Canadian Vocalist Alex Pangman To Release
Collection Of Popular Songs From 1933
33 - AVAILABLE JULY 12 ON JUSTIN TIME RECORDS
"In Alex Pangman's musical world, hot tunes flow like bathtub
gin in a back-alley
speakeasy. She roars through a repertoire of vintage swing and blues, possessed
by the coltish spirit of a young Mildred Bailey or Ella Fitzgerald. " - The Montreal
LISTEN TO EXCLUSIVE STREAMING TRACKS FROM 33
Although Alex Pangman grew up a couple of generations late to have sung
with Teddy Wilson, the vibrant young vocalist was proud to labeled Canada's "Sweetheart
of Swing" by American trombonist Dan Barrett. With pipes aplenty, Pangman possesses
the requisite taste, talent and the historical knowledge of an avid record collector
to breathe new life into the sturdy standards of the classic jazz era.
A superb song stylist with growing compositional chops, the prodigiously gifted
Toronto scene-maker has built a loyal fan base amongst jazz listeners and dancers
alike through her critically acclaimed work with her stacked Alleycats, including
two stellar showcases at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Pangman will make her Justin Time Records debut in the United States with
a new disc, appropriately titled, 33. The vocalist explains the meaning
behind the title: "as a longtime devotee of music from the classic genre, I find
something of a kinship with the music that buoyed nations through the 'dirty thirties.'
The initial concept of this record was to honor that kind of spirit with songs popular
in 1933; indeed the bulk of the material (save for one self-penned number) are songs
that were popular in the year 1933 - recorded while I was 33." Along with her longtime
band the Alleycats and featuring guest vocalists Ron Sexsmith and
Denzal Sinclaire - the music is presented with all the love, fun and respect
A compelling talent in her own right, Alex Pangman's voice can be regarded
as even more impressive, knowing she received a double lung transplant just a few
years ago. The smoke-filled venues where Pangman often frequented finally caught
up to the singer, who was battling lung disease at the time. She reluctantly took
a break to recoup; her interest in singing and playing music never waning. In fact,
it was during her self-imposed exile that she stumbled onto the city's bluegrass
and string-band underground.
Pangman fit right in with those who shared her excitement for the enriching sound
of a bygone era when the lines between jazz, blues and country were still blurry
enough to ignore. A hook-up with the Backstabbers' front man Colonel Tom Parker
gave rise to the rollicking roots country combo Lickin' Good Fried. But just as
the tape was about to roll on their debut album session, the vocalist's physical
condition worsened to the point where a double lung transplant was deemed essential.
Determined to finish voicing her parts, vertical or horizontal, Pangman's sweetly
soulful crooning throughout the group's self-released 'Say Uncle!' disc is testament
to her unflinching dedication. The good news is that a donor was found in time and
the surgery was a complete success. Pangman has roared back to full strength in
a remarkably quick recovery that's borderline miraculous.
Pangman's new album, 33, opens with "I Found a New Baby," a jazz standard,
showcasing the talent of her Alleycats through a series of light-hearted
solos. The lively performance comes in under two and a half minutes, just enough
time to exhibit the dexterity and musicianship of the band.
The indisputable talent of Pangman is the centerpiece of 33, however,
it is apparent the vocalist does not hold back in showing off the individual talents
of her band mates throughout the album. Case in point being pianist Peter Hill's
arrangement of the Fats Waller tune, "Ain't Ch'a Glad" and its follow-up track,
"A Hundred Years From Today," featuring beautifully written string arrangements
by violinist Drew Jurecka.
The process of recording Bing Crosby's, "Thanks," proved to be an emotional experience
for Pangman in the studio. "As I sang 'Thanks' in the studio, flashes of my life,
romantic and otherwise, came rushing back to me and I was halted for a time and
unable to continue due to all the emotions the song brought out in me. It needs
to be said that I am so grateful to be able to step into the recording studio and
make music again with new lungs.,. to have been blessed with love in so many ways."
Fats Waller is honored a second time on 33, with a playful version
of, "Honeysuckle Rose." Solos by trumpeter Kevin Clark and clarinetist Ross Wooldridge
help fill-out the happy-go-lucky tune. The soloists' abilities are displayed once
again on, "Happy as the Day is Long," this time with the help of Pangman's longtime
bandmate, Jesse Barksdale and his archtop Gibson guitar.
The vocalist sings the lyrics, "cause I'm glad I'm living..." on "Shine," a song
that could be mistakenly deemed as autobiographical if the listener didn't know
better. Pangman sings with an energy that is not only convincing, but authentic.
Pangman is accompanied by fellow Canadian, Ron Sexsmith, on "I Surrender Dear."
The singer masks his characteristic folk/singer-songwriter style with a laid-back
croon, which would make one think he grew up listening to Sinatra instead of McCartney.
While 33 consists mostly of reinterpretations of songs made popular
during that year, there is one original track on the album titled, "As Lovely Lovers
Do." The song blends perfectly into the era and Ross Wooldridge's musicianship especially
shines during a beautifully articulated tenor saxophone solo.
The next to last tune, "Hummin' to Myself," is described as, "an infectious little
ditty that Drew [Jurecka] and Jesse [Barksdale] lend a manouche feel to." The song
is followed by the album closer, "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me," which Pangman
admits was recorded several years ago with Denzal Sinclaire. "I still remember him
smiling in song across the studio microphone from me-what a voice."
After discovering a songbook of classics at an early age, Pangman quickly began
delving deeper into the sophisticated shellac of the 20s and 30s, which eventually
led to a fortuitous connection with guitar great Jeff Healey, who knew a rare talent
when he heard it. In very short order, Healey produced her impressive 1999 debut
'They Say' (Sensation Records) as well as the 2001 follow-up, 'You Can't Stop Me
From Dreaming.' While facets of Ella Fitzgerald, Connie Boswell and Ruth Etting
could be discerned in Pangman's zesty delivery, that crisp clear voice was unequivocally
After receiving a Songwriter of the Year nod from the National Jazz Awards in 2001
and a slew of other nominations shortly after, Pangman quickly became busy scheduling
collaborations with everyone from Grammy-nominated trumpeter Kevin Clark and the
dashing Denzal Sinclaire to pianist Tyler Yarema and even Jim Galloway's All-Stars.
But Pangman was never keen on being anyone's "chick singer" and to underscore that
point, she selected the repertoire, assembled her band and co-produced 2005's 'Live
In Montreal (Real Gone Gal)' album, which stands among her finest recorded performances.
Pangman's dedication to her music goes far beyond what might be called a passionate
pursuit - it's more like a life-long obsession which began in her teens upon first
discovering Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden along with amazing singers like Mildred
Bailey, Julia Lee and Maxine Sullivan. "An exciting new world with this immense
songbook opened up to me."
View exclusive video from Pangman's
recent CD release party in Canada
Alex Pangman · 33
Justin Time Records · Release Date: July 12, 2011
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