Singer/Songwriter Lauren Kinhan has been creating genre-merging music for years as evidenced in her latest collection of songs. Avalon is another fine example of how she comfortably bridges the jazz and adult alternative worlds. The last 18 years of her career have taken her all over the world and allowed her to work with some of the industry’s great artists. Parenthood influenced the album’s thematic depth and provided a beautiful filter in which to experience this growing repertoire. Avalon speaks elegantly to solitude, love, life, loss and JOY!
Legendary Phil Ramone describes Lauren as a true songstress, “She is musical, lyrical, and really delivers vocally.” Phil produced Lauren’s debut release, Hardly Blinking, in 2000. Avalon is a good look at some of the mile markers since then. Her versatility in singing and contributing original music is evidenced in her years with New York Voices, and co-founding Moss and JaLaLa. Moss, made up of Luciana Souza, Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann, Peter Eldridge and Lauren, released their self titled CD in 2008 to rave reviews. In 2010, it was included in DownBeat’s Best CDs of the 2000s. JaLaLa is short for Janis Siegel, Laurel Massé and Lauren, and they released their tribute to Johnny Mercer, That Old Mercer Magic, in 2009. “Spring, Spring, Spring” was selected from their CD to be on the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood‘s documentary about Mercer titled, The Dream’s on Me.
Avalon features some of Lauren’s closest friends who happen to be some of New York’s finest musicians. It is a rich project with well crafted arrangements highlighting Lauren’s Wittman, the singer-songwriter “whisperer,” co-produces this project brilliantly. Peter Eldridge, fellow New York Voices band mate, plays piano and co-pens some songs. Jonatha Brooke joins her on “Here After” while Rob Mounsey adds an exquisite string arrangement. Romero Lubambo guests on “Until You’re Mine” and “Here is My Avalon” and Donny McAslin and Joel Frahm add their signature horn handiwork. Andy Ezrin is also featured on piano and B3 organ. The sophisticated and nuanced attention to detail is present throughout the recording.
Lauren’s debut CD, Hardly Blinking, was produced by a powerhouse of great music men; Phil Ramone, Frank Filipetti and Rob Mounsey. The CD comes from another era of Lauren’s life which draws upon living in the East Village, working through relationships, pondering lost youth, mourning loved ones, past pain, and ultimately finding love. Where there are a few more pop and rock elements prevalent in this one, the style is the same. Lauren meanders through the genres and crafts the song where it needs to go. “Ask Amelia,” I Saw Love Today,” and “Heave and Earth” are particular high notes.
She joined New York Voices in 1992. They share two Grammy awards for their featured work on Paquito D’Rivera’s Brazilian Dreams in 2003 and Count Basie Orchestra’s Live at the Machester Craftsman Guild in 1997. They continue to use the choral canon as the playground for their four voices as evidenced in their most recent release A Day Like This.
You can hear Lauren’s sound in and among the over 50 singers recorded on the latest Bobby McFerrin project VOCAbuLaireS. It’s an epic re-orchestration of Bobby’s original music by Roger Treece. Also showcasing her vocal prowess is her work on Ornette Coleman’s Sound Museum, Three Women. When asked to sing for Ornette in a small practice room in the old Baldwin offices, she spent a glorious afternoon talking about music, harmelodics and singing his composition “Don’t You Know By Now.” For a short time, she toured with Ornette and his band in Italy, culminating with his Lincoln Center “?Civilization” Gala with Billie Higgins and Charlie Haden among the many great musicians participating in the 1997 production.
In 1996 Lauren partnered with Jiro Yoshida on the King Record release Guitar and the Moon. With stellar quartet Jiro, Eddie Gomez, Andy Ezrin and Ben Wittman they had their way with a collection of standards and covers.
Lauren served as a Governor for the Recording Academy from 2008-2010. She now sits on their National Jazz Committee while continuing her service on the sub committees for Education, Jazz and Grammy Career Day. Teaching and mentoring is a growing part of her schedule. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.