for the Road liner notes
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