With a growing catalog of outstanding recordings and a warm, swinging performing style, Audrey Silver is one of the most elegantly creative singers in jazz today. Known for what Hot House Jazz has called “extraordinary artistry” and “a velvet-laden timbre with impeccable phrasing,” Audrey has more recently become known for her compelling takes on well-known pop tunes and her own poignant originals.
Her latest recording project, Very Early, released in October 2016, features the estimable talents of pianist Bruce Barth and drummer Lewis Nash. Musically, it bravely stretches across the spectrum from the cherished show tune-turned-jazz-standard, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” to the late Mose Allison’s “What’s with You,” to several of her own compositions including “The Cold Wind’s Embrace,” and “When the World Was New.”
Born and raised in New York City, Silver graduated from Brown University, where she founded The Higher Keys, the school’s first a capella singing group. After stints working in marketing for CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical) and Chesky Records, Silver returned to school earing an MBA from Columbia University Business School. Semi-finalist International Songwriting competition last album—3 originals on last album
Her singing career began in earnest in 1998 when she teamed with Jon Raney, son of pianist Jimmy Raney and produced her first demo with the help of Ronnie Zito (Woody Herman, Bobby Darin) and Jay Leonhart (Judy Garland, Tony Bennett).
In the meantime, she honed her craft through private study with singer’s Shelia Jordan and Mark Murphy, that latter of whom eloquently described her voice as having “that rare quality of light infectious swing that lights up her tall willowy persona.” Audrey has built a respected and successful career by performing at an array of New York’s best-known jazz clubs and music venues including Jazz at Kitano, 55 Bar, & Cornelia Street Cafe. Nationally, Audrey has performed at large festivals and venues around the country including the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and the former JVC Jazz Festival. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 edition of the international Songwriting Competition.
Audrey has released three albums as a leader through her production company Messy House Productions: Here In My Arms (20, Dream Awhile, and Very Early.
Audrey released her third CD, “Very Early”, in 2016. Included in the stellar lineup are two revered jazz musicians, Bruce Barth on piano and Lewis Nash on drums. The album offers a broad array of music from American Songbook standards, originals, to contemporary tunes and a French song all creatively arranged by singer, composer and Berklee professor, Steven Santoro.
Receiving high praise from the jazz press, JazzTimes.com noted that “her clarity and enunciation on par with the great Jo Stafford and her breath control – a talent so often, and so wrongfully, overlooked – rivals Sinatra’s.” The same website reinforced a comparison she has heard her entire performing life, and one that she doesn’t take offense to: “Not since Karen Carpenter have I heard such a strong alto voice that is so pure and so convincing.”
Now in 2019 she is poised to release her fourth album, Let Me Know Your Heart which will feature Barth back again on piano, trumpeter Marcus Printup, upright bassist Paul Beaudry, drummer Anthony Pinciotti, Tom Beckham on vibes and guitarist Gary Ciprut. The album is centered artistically and emotionally on Audrey’s six newly-penned original songs (out of fourteen total tracks). Crediting musical luminaries as diverse as Bill Evans, Annie Lennox and Arnold Schoenberg as influences on her artistry, Audrey has found new challenges and satisfaction in becoming a songwriter.
“My son who is four was taking a bath and is going through an obsession with boats phase, said Mommy write me a song about boats. It took me about five minutes to write, “Farewell to The Harbor,” a simple blues with a bridge, but there’s actually a statement in there about a child separating from the safety of its parents. That was when I first realized, I knew what I was doing. Songwriting comes from improvising—if you can improvise in a melodic way, you can write a song.”
Headlined by a Silver-penned title track that has the flavor of an Irish jig and features Audrey singing and also playing the Native American flute, the soon-to-be-released, Let Me Know Your Heart also features Audrey’s renditions of Abbey Lincoln’s “Up Jumped Spring,” Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” Altogether it is yet another example of Audrey’s superb ability to set a compelling scene in song.
“I’m a storyteller at heart but I feel different about the way stories are told than I used to. I feel like it’s much more of an emotional than verbal story at this point.”