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Soraya Shaw Performances

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Jazz singer from Los Alamitos releases
CD of standards
     Buy CD

Sun Newspaper April 17, 2003 By Brian Brannon

For Soraya Shaw, music is a family tradition.

The Los Alamitos resident recently released a CD of jazz standards called Daydreams on the Alpha Lyrae label.

I started piano lessons when I was 4, she said.  My grandmother taught all sorts of instruments.

Growing up on classical music, Shaw decided she wanted to learn opera in the fourth of fifth grade.

It made a really big impression on me, she said.

She began taking voice lessons as well as studying the flute.

Living in the country, outside of a small town in Missouri, Shaw and her older brother Alex didn’t have a lot of friends their own age to play with.

Our neighbors were cows across the road in a pasture, she said.

Her brother played trumpet, and soon, his love of jazz was passed to her and Shaw began listening to singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.

Switching between classical and jazz singing took a little work, she said.

Jazz players would look at me and roll their eyes and say, â��Come on, you’ve got to get that vibrato out of your voice, she said.

But Shaw soon learned to hold back just enough to make her voice soar with the jazz melodies.

On Daydreams, she sings four songs by Duke Ellington including Daydream, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, In a Sentimental Mood and Caravan.  She found herself drawn to Ellington because of the complexity of his compositions.

The intervals and different things that you’re doing with the music is a little more challenging, and because it’s more challenging, I’m more interested, she said.

She also covers, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Fats Waller, Night and Day by Cole Porter and I Got Rhythm by George and Irwin Gershwin.

When she went in the studio to record her CD, Shaw said the music was only partially planned and it evolved from there.

A lot of it was very impromptu, it was sort of an organic kind of thing, she said.  A lot of it was feeling-oriented and spontaneous.

The result is an alluring collection of jazz standards delivered by Shaw’s smooth and eloquent style.  Her classical training shows in the vocal range and expression she exhibits throughout the CD.

Besides singing jazz, Shaw also serves as cantor at St. Iraneus Catholic Church in Cypress and for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

A musician through and through, she teaches piano, voice and flute out of her home in Los Alamitos.

I kind of do what my grandmother did, she said.

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Last updated: 3 / 5 / 2006.