Monday, June 9, 2008

Interview with jazz singer Stephanie Browning

stephanie browning, jazz singer, chicagoStephanie Browning made a name for herself as the Artist-in-residence at the world renowned Gold Star Sardine Bar, a listening room reminiscent of Paris in the '30s. The venue was an international gem and captivated audiences assisted Stephanie in honing her improvisational skills and soulful voice. During her two-year tenure she performed for celebrities and European royalty, as well as many a love struck couple out to make a memorable night.

While The Gold Star is gone, fans and listeners are lucky to have a beautiful snapshot of one night in its romantic and magical life with Stephanie Browning's CD "Live at the Gold Star." Made in single takes, without manipulation, the recording is as bare and revealing as the mirrored stage from which Stephanie and the band transport the listener into the spot-lit club. Many have found themselves so caught up that they applaud right along with the recorded audience for Stephanie and the grooves and tasty solos of pianist Jeremy Kahn, bassist Larry Kohut and drummer Joel Spencer (you can purchase your own copy of the CD at

Since that time, Stephanie has been featured at the Chicago area's most notable jazz clubs, including Andy's, The Green Mill, Pete Millers, Pops for Champagne, as well as many others.

Cincy Groove: Are you based out of Chicago?

Stephanie Browning: I am, I have been in Chicago since 1991. I was born and raised in Colorado, its a lovely state but there's not much to do there for a jazz singer. Although, because there is such a great standard of living there, a lot of high level, professional musicians live there. When I first started singing in Colorado, somebody came up to me after one of my gigs and said to me "You got a lot of talent kid, but you will never get any better unless you work with musicians who are better than you." So I thought "Let me see who is around". It turned out Carmen McRae's rhythm section lived in Denver. Right around that time she was having some medical issues and canceled her summer tour. So the next gigs that I booked, I booked Carmen McRae's rhythm section. That was one of the scariest things I have ever done. But that just shows you what kind of talent there is in Denver.

stephanie browning, jazz singer, chicago

This was 17 years ago, but now I hear that have a lot more of a jazz scene there. But at the time there was no way I could do the number of gigs I needed to do to get better, so I moved to Chicago. Chicago gave me the chance to do a thousand gigs, make a thousand mistakes and learn from every one of them.

Read the full interview here

No comments: