Concord Jazz presents Vagabond, an album from up-and-coming vocalist-songwriter-pianist Spencer Day. Vagabond marks Day’s first release on Concord Jazz and cements his reputation as a balladeer for the new century.
Spencer Day is an artistic vagabond, a modern-day musical nomad. Born in Utah, raised in rural Arizona and currently living in Los Angeles, Day has called many places home. He has wandered amid the expansive and diverse landscape of American music.
“I wanted to create a musical hybrid,” says Day. “I’ve drawn from the Great American Songbook quite a bit in the past, but I really wanted to infuse this album with a more contemporary aesthetic, and also draw on some influences from the early ‘60s, like Burt Bacharach, Roy Orbison and Dusty Springfield. I wanted to create a sound that could stand alone and not be easily put into one category, but at the same time appeal to a broad range of listeners.”
Largely self-taught, he grew up listening to a wide cross-section of composers, including Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon and Paul Simon. He also counts “all those old MGM musicals” he watched as a kid among his primary influences.
While his debut album was primarily a collection of standards, the title track from the follow-up recording, “Movie of Your Life,” won San Francisco Academy of Art University’s best original song in 2005. The resulting video went on to win two DV awards and was selected by Dolby Laboratories as a demonstration video for the global launch of the Dolby 7.1 system.
That same year, he collaborated with improv actor Rafe Chase on a musical, Someday, Love, which premiered at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theater. In addition to writing the score, Day also starred in the show.
Day performed at the 2007 San Francisco Jazz Festival, and has been a recurring headliner in a number of high-profile Bay Area clubs, including Yoshi’s, the Plush Room, the Great American Music Hall and the Herbst Theatre. On the opposite coast, he has earned raves for performances at Town Hall, Joe’s Pub and the Canal Room in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
In the past year alone, he has opened for Rufus Wainwright at the Napa Valley Opera House and appeared at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Tanglewood Jazz Festival. All of which brings the release of Vagabond, an impressive recording by an important new artist: Spencer Day.
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