Today's highlighted Madison musician is Sara Yervand.
An increasingly visible and esteemed presence in jazz circles around Madison and beyond, Sara Yervand is regularly described by listeners as an accomplished jazz vocalist. She performs regularly at both club gigs and jazz festivals throughout the year, including the Isthmus Jazz Festival and Jazz at Five.
Yervand's biographical self-description provide more details about her music and its sources:
Sara Yervand (former Erzinkian) was born in Armenia, and began to sing jazz, pop and Armenian folk music at the age of 15. She made many stage performances in Armenia, European countries, including Paris (live appearance on a TV show Sacree Soiree), Vienna (where she lived for 3 years), Montreal, Zagreb (Yugoslavia) and others. Her recordings with National Pop-Symphonic Orchestra of TV and Radio of Armenia under direction of conductor and composer Yervand Yerznkyan are outstanding. Sara Yervand and her son David moved to U.S. 10 years ago where they started a life anew. She has a Masters in Musicology and recently earned a MBA degree at Cardinal Stritch University. She lives, works and sings jazz professionally in Madison, WI. She teaches music and sings at Jazz Festivals and regional events.
The singer released Introducing Sara Yervand in 2005, a ten-track album that featured the accompaniment of some of the city's most seasoned instrumentalists. The album was reviewed by Isthmus music writer Tom Laskin, who wrote, "Yervand's voice offer most of the excitement and the surprises here in winning, often very playful performances that at times seem drawn from an intimate club gig." Another review from All About Jazz also favorably appraises the album.
Some of Yervand's recordings are available for listening online. Three are featured on her MySpace page: "It's all right with...," "Love for Sale," and "Lush Life." There's much more information -- including music, photos and a list of past gigs -- available at sarayervand.com.
There are many chances to listen to Yervand sing live over the next couple of months. She performs regularly on Thursday evenings at Fyfe's Corner Bistro on East Washington Avenue; upcoming dates include Oct. 26, Nov. 2, and Nov. 9. Guitarist Sly Raymond performed with Yervand at Fyfe's back in July, and gave high marks both for the vocalist and the venue:
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of sharing their modest stage with the superb local singer Sara Yervand. This girl knows her stuff, and exudes the confidence of a real pro. I've played with so-called Jazz Vocalists before, and there has usually been a major adjustment on my part; but performing in a duo with Sara was as comfortable as the duo gigs I've played with saxophonist Jason Goldsmith. Her interpretation is like that of an instrumentalist. I look forward to our next gig together.
Yervand is also making two appearances this weekend at the Olive Lounge in the downtown Hilton by Monona Terrace. On Friday, Oct. 27, she will be performing with Doug Brown, while on Saturday, Oct. 28 Yervand is appearing with Paul Hastil. There is no cover either night. Yervand's appearances through the end of the year will take her to Cocoliquot and The Bar at the Concourse, after which summer festival season will already be approaching.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.