Jazz may have found its heart and legs and chops in America, but you can find it all over the world now, sometimes in surprising places.
I was looking up a tune with a title that intrigued me – “Harold’s House of Jazz” – when I came across the International Jazz Artists Contest in Riga, Latvia, and today’s young artist, Latvian songbird Eliza Bake.
The festival was founded in Latvia in 2004 by Contemporary Music Centre Foundation for jazz musicians under 30, featuring jazz vocalists and a different instrumental category each year and is intended to showcase these young artists for music producers, festival directors and organizers, journalists and professional musicians and public; to promote the proficiency level of growth, the performers’ popularity abroad, and to export Latvia’s jazz reputation to the world.
Who woulda thought?
I didn’t find a lot of personal information about the musicians, including Elīza Baķe, but I did learn that she’s been interested in music since she was a child. She began her studies at Riga Dome Choir School in the Jazz Department and four years ago began to concentrate on jazz vocal.
She’s won a number of vocal contests’ for young musicians and currently continues her studies at Riga Dome Choir School. Eliza also performs with groups like Fine & Mellow and City Jazz Late Night Band.
Even better to JazzCookie’s ear, she does a terrific turn that seems way beyond her young years on “Harold’s House of Jazz.” This one’s by American jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger Richie Cole. I hear a little Blossom Dearie in her voice and whole lotta Ella with the scat lines.
I’m including the full “HH of J” along with a short clip of Eliza performing at the 2016 Riga Festival. There’s a new girl in the metaphorical jazz town, JazzBabies, and she’s burnin’ the place down…! Enjoy…