Ballads and bossa novas

Jazz vocalist Miranda Sage shows versatility

  • May. 11, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Victoria's own classically trained jazz chanteuse, Miranda Sage is showing her softer side with her new album, Both Sides Now.

Jazz vocalist Miranda Sage shows versatility

 

Victoria’s soothing chanteuse, Miranda Sage, is showing her versatility with her latest album, Both Sides Now, which is packed full of ballads and bossa novas.

“We’re taking a softer more mellow approach than in past,” Sage says of her fifth studio album. “It’s about a mood more than any thing else.”

The album’s title comes from Joni Mitchell’s signature song, which Sage has fond memories of signing as a young adult.

“I sang Joni Mitchell’s iconic song throughout Europe as a 20-year-old. I toured the great cities as a Canadian ambassador, signing my own compositions and always including Joni’s tune, about a fourth higher and with a lilt.

“It’s hard to imagine now that I had any idea what the lyrics said. The song came back to me as I watched a beautiful solo aerial dance set over a montage of Canada from coast to coast, accompanied by Joni’s haunting voice, at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies,” she writes in the album’s liner notes.

“This album tackles love and life, looking at it from both sides, because as a 20-year-old, you don’t really have a clue,” she says.

Sage was approached by Don Thompson, with whom she’s collaborated on four albums, to create a warm and sensual album featuring Pat Coleman on guitar.

“He really wanted to showcase my voice,” she says. “I trust him implicitly. He hears something in my voice and has taken me a long way, really pushed me. It’s incredible and very inspiring. He pushes me to be the best I can be. I feel very fortunate.”

Thompson sent her songs over the course of a year and they finally got together to record in August— managing to record the album’s 14 tracks in two hot and muggy days in Nanaimo.

“One of the things that’s different on this album is that on every one of the previous albums we always included some original music. This one is focusing more on mood and feel instead of trying to get a personal message across. I just want to help people feel good.”

Sage’s CD launch show will feature a sextet of accomplished musicians, including Juno Award winners Don Thompson (piano and vibes) and Ken Lister (Bass), alongside Roy Styffe (sax), Pat Coleman (guitar) and Jesse Cahill (drums).

“The level of musicianship is extremely high,” Sage says. “It’s the pinnacle of any musical experience, playing with this particular sextet.” M

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