"Best Vocal CDs of 2004 - The Right Time
"An expressive voice, at times warm and throaty, at times pure and delicate, that brings intimacy and a touching vulnerability!"
"Melody has done an astounding transfer of vocal sound over to the world of Jazz...Pick up Melody's lovely CD, it's kinda sexy too!"
Melody Breyer-Grell's Blujazz debut CD "The Right Time" was released to rave reviews and the coveted All About Jazz Best Vocal Jazz CD of the year. That win was quite a surprise to Melody, as she was entering a whole new world previously uncharted or expected. Her follow-up effort, under the Rhombus label, "Fascinatin', Rhythms" has also garnered impressive reviews and air play on a great deal of radio programs across the USA and Canada and Europe.
Her bio is not that of one expecting this type of reception, especially coming to this genre of music a bit later in life, after redirecting her ambitions for a stint of pure housewifery. Realizing she was actually a pretty diffident homemaker, she kept her husband but started to pursue performing again, this time with her eye on the standards of the Great American Song Book.
Back tracking to childhood, Melody always was drawn to performing, and when it was determined that she actually could sing, she started doing musicals, opera and comedic theatre. Then she graduated High School!
Although opera continues to be her passion, she found out some years later that the Great American Song Book offered her an outlet to display what she was really comfortable with---unique phrasing, personal arranging and putting together a concept CD.
"If I was told that I would be doing Jazz-Pop and producing CD's when I was in high school, I would have said there was more chance of my becoming an astronaut." But life takes you where it wants you to go...
Her first CD "The Right Time" had her vocalizing in a traditional melodic style, with clever, fresh arrangements, and simple improvisations to both familiar and lesser-known jazz and GAS standards. Each piece is specifically selected and sequenced to create a mood and sense of direction.
While working up to her first CD, Melody appeared in many of New York's music room's, honing her performance skills. During that time, she listened to a wide variety of jazz singers, observing cutting edge moderns like Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan and Mark Murphy; concurrently attending the shows of Blossom Dearie and every local singer she could find. Sinatra, June Christy, Carmen McRae, Ella – all the great ones were in her CD player.
In time, Melody found her own personal style: "a happy meeting of cabaret and jazz...full of pleasures...Melody communicates words with clarity & warmth, while letting the composer's intentions shine through." (James Gavin, critic & author.)
During that time Melody also moonlighted as the musical director of the jazz/supper club, Chez Suzette. It was eventually sold, but Melody was immediately hired at the "Triad" performance space and night club. Some very exciting events transpired during her tenure at The Triad.
One especially exciting event was Sheila Jordan's 76th Birthday concert Celebration, Live at the Triad, co-produced and recorded for posterity by High Note Records. Also memorable was the first NYC screening of the film 'Tis Autumn, a stunningly beautiful documentary tracing the career and life of neglected vocal jazz legend Jackie Paris.
Melody also sees the humorous side to jazz. She has penned several parodies to familiar standards asking "What's So Funny About Jazz?" which she performed in 2007. "I could sit around all day and write parodies--this 'business' is so absurd!"
Her writing turned more serious when she was asked by Scott Barbarino to contribute CD reviews for his online zine Nitelife Exchange. The reception to her writing ability was strong. Not long after Scott picked her up she signed on to Peter Levy's Cabaret Scenes Magazine and recently has become an Arts correspondent for the controversial yet exceedingly popular Huffington Post. Much of the content of this uberblog is of a political content. "I shy away from all that and cover culture, both popular and classical". HP has provided her with the freedom to take on all sorts of assignments, from reviewing, interviewing, and media. She throws in a movie now and then – if she goes out she writes about it!
She continues singing, but ultimately knows home is where her heart (and her beloved canine companion, Nora) resides. "The next step in a career like mine would point to putting together gigs in Europe and Japan, as many of my colleagues have. I need to sing, but not to travel."
"At this point I find teaching and coaching to be an important and satisfying step in my life. Sadly, many people who take on teaching have not solved their own vocal issues. I have realized through the years that my initial impulses about singing are what got me started, and were correct. I also learned how to define how my instinct worked and use it. I would like to keep helping people relax and free their instrument. Having come from opera to jazz (and much in between) I exercised every part of my instrument and I believe that there are a lot of good singers who are ready to become great singers. It is a pleasure, rather than a chore, to sing. One should never be tied up in knots - I show people through my own vocal examples ways of reaching their goals.""