Ted Nash & Kristen Lee Sergeant Relocate And Innovate With “Song Sessions” (BroadwayWorld.com feature)
Watch this and future concerts, “Jazz & Juice” episodes and more at Kristen’s Patreon Page.
When New York City was placed under an isolation order due to the current health crisis, jazz musicians Ted Nash and Kristen Lee Sergeant found themselves in limbo. Recording dates for Kristen’s third album were canceled, as were Ted’s concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the dangers of being at the epicenter of the pandemic were looming. Both artists at a loss for what to do, they took their lead from D’lynne Plummer and Rick Morello of Atlanta. Plummer, Kristen’s best friend, and her husband offered the twosome an out of town place to shelter. The prospect of being out of the city with friends, wide-open spaces, and two kids too tempting to pass up, Sergeant and Nash packed up one car with two people, eight instruments and recording equipment and they hit the road, Jack, with every intention of comin’ round once more… when it was safe. A day later, they had been Covid-19 tested and were quarantined in Georgia.
Ted and Kristen are people with a passion for their work, and after a few days of visiting with their new housemates, the musicians were back on track, seeking out ways to create online musical experiences all their own, searching for the creation of content that was most authentic to their collective voice as artists and the aesthetic of their brand. In no time at all, Nash and Sergeant had created a guest room studio and “Song Sessions,” which is set to premiere in collaboration with Jazz At Lincoln Center on the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Facebook Page.
Says Sergeant, “As a singer, I require collaboration to do what I do – a solo voice needs other instruments. This has been a challenge to co-create from isolation. I wanted to make something personal, beautiful, and also long-lasting that could move people.” In keeping with the spirit of collaboration, Kristen invited her NYC band members Jeb Patton, Hannah Marks, and Jay Sawyer to contribute individual recordings of their parts to the songs, all of which were assembled by Ted and Kristen for her to sing to and him to play over.
While Kristen has two albums that have garnered much praise and Ted has two Grammys that have gathered no dust, the process of being filmmakers was a new adventure for the duo, as Ted did double-duty in front of and behind the camera, and both musicians switched off on editing both audio and video, and in the end, they found themselves with a series that they will be producing on a regular basis. “It took about four times the amount of work we expected – but we learned a lot. We are embracing this as an opportunity to become more creative. This could become the new norm,” offers Nash.
The mini-concert is in living black and white and sung for people of this spring in a very personal way – up close and personal to Kristen, who says, “I have been getting a lot of inspiration and comfort from old black and white variety shows of yesteryear – “The Judy Garland Show” especially – and I wanted to capture some of that magic in this series.” It’s kind of hard to not champion someone who admits they have taken inspiration from The Judy Garland Show, isn’t it?
Their living situation has been a true testament to friendship as hosts happily welcome a recording studio to their home and guests contribute to the daily household proceedings with Nash offering piano lessons for the older son, and Sergeant providing a private Frozen-themed performance for the younger boy’s fourth birthday. Says Mama D’lynne: “There is nothing quite as comforting during these strange and stressful times as hearing music fill the house and knowing that your friends are here and safe. It’s been a blessing.”
See the full BroadwayWorld article online here
“Oh my gosh. That was my immediate reaction to Kristen Lee Sergeant. Oh my gosh, oh my goodness, golly Moses, holy wow. OMG. Those are the thoughts that were going through my head as I watched the jazz set presented by Kristen Lee Sergeant and friends in the Birdland Theater.
Jazz vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant opens her sophomore album, Smolder, with a track that nods to the aesthetic on her excellent debut, Inside Out. That 2016 album included jazz arrangements of the 1980s pop tunes by The Police, Tears For Fears and Modern English. Read Bobby Reed’s complete stellar review here:
To smolder is to find oneself in an unpredictable state. The heat is there, steady yet subtle, but its trajectory is unknown. Will fire regenerate and burst into a conflagration or diminish and die? The emotional tinder is ever-present, its ultimate destination never certain. This is the landscape that Kristen Lee Sergeant traverses, now throwing flames, now tamping embers, in this boldly imagined and impeccably executed program.