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Friday, January 24, 2014 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Recording artist Nicolas Bearde, one of today’s premier male jazz vocalists, has won acclaim from critics and jazz audiences alike worldwide for his ‘buttery baritone’ and deeply imaginative interpretations. A seasoned and highly respected showman on stage, Bearde’s brilliant and lush vocals combine passion, wit and sensuality with an engaging rapport that captures and draws the audience into his performance. Forged from his Nashville, TN roots and his 1980’s initiation into the thriving San Francisco music scene, Nicolas’ unique approach and electrifying delivery of his originals, time-tested standards, blues and other familiar jazz works is unmistakable.
For the past 20 years Nicolas has also delighted audiences with his vocal acrobatics as a member of Bobby McFerrin’s wildly innovative a cappella ensemble, “Voicestra,” while carving out his own distinctive solo career. With classic stylings and cool interpretations of jazz standards and blues, Nicolas is the definitive jazz romantic. He’ll steam you up with an original soulful song like “Love Me,” pull you into the nuanced emotion of the classic Bill Wither’s tune, “Can We Pretend,” or captivate you with a stirring rendition of “Naima,” a John Coltrane ballad.
Born and raised in Nashville, singing as long as he can remember, Nicolas’ love of Jazz and R&B classics can be laid at his mother’s feet. He remembers: “My Mother and her crew loved to have card parties, listen to late night radio, finger-pop, whoop and shout ‘Honey, hush’ while listening to Billy Eckstine and Cab Calloway, And… oh how they loved a good ballad!” One of her favorites, “Moonlight in Vermont,” stayed in Bearde’s head for over 40 years before he recorded it.
Nicolas started Right Groove Records in 1997 in order to launch his solo projects, starting with Crossing the Line. The album was a superb showcase for Nicolas’ songwriting skills as well as his masterful singing – it landed in the Top 10 on British Soul charts, garnering glowing reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 2005, Bearde produced the follow-up, All About Love, with a more unabashedly romantic repertoire, which was added to both Smooth Jazz radio formats nationally and Beach Music Play lists in the South East. His original tune, “Summer Sunday,” hit #1 on the Beach Music Charts for eight weeks, running in the summer of 2005.
Nicolas released his third album, Live at Yoshi’s – a Salute to Lou in October 2008—an outgrowth of a “Tribute to Lou Rawls” live show that he had been presenting. It was record live at Yoshi’s, Oakland, California’s famed jazz club, and was a favorite on radio worldwide.
His fourth, Visions, released in February of 2013, is a vibrant, up-tempo, soulfully driven collection of jazz originals and standards that covers a wide range of material and speaks volumes about Bearde’s diverse musical influences. Produced by Grammy musical director, Larry Batiste, and backed by a varied roster of all-star musicians, including Alphonso Johnson, David K. Mathews, and Will Kennedy.