Spencer Day returns to Seattle’s Jazz Alley tonight and tomorrow. He has a lineup mixing old favorites, with new songs and fun covers. He is covering the entire range of emotions in several languages… He is openly gay and celebrating Pride Month for two wonderful shows at Dimittiou’s Jazz Alley.
Day was born in Utah, raised in rural Arizona, and currently living in New York City — has wandered amid the expansive and diverse landscape of American music, developing an artistic sensibility that borrows from numerous sources: jazz, musical theater, cabaret, soul, folk, traditional and contemporary pop. He uses intuition and improvisation as his primary tools to craft a sound that is familiar, yet fresh and innovative at the same time. Day’s album Vagabond peaked at #11 on the Billboard Album Chart and stayed on the chart for 47 weeks. The lead single, “Til You Come To Me,” peaked at #3. His recent album, Daybreak, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart.
The Washington Post praised his “cool jazz sensibilities” and “cleverly crafted tales,” with Time Out New York calling him “a compelling, quirky singer-songwriter.” According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “his melodies are infectious, his arrangements are dazzling and, most of all, his delivery is heartfelt and, often, heartbreaking. He is not only a superb pianist, but a brilliant arranger, who consistently celebrates the partnership between his voice and the piano.”
Get tickets and more info here.
Could you tell me a little bit about the show you have planned for Jazz Alley?
I recorded a record named “Angel City”. It is pretty much my first independent project. I wanted to see how well crowdfunding would work. It went well enough that we were able to record the album with a 20-piece orchestra at Capital Records. They brought Frank Sinatra’s mic out of the vault. The album is kind of my meditations on living, loving and leaving Los Angeles. We will be playing some of those tunes in Seattle. They actually apply to any city where people are running to and trying to reinvent themselves. We will also be adding in some of my new music that I am in the studio recording today. The new album is “Broadway By Day”. It is an album of Broadway covers with avante-garde and unique arrangements. This show in Seattle is the first time we are performing some of these songs for an audience.
The new album is going to be jazz covers of Broadway hits?
A lot of times when jazz-oriented people say they are going to do musical theater songs, they do Gershwin or Cole Porter which they would have done anyway. I think that is pretty lazy. There is actually a lot of homophobia in the mainstream jazz world. A few of the musicians and instrumentalists that are out, can kind of relate to it. The ones of us that can really “pass” have been privy to conversations that can really get under your skin. There is just a lot of machismo in that world. One way that manifests is a real hatred for Broadway and musical theater. I really love Cole Porter but I wanted to go all the way over the line. I wanted to add in A Chorus Line, Annie and get really Broadway with it. I love to do really different versions of covers. I love for the song to be halfway through before people realize what song it is. We are trying to be daring and pick songs that ordinarily people wouldn’t touch and find a challenging interpretation of them. I am really excited about it.
Have you ever written any same-sex romance/gay love songs?
I wrote kind of a love song for my hubby in New York. It turned out to be a beautiful piece. All the musicians that I play with are very straight but very sensitive. I love to say that they are “woke.” I had never written a love song to a person. I have written about wanting love or losing love but never really having love. I played it for the “woke” musicians and they loved it. Some even cried. Music can really try to find the universality in people.
How did it feel to get written up in People magazine?
It was great. I wrote a song about clinical depression and sunshine. People magazine was praising it for the bright optimistic lyrics. I was thinking, “are we listening to the same song, because I wrote is about clinical depression and sunshine.” If you really listen to some of your favorite songs the lyrics are about love gone wrong or something pretty dark. I think it is interesting that people like to listen to these songs and even want to dance. I actually just did an Ibiza pool party remix of the song.
Get tickets and more info here.