Singer Roberta Baum Invokes “Spring Jazz Spells”

From Staff Reports

Spring is the season of freshness and rebirth as the world emerges from its winter sleep. On the first full day of Spring, Wednesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m., vocalist Roberta Baum greets the turn of the seasons with “Spring Jazz Spells”.

The innovative singer brings a sense of renewal to well-loved jazz standards and Broadway show tunes, and a fearless spirit to her improvisations. She’ll be joined by fellow weavers of vernal musical magic Michael Jefry Stevens on piano, bassist Craig Sandberg and Will Younts on drums.

Baum brings an evocative intensity to her performances, with a voice that ranges from a gentle zephyr to gale force. The Brooklyn-born singer came to Western North Carolina in 2007 by way of New York, Israel, California and Florida, drawn by the creative energy here.

She credits her mother with instilling a deep love of many styles of music, and she knew from an early age that music would be her life. A free spirit, Baum was drawn to the improvisatory and expressive possibilities of jazz, being especially enamored of the great Betty Carter. Upon first hearing Carter in the late 1970s she turned to a friend and said, “That’s what I want to be”.

Baum’s vocal work has been critically acclaimed by Downbeat and Musician Magazine. The Hartford Press describes Baum as “Endlessly suggestive and inventive. Sensual and energetic, she breathes with a musical verve that evokes a fiery lust for freedom we may have forgotten we have." 

Baum captivates audiences with unusual phrasing, repertoire choices, and otherworldly sounds calling to mind ancient languages. She brings a sense of forward-looking adventure to jazz standards and Broadway show tunes, but behind the free spirit lies a wealth of serious intent derived from immersion in the timeless vocal stylings of greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter.