Sylvia Howard: “I’d been singing and improvising before I learnt to speak”

Famous jazz singer talks about her career and  taste in music

American Sylvia Howard, the brightest modern jazz singer, is going to Belarus to share her love for music with Minsk audience. Her show accompanied by saxophonist Cyril Bubyakin and The Jazz Classic Trio (piano) will be held on 25th and 26th March in the Jazz-Club (Palace of the Republic).

Sylvia Howard sang and recorded with the best American and European jazz musicians, was a headliner of the biggest jazz festivals. She was born and rose in the world in Los Angeles. Since 1990 Sylvia has been living in Paris, where she became the first American who was a part of the Superior State Council of Cultural Development and Protection in France.

The head of the Jazz-Club Eugene Vladimirov interviewed Sylvia Howard specially for

— Mrs. Sylvia, we will enjoy your fantastic concerts soon. It’ll be your first visit to Belarus.

— Yes, it’s my first visit to Belarus, but I’ve heard a lot about your international festival JazzinMinsk. TAKE-6, the best band in the world with 28 Grammy Awards, gave a concert there!

— Minsk jazz festival is held every year in November. Legendary performers come to us. Would you like to take part in such a festival?

— Yes, I would! I’m very glad that you invite me to perform in Minsk. I hope that people’ll love my music and musicians from Saint-Petersburg who are going to perform with me. I’m very proud of the fact that I’ll come to Minsk.

— What  have you prepared for Minsk?

— Jazz masterpieces! Melodies that amazed the whole world! I’ll sing songs of Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald from my favourite album «Now Or Never» that was accompanied by the legendary French company Now Or Never.

— As far as I know, you’ve been working with Black Label Swingtet since 1980, it was a year when you were very young and moved from the USA to France.

— Yes, we’ve already been together for 35 years! I met true love in Paris and couldn’t leave him. We are very happy to create true swing music. Together with Black Label Swingtet I’ve traveled the whole world, performed with great Grappelli and Chet Baker. But I also have my own quartet and even a piano trio in Paris.

— Did you accept an invitation of Saint-Petersburg Jazz Classic Trio with pleasure?

— Yes, with pleasure. I’m sure that Petersburg is a jazz capital of the world as well as Paris.

— Who inspires you?

— I had different idols while I was growing up. I liked Nina Simone. I also liked Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. I loved Ray Charles and stole away to listen to him. Among jazz singers I loved Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Sarah Vaughan who was really popular in the USA influenced me deeply.

— Why is your love for jazz so strong?

— My parents enjoyed music: classical music, blues, jazz. I always listened to it. It runs in my blood. My mother was a great fan of Ella Fitzgerald. She said that I could sing and improvise jazz before I learnt to speak.

— Do you want maybe to say something to your fans in Minsk?

— I come to Minsk to share my love for this music with Belarusian audience, to present a little joy of my heart and the hearts of my musicians. I hope that we’ll light the hot sun of Los Angeles and Paris at the Minsk concerts in March.




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About Ekaterina Myasnikova (3 Articles)
Ekaterina is a philologist. She likes reading, travelling, learning languages, good music, theatre and sport. She is interested in different kinds of translation.

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