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Canadian Vocalist Alex Pangman To Release Collection Of Popular Songs From 1933

Alex Pangman

"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 Gazette


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 it deserves.

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 her own.

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 CD release party in Canada

View exclusive video from Pangman's
recent CD release party in Canada

Alex Pangman · 33
Justin Time Records · Release Date: July 12, 2011

For more information on the Alex Pangman, visit: www.alexpangman.com
For more information on Justin Time Records, visit: www.justin-time.com

For media information, please contact:
DL Media
Amy Miller
DL Media | 124 N Highland Ave | Bala Cynwyd | PA | 19004

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