Because you asked, we’ve brought them back. Les Chanteurs with Carolyne Swayze, Beth Duncan and Shelley Burns. Featuring Joe Gilman on piano, Ruth Davies on bass, Akira Tana on drums, and Mike McMullen on sax and flute. This is going to be a fun filled evening for sure. A Dinner menu will follow. Wednesday performance.
Hailing from Chicago, she has always been more or less her own person. Growing up in the middle in the Motown era, her musical preference listening to Dinah, Sarah, Ella, and Nancy Wilson (she claims to have wanted, at an early age, to be Nancy Wilson more than anything else in life), made her somewhat of an oddity among her peers. She tells the story of auditioning at age fourteen for the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, the America’s Got Talent of the day. Intending on singing the Errol Garner classic, Misty, a severe case of stage fright caused only a glottal gurgle to emit from her throat. After several attempts she was thanked and sent home. There are some who might say that might have been the last time she had nothing to say. Still, following that exprience, she gave no thought of singing again for a number of years. Relocating to California in 1970, she began working in the local nightclubs on weekends to supplement her day job with the Fresno County DA. In 1975 she reloated to San Francisco. While making a thirty-year career at local, state and Federal levels of government, she has performed almost that same length of time as a pop/jazz singer, songwriter, and composer, working the Bay Area hotel and country club circuits throughout mid 1970s inti the early 1990s. In the late 1990s she relocated to Sacramento, and upon retiring from public service in 2007, she once agained turned her focus to the music. In 2016, she established the Sacramento Jazz Cooperative, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of classic jazz.
Beth Duncan’s love for music began at an early age as the sounfs of Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson and Mel Torme floated down the hall from her older brither’s bedroom. With hewr mom always singing and her brothers association with an acapella choir, sing was just a natural part of her life, causing her to sing wherever she could in schiil music programs, community theatre productions and church.
For the next thirty years, she worked across the whole spectrum of broadcast journalism, including stints as a reporter, anchor, news director, and managing editor. It wasn’t until Spring 2002, that singing became more than a side-project in Beth’s life. She decided to plunge back into the music scene by means of a concert to celebrate her 50th birthday. Beth went all out, hiring the best musicians around and taking six months to prepare herself to perform again – and this time it would be all jazz tunes. The response from her friends, family, and co-workers was so positive that she decided to get back into music, this time producing the album Orange Color Sky (2005), a self-released collection of standards sung with passion and style. Seven years later, she followed it up with a second album Comes The Fall (2012) and it was here that the rebirth of Beth’s career as a jazz singer really began. The album debuted at #26 on CMJ’s jazz top 40 charts, just below Diana Krall, received top honors in the 12th annual Independent Music Awards, and got airplay on more than 110 stations nationally, along with stations in Canada, Kobe, Japan, Australia and The Netherlands.
Selley Burns has been perforimng professionally virtually all of her life, and is regarded as one of the premier jazz vocaists on the west coast. Her recordings have been heard on jazz radio stations across the nation, and she has appeared at many jazz festivals in the U.S. , as well as Scotland and Canada.
Shelley has entertained on cruise ships, with Bill Dendle and Eddie Erickson, and has sung with Les Paul, Bucky Pizzarelli, and shared the stage with Bob Fraga, Abe Most, Johnny Varro, and Jimmy Smith. She has conducted vocal workshops in conjunction with jass festivals in the U.S. and Canada, and through the 2000s she appearted annually in Greece, even conducting a jazz vocal camp in Athens. She is the staff vocal coach at two jazz camps in Northern California, and in 2013, received the “Great Lady of Jazz” award from the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. She is a marvelous comedic actress and has been compared to Carol Burnett and Imogene Coca. Like them, she can fracture an audience with laughter or mesmerize them with a beautiful song.