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JazzTimes magazine describes vocalist Typhanie Monique as a “modern-day Sarah Vaughan with iridescent traces of Lena Horne.” Music lovers in her hometown of Chicago and throughout the Midwest know her as that region’s local favorite—warm, soulful and charismatic.
Typhanie is a performer, educator and recording artist whose three critically acclaimed, independently produced albums have captured the ears of Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich and thousands of dedicated fans. She has shared the stage with jazz’s elite, including Joe Lovano, Chris Potter,The Manhattan Transfer and Mavis Staples.
A bold, engaging performer with the ability to reach straight to the heart of her listeners,Typhanie has graced jazz’s most distinguished venues, including Chicago’s Jazz Showcase and CityWinery,Smalls Jazz Club in NewYork,The Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis and The Dakota in Minneapolis. She has enthralled audiences and brought enthusiastic crowds to their feet at major outdoor festivals like Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Jazz Festival.
Typhanie’s long-awaited album CALL IT MAGIC reflects her focused passion as a vocalist and her hard-won maturity as a human being. Envisioned as a conversation and a journey, the album pairs jazz and pop standards with originals penned by Typhanie in a call-and-response of hard-hitting emotion and thoughtful reflection. Over the course of 10 tracks,Typhanie reveals her vocal depth and versatility as she transports listeners down the rough roads of love, struggle, heartbreak, acceptance and rebirth.
Featuring guest contributions from clarinetists Ken Peplowski and Victor Goines, B-3 organist Tony Monaco and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm, CALL IT MAGIC was made with Grammy-recognized producer Jeff Levenson.
An in-demand educator and vocal coach, Monique served on the adjudication panel of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition. She has studied privately with leg- endary vocalists Bobby McFerrin, Shelia Jordan and the late Mark Murphy, and consid- ers herself a lifelong student of the art of singing.
“Monique has never lacked for stage presence or vocal audacity. ... One of these days, the rest of the world is going to discover her.” —Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“[Monique] brings a bright soprano voice to the stage with heartfelt passion and musi- cal accuracy. Her expressiveness indicates a rising star.” —Jim Santella, Cadence
“Typhanie Monique shows off her considerable chops in vintage and neosoul as well as jazz classics.” —Time Out Chicago
LINER NOTES: TYPHANIE MONIQUE – CALL IT MAGIC
Typhanie Monique popped into my life as an intern at DownBeat magazine. She was a fireball of life, wit and curiosity. And, yep, she still is.
Typh said she wanted to be a singer, a jazz singer, and we shook our heads knowingly, the way jazz critics can. It was a, “Sure, kid, good luck with that,” because, well, it ain’t easy!
Make no mistake: Typhanie Monique had the goods—a deep-rooted, soulful voice, a serious love of the music; the sass, smarts and guile to front a band. But, frankly, there are lots of those types out there already. What wasn’t quite as apparent on the surface was that Typhanie also had (and still has) a pit bull’s determination and a dedication to craft that rarely rolls into Chicago or any other city on this earth. She worked the circuit around town for a long time—the clubs, dumps, dives and weddings. Typh heard the critics say she wasn’t ready yet (this one included), and poured that gasoline onto a fire that fueled her desire to be the best singer she could be. She studied, seriously studied, classically studied. She honed her technique. She worked out her shit.
In short, Typhanie Monique became a singer—an amazing jazz singer. She’s logged the miles, surfed the styles, tried, erred and triumphed, and discovered exactly who she is, and how she wants to sound.
That’s exactly what you’ll hear on Call It Magic. Here we have an artist in full and beautiful control of her voice and her vision.
This is a deep recording about the full range of emotions surrounding this thing called love. It’s a story told in 10 acts, 10 songs carefully chosen and unfolded by a master vocalist and backed by an incredible ensemble. It’s packed with beauty and surprise, smiles and, yes, a few tears.
“The sentiment of this record is about loving, mature love, understanding the lessons of love,” Typhanie said about the project.
“Magic,” which kicks off this collection, comes from the band Coldplay, arranged and performed as no Coldplay song has ever been heard before. There’s a perfect wash of strings, pianist Ben Lewis percussively tugging at the heart, bassist Joshua Ramos and drummer Dana Hall swinging with power and taste. And Typhanie’s voice flows like a velvety punch to the gut when she wails, “And I just got broken, broken into two/ But I call it magic, when I’m next to you.”
The arrangement on “Just Friends” just grooves, refusing to take the easy road. “This Bitter Earth” is a shiver-and-a-sigh ballad with a killer tenor sax solo by Joel Frahm. “What Is This Thing Called Love/This Thing” swings hard with Tony Monaco on Hammond B-3 and Typh popping some very cool vocalese over the top. Don Henley’s “Heart Of The Matter” becomes a prayer of hope and strength in Monique’s hands. “Where Is Love/Love Is” is a lush power ballad.
On Monaco’s tune “Called Love,” Typhanie and Tony crawl under the cover of the blues for an astounding B-3/vocal duet. “Sister/Miss Celie’s Blues” is an ambitious romp with killer horn section work including strong solos by Ken Peplowski on clarinet and Marques Carroll on trumpet. “Letting My Love Go” presents Monique’s voice in a different light with drummer Greg Artry driving the beat and Monique’s old duet partner, guitarist Neal Alger, sitting in for a guest spot.
And the capper to this beautiful program is Monique’s take on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” It’s a perfect example of her artistry. She reshapes, re-harmonizes and resurrects this chestnut, making it sound classic and modern in a way that only she can.
This is an album that’s been years—heck, decades—in the making. It’s where the road has taken her, and it’s a beautiful spot to take in the view. It’s music made with great thought, even more care and, yes, a little magic. That’s the artistry of Typhanie Monique.
Frank Alkyer, Publisher, DownBeat