Guess what? I sing in a jazz band, too

A photo of a jazz singer.

“Variety is the spice of life,” I think is how the saying goes. And, I certainly have plenty of spice in my musical life. You see, when I’m not performing as a singer and guitarist, I sing in a jazz band.

Introducing Standard Deviation Jazz Band

Standard Deviation is a four-piece band comprising vocals (me), keyboards (Chris), upright bass (Stuart) and drums (Dave). We have a broad repertoire of songs, in the jazz, Latin and samba genres, dating as far back as the 1920s.

The gigs we play

As keen musicians, we love to play music. So, we’ve played at all kinds of events. However, what do we prefer? Well, enjoy performing at weddings, corporate events, private functions and music festivals.

Compared to other covers bands, we’re a bit different. As far as I know, there aren’t that many bands like us.

People generally hire the band when they want to add some style to their event. And, we certainly look the part. All four of us wear suits, I sing through a vintage-style microphone, and Stuart plays upright bass.

What I love about being a jazz singer

I didn’t grow up listening to jazz. In fact, The Beatles and Crowded House are my biggest musical influences. However, I discovered jazz about ten years ago while taking piano lessons from our keyboard player, Chris Naughton.

I didn’t quite master the piano (other things got in the way); however, I did keep in touch with Chris, and we eventually formed the first version of Standard Deviation. Back then, the line-up included a saxophonist, and I played some electric guitar — Chris’ son Adam was also on drums.

After a break of a couple of years, Chris and I started playing as a jazz duo. Then, last year, we recruited Dave and Stuart.

Anyway, what do I like about being a jazz singer? Well, for a start, I love the theatrics; jazz is a genre that allows for free expression and all kinds of interpretations. Depending on how we feel or the occasion, we often change how we play the songs in our repertoire. In jazz. ‘mixing things up’ is almost expected.

Singing jazz is also challenging. Coming from a pop/rock background, I often find many of the rhythms and intervals to be counterintuitive: It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing is a real doozy. Thankfully, I always have Chris there to walk me through new material if necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this piece about my other persona as a jazz singer. If you need a jazz band for your event, please get in touch.
Andrew Healey

Editor

Andrew is an Auckland-based writer and musician.

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