Sunday, July 15, 2012

An unsigned artist in Gioia's The Jazz Standards

Ted Gioia has just published his latest book, The Jazz Standards - A Guide to the Repertoire (Oxford University Press). Gioia has a strong reputation as a writer on jazz, and this book, on a subject that deserves this kind of work, will widely read (at least as widely as this kind of book is normally read).

A nice surprise in the book is the inclusion of this version of "My One and Only Love", which is only available as a home recording on YouTube, made and uploaded by the artist herself:

Susana Raya is a singer-guitarist from Córdoba (Spain), and has just finished her jazz guitar degree in Amsterdam. For Spanish readers, this interview from 2009 seems to portray her well. She appears as a sensitive and sensible musician, who's been hooked to the guitar since she was a kid. She studied classical guitar back in Spain, did a degree in business, but then decided that music is her life. She moved to Amsterdam to study, and she lives there at the moment. 

Admittedly, Gioia's mention is short, setting Susana's take as an example of the possibilities that "My One and Only Love" still offers after so many years. In any case, she's now in a serious book, sharing a list with Charlie Ventura, Art Tatum & Ben Webster, John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Cassandra Wilson, Joshua Redman, Sting, Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. Not bad at all. 

The fact that such an "important" writer as Gioia has acknowledged a "nobody" like Susana in such a way, is a good example of honest musical criticism, independent from aspects such as fame, name, prestige, career, etc. Writers, including myself, and promoters too, should take good note of this in order to avoid distractions and trust our ears more.

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