Ann Arbor native Janelle Reichman celebrates her debut jazz CD at KCH with show featuring local players
When she performs songs from her debut CD, “Middleground,” Friday night at Kerrytown Concert House, Reichman’s ensemble will consist of top local musicians Paul Finkbeiner (trumpet), Tad Weed (piano), Paul Keller (bass) and Pete Siers (drums).
“I grew in in Ann Arbor, went to Community High, where I first got into jazz music, under the direction of Michael Grace,” clarinet/tenor saxophone player Reichman said. “Paul (Keller) I’ve known since I was a freshman in high school. Pete and Paul Finkbeiner—I knew them growing up. All those guys have known me since I was young. So I just thought it would be really great and really fun to hear them play my music and be able to play with an Ann Arbor band.
“I have the utmost of confidence of their musicality,” she said, with a chuckle.
Reichman, who graduated from Community in 2001, and who also attended the University of Michigan, has been busy making a name for herself and performing with the likes of Doc Severinsen, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Anne Hampton Callaway, Ted Rosenthal and Eric Alexander. She said the new CD is a culmination of her experiences living in the Big Apple for the past five years.“I first and foremost wanted this to be a modern jazz record, but I very deliberately wanted, because it’s my first record, to really showcase all the different things I do,” she explained. “It’s really a variety of textures and a variety of grooves—there’s some swing and there’s some groove and there’s some slow and fast. I would say it’s a wide variety.”
She said most of the music for the Kerrytown show will come from the new disc. “There’s 11 tracks on the CD, there’s a lot of music on there, so we may wind up just doing music from the record. Maybe a few other things, but the CD is predominantly what we will be playing.”
Even though her CD is relatively new, Reichman said she’s already planning the next one. All of the proceeds from CD sales are going into an account for her next record.
“I decided that’s the best way,” she explained. “Certainly within a few years I’m going to want to do another one. My thinking was I seemed to be doing OK before I had this added surge of revenue I’m determined to stick with it.”
Although she’s seen shows at KCH, Reichman said she’s never played in the venue before. Although her siblings no longer live in town, she expects her parents, Rick Reichman and Glenda Haskell of Ann Arbor, to be in attendance.
Bassist Keller said he remembers Reichman as a young musician growing up in Ann Arbor.
"I first met Janelle 10 years ago when she was a freshman at University of Michigan. It's been beautiful watching her over the years as she has blossomed into such an incredible musician and person."
Reichman studied jazz at the University of Michigan with Ellen Rowe and eventually got her B.A. in jazz performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
"I love playing with Janelle,” Keller added. “She plays the saxophone with great feeling and soul. Her sound is big and warm and her chops are impressive, to say the least. Janelle's modern jazz compositions are clever and fun to play. They are also technically challenging which means that we, Janelle's sidemen, will have our work cut out for us."