Critical Update

Here's a recap of what critics are saying about Dollison and Marsh, "Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider" (ArtistShare)

"Flawless and beautiful. Dollison's voice beautifully becomes the trumpets. Their sound completely captures Schneider's arrangements. A vocal tour de force."
ALL ABOUT JAZZ.COM, Larry Taylor (April 17, 2010)
"Fresh and distinctive, absolutely haunting." 4 out of 4 stars.
BUFFALO NEWS, Jeff Simon (April 11, 2010)
"With Vertical Voices, the talented contemporary singers demonstrate the implementation of jazz voice better than in any other form."
JAZZ O! NEWS, JLD (April 10, 2010)
"The result is pure heaven. Excellent for those midnight to first sunlight conversations."
ST. JOE NEWS-PRESS, Alonzo Weston (April 8, 2010)
"Successful beyond imagining, Vertical Voices is simply the strongest affirmation of the power of jazz singing that I've heard in a long, long time."
OTTAWA CITIZEN, Peter Hum (April 6, 2010)
"Simply astounding, absolutely stellar. Their work should garner a legion of new fans. The duo does Schneider’s work complete poetic justice."
SOUNDSOFTIMELESSJAZZ.COM, Paula Edelstein (March 31, 2010)
"As a fan of both wordless vocalese and Brazilian-flavored jazz, how could I not be swept up in Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh's lush trills on "Vertical Voices, The Music of Maria Schneider?'"
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, Jonathan Takiff (March 30, 2010)
"More than just a technical tour de force, this CD is a miracle of kaleidoscopically varied vocal color that provides an arresting new perspective on Schneider's musical genius."
ARTSJOURNAL.COM - TOP FIVE, Terry Teachout (March 28, 2010)
"Dollison and Marsh have accomplished the remarkable task of creating vocal renderings of Maria Schneider’s mesmerizing instrumental music." 
"A two-voice orchestra, an ambitious project, a novel new CD."
CAPITAL PUBLIC RADIO, Feature Arts Story, Paul Conley (March 15, 2010)
"Should you wonder whether Maria Schneider's compositions are singable, the answer is a resounding yes. Such a good idea!"
ALL ABOUT JAZZ, Suzanne Lorge (August 26, 2009)
"I'm with Schneider on this one. You have to give Dollison and Marsh full marks for their ambition, execution, commitment and musical taste."
OTTAWA CITIZEN, Peter Hum (August 26, 2009)
"Here's an opportunity to hear their remarkable vocal transformations." 
THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF MUSIC, Don Heckman (August 26, 2009)


Generation Next

Julia and I have had a great week spending time in the L.A. area leading up to our current hang at the Monterey Next Generation Festival.  We're in the Portola Plaza Hotel, which hosts the festival. Junior High, High School and College instrumental and vocal jazz groups from all around the country submit audition recordings to be selected as finalists for this weekend's competition.  Sac State has both of our vocal jazz ensembles in the running for the college vocal jazz prize, which is a bit of money and a performance slot at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.  The other college groups are killing...Mt. San Antonio College, Contra Costa College, Cuesta College and American River College, so it'll be a hip day tomorrow when we all perform. 

Today we'll be watching high school vocal jazz groups, for the most part, including Folsom's "A" choir, Orange Lutheran, L.A. County Performing Arts, Downey, and more great groups that have slipped my mind at the moment.  Also performing for the first time will be my Monterey County High School Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble; the same group that we'll be touring with in Japan this July. 

I'm going to be tweeting the events of the day as much as possible.  Find my on Twitter at "kerrymarsh."

A refreshing video-of-the-day...Pat Metheny's "First Circle."

The Power of Jazz Singing

Julia and I are very happy to have read an extensive blog post by Peter Hum of The Ottawa Citizen, reviewing our CD Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider in depth.  I definitely recommend reading the whole thing, but if you're in a hurry, here are some notable quotes:

  • Dollison and Marsh...have been successful beyond imagining in transporting the lush sweep and deep emotion of Schneider's music into their fascinating, boldly beautiful vocal world.
  • Although the recording was a feat of recording wizardry...the final work sounds remarkably direct and natural, affording a striking new perspective on Schneider's work.
  • There's not a false note to be heard from Dollison and Marsh, and their improvised solos have the depth, ingenuity and impact of the comparable playing by Schneider's instrumentalists.
  • I felt [a] shudder of anticipation when Marsh began singing his solo on "Hang Gliding," and was hit by a subsequent emotional wave as his solo peaked and the vocal chorus kicked in behind him. I became kind of verklempt, and had to stop listening in the newsroom because I didn't want my colleagues looking at me funny.
  • "Vertical Voices is simply the strongest affirmation of the power of jazz singing that I've heard in a long, long time.
  • my perfect world, "Vertical Voices" ... would be as successful as any of the much more commercial and bland vocal CDs that routinely top the jazz charts...


Serious online vocal jazz clinics Julia and I have figured out how to most efficiently and effectively do online vocal jazz clinics now, and we're going to have to get the word out about it, because we just did a round this evening for a Northern California school, and we feel pretty good about it, honestly.  Here's the deal...

For something like 5% of what you'll probably spend going to one of the big festivals (with transportation, fees and lodging), you can have the following experience from us...

- Upload a video of your group performing any number of tunes, using our handy "Clinic Drop Box" on this site (gotta be signed in)
- Use the Online Clinic order form to let us know what you'd like us to do, with the best value option probably being the audio only clinic, at $20 per minute of music submitted.
- Julia and I will watch your video while we record into our beautiful studio mic, giving feedback as we pause the video often to elaborate on points and give demonstrations.  We won't be whispering, and we won't be breathing into a mic, and you'll get it back REALLY soon after you send it, in the form of a digital file that you can download directly from our server from a link.
- You'll be able to share the link with your students, if you want, and have them listen outside of class, prepping for the next rehearsals, in which you can tackle some of the new stuff we caught.
- You'll go to Reno, Greeley, Lionel Hampton, SWCC, Fullerton or WHEREVER and score about five points higher than you would have otherwise (or, in a non-competitive sense, you'll get more specific feedback from the judges that adds to what we caught and what you've been stressing to your kids all year anyway!).

Seriously, a pretty good deal, I think, and it's absolutely enjoyable for Julia and me, as well.  

Get in touch and hook your group up with an online clinic right away!  That way, you won't have your kids doing this...


Ahhh...the return of schadenfreude...

I may not have a new video EVERY day from now on, and I'll probably just sprinkle in some good schadenfreude whenever it seems appropriate to do so...and I just hate that I missed posting this beauty on Easter Sunday!  Here it is, a day late:

I checked out the second half of a great show at J.B.'s, Sacramento's premiere jazz club, last night.  Joe Berry, an extraordinarily talented young saxophonist, and Jessie Clemens, formerly the lead soprano of my top groups at Sac State for five years and now freelance jazz vocalist in town, led a talented group in a tribute concert to the Getz/Gilberto sound.  Very tasty and refined work from both of them.  Clemens' grasp of Portuguese was a big hit with the crowd, and I dug it, too, but my favorite thing about her singing was her total sense of ease and poise onstage, and her mesmerizing use of tone and air to tell the story.

Julia got the first three or so pages sung on a new demo for "Lorem Ipsum," a contemporary classical women's group piece I wrote for Naperville North High School for the past fall.  We're just now getting to the demo, unfortunately, but the good news is that it's sounding really, really great.  I think it may be popular with a totally different crowd than normally buys my charts, and I may have to write a few more of these, if they're going to sound this good on the demos!'s killing, and totally different than anything else I've written.  If you're curious about the Latin text for the piece (based on the title)...just do a quick Google search and see for yourself.  :)