Kaylene Peoples does a lot of things. She has been called a renaissance woman more than once in the press and her musical disciplines are varied. These disciplines range from jazz, classical, and even pop. Since her release of her first jazz album All Jazzed Up!, Kaylene has embraced “real” jazz with a bear hug. Kaylene released her second jazz masterpiece titled My Man, and with that she invited legends Hubert Laws, Bunny Brunel, and Bobby Lyle to guest perform, seeming to further make her point . . . “It’s all about the ‘real’ jazz.” Between these two albums, the performances and new arrangements of songs from the Great American Songbook have been the theme with the exception of “Run Away with Me,” “My Only Crime,” and the song that charted independently back in 2005 “Do You Remember?” . . . her three originals that could easily be mistaken for standards off of All Jazzed Up!
Ultimately, Kaylene started a private Facebook group just for real jazz lovers. Back in 2012, she created the Indie Hotspot Jazz Series to bring more ‘real’ jazz to Los Angeles on a regular basis. And it’s not so hard to understand why her live performances consist of only ‘real’ jazz. What is real jazz? The term defines when the medium became popular in the United States. Many songs that were featured in classic Old Hollywood films by a well-known group of composers and performed by popular singers of the time. This practice continued for almost a century now, but has broken up into many different styles of jazz.
Jazz is defined as an improvisational discipline, where the instrumentalists use modal jazz changes as their guide. Classic vocal jazz consisted of jazz chords with subtle to extreme vocal improvisation, sometimes incorporating scatting. Standards & Stories from the Great American Songbook was a concept Kaylene Peoples had to marry standards with real jazz. [Footnote: Today we have a genre called smooth jazz, which is often confused with real jazz. The theory of the two genres are very different, yet they both have their own unique appeal. And sometimes these two genres cross over into the other genre’s style.]
“I wanted to let people know more about some of these well-known songs, many of which have evolved into jazz standards. Every song has a backstory. I also thought it would be a good way to introduce real jazz to a young audience, too. I really think that was accomplished with this recent private concert,” states Kaylene Peoples
Kaylene Peoples Standards and Stories from the Great American Songbook premiered April 2nd, 2017, at the Mouse House Studio in Altadena, the third private concert put on by The Indie Hotspot. It was an intimate setting with an impressive lineup: Kaylene Peoples (vocals/flute), Bunny Brunel (acoustic bass), Mahesh Balasooriya (grand piano), and Bryan Cabrera (drums). Chase Masterson narrated and sang three Peggy Lee standards. Using a traditional trio and old-fashion storytelling, the audience was captivated by the stories and performances by this mega-talented ensemble.
(Photos: Robert B. Fisher)
The set opened with the trio performing “Stella by Starlight.” Chase Masterson delighted the audience with her first Peggy Lee song, “I Love Being Here with You,” then she sat down in front of the audience and read from her oversized, gold storybook stories about each song Kaylene was to perform; songs which included “All or Nothing at All,” “How Insensitive,” “Girl from Ipanema,” and “Lush Life.” Kaylene spoke about “One Note Samba,” and “My Man.”
“Everybody loved the it, and hearing the history of these songs made the show more memorable.” – Bunny Brunel
In the Second set, the trio opened with “Caravan” and “Someday My Prince Will Come,” followed by Chase performing “Alright, Okay, I’m in Love with You.” More stories were read and bassist Bunny Brunel tossed out a few more unknown facts, in which the audience enjoyed. Kaylene performed “Once I Loved,” Straighten Up & Fly Right,” “How Deep Is the Ocean,” Cheek to Cheek.” Chase Masterson sang her final Peggy Lee standard, “Why Don’t You Do Right?” She and Kaylene sang a duet of “Happy Birthday” to Kaylene’s mother, followed by Kaylene’s unique version of “Stormy Weather.”
Thoughts about the Show by Luisa Dunn:
“Last evening my husband [Larry Dunn] and I were blessed and privileged to attend a performance by the gorgeous and talented Kaylene Peoples entitled “Kaylene Peoples – Standards & Stories from the Great American Songbook.” It was totally awesome and beautiful, featuring some extremely talented musicians: World renowned bassist Bunny Brunel; pianist Mahesh Balasooriya, and drummer Bryan Cabrera. It was a very intimate setting and the evening had two sets. Stories about each composition was read by the host Chase Masterson, then followed by an outstanding performance of each tune, some of which featured Miss Masterson who also did an excellent job with beautiful vocals.
“Kaylene Peoples’s vocals and flute playing exuded par excellence, and with a charming and powerful stage presence that was second to NO ONE!
“It was also unbelievably wonderful to see several young children in the audience from age 4 and up and they were all mesmerized, totally consumed with the music. Kaylene was so very gracious and gave each of the children gifts and a great word for their future; thank God someone is looking out for the children and this legacy of wonderful music.
“Last but not least, Kaylene’s gorgeous mother [Lee] was front and center, as this was also a celebration of her mom’s birthday.
“So what can we say . . . moments like these are few and far between. Thank you so much for the invite!
Much love Luisa Dunn
“I can see this concept becoming a regular thing. ‘Standards and Stories from the Great American Songbook’ is really inventive and so informative. I really enjoyed being a part of it.” – Chase Masterson
In keeping with the real jazz theme, Kaylene Peoples will be continuing with “Stories and Standards from the Great American Songbook.” To learn more about Kaylene Peoples, visit her music website, or join her Facebook group called Kaylene Peoples “Real” Jazz – Concerts & News!
Photos by Robert Fisher (unless otherwise credited)
Article by Sean McKenzie