Monday, Nov 27 2006 | 12:44

Imagine a cold winter night in Toronto, walking past a small jazz club, when you catch through the folds of your scarf the warm deep grooves of a jazz trio playing to an intimate crowd. Welcome to the scene a fresh new sound from singer / songwriter Elizabeth Shepherd and her band.

There are times when something new comes along at once familiar and yet completely original. The album “Start To Move” from the Elizabeth Shepherd Trio is just that. But what’s more she has added her own unique blend of jazz-funk, soul, blues, and samba to the fundamentals of Jazz – improvising a deep driving bass from Scott Kemp, the swinging beat of the drum from Colin Kingsmore, and Elizabeth’s playful piano and captivating voice to tie it all together. Recorded over the winter of 2005/2006, you can feel yourself with them, locked away in a small studio, protected from the cold winter night, pushing through track after track for that deep warm sound.

Elizabeth strives to push the boundaries of what is considered conventional jazz to create a sound all her own. Raised by ministers of the Salvation Army Brass Band, an early exposure to the brass band sounds of the Army Band mixed with her love for house, disco, classical and hip hop, to lay the foundations of a soulful musician. Having trained extensively in conservatories from Alberta to France, and completing a degree in music from McGill University in Montreal, Elizabeth has emerged onto the Toronto jazz scene where she has already established herself as someone to be watched. Playing in some of Toronto’s most popular spots, the Rex Hotel, the Montreal Bistro, Supermarket, and the Distillery District, and has grace the stages from around the world including London UK’s Jazz Cafe twice in one year. She has also appeared on numerous ‘Live in Session’ including Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide show on BBC Radio 1 UK, and Matt Galloway’s Here And Now show on CBC Radio One Toronto. As far as being a “jazz performer”, Elizabeth does not count herself as one to be defined by a particular genre; her music comes straight from the soul, and is more than just what she does, but what she loves.

The album, “Start To Move” is Elizabeth’s debut with Do Right Music, a label which seeks out new talent playing music that is out of the ordinary, and marks the inaugural release of the “Do Jazz” series. Co-produced with John Kong of the Movement Collective, established DJ and Do Right label boss, Elizabeth has put together a mix of original tracks and timeless classics. Her lyrics sing to us her struggle to find a place in a dynamic yet crowded jazz scene, as well as drawing on stories of love and life. From the jazz funk of “Reversed” to the samba beats of “Melon”, the hip hop influenced “George’s Dilemma” and the swinging modal of “Roots”, the Elizabeth Shepherd Trio has given us music that seems effortless in its perfection, displaying her talents and the remarkable chemistry she shares with her band to never compromise her style for those seeking tradition.

Proper vocal Jazz, a name to watch.Straight No Chaser

This is hard-bopping jazz that commands you to move.NOW Magazine

Adding to the worldwide roster of new jazz artists who are bringing something fresh to an old blueprint.DJ

A contemporary jazz artist who isn’t afraid to do her thing.Montreal Mirror

Refreshing in their lack of artifice … righteous grooves.Exclaim!

Audio Files: Listen

Music Video: Elizabeth Shepherd Trio “Four”

The album Elizabeth Shepherd TrioStart To Move” (Do Right! Music) has been released November 24, 2006.

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