“Janine Gastineau has an attractive, distinctive and often-haunting voice that is quietly expressive. Whether straight ahead jazz, ballads or bossa nova, she creates fresh and colorful interpretations that make the vintage songs not only sound relevant but brand new. ”
— Scott Yanow, jazz critic, author and historian
“Janine does a few tunes I do, too, and it's great to hear someone else's take on them. Very, very enjoyable...wonderful music!”
— Sheila Jordan, jazz legend
“The best version of "Insensatez" I've ever heard!”
— Jerry Maddock, Host of KGNU - FM's "Jazz Lives" program
Q & A Time with Janine Gastineau Time During Women's History Month, 2019
From Denver's jazz station KUVO.ORG, March 2019:
Today’s featured Woman for Women’s History Month is Denver’s own Janine Gastineau. With a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, in Jazz Performance, this lady brings both education and heart to the table. I spoke to her recently regarding some of her Sheroes in Jazz, what inspires her about Jazz and more.
Janine, who are some of your Sheroes in Jazz?
“My “She-roes” in jazz – all women I feel who are totally unique within the genre, and who advanced the genre for other vocalists in myriad ways (listed in order of importance):
Billie Holiday, for being a true original, singing the music as she heard and felt it from within, and being such an emotionally raw and vulnerable performer
Joni Mitchell, another original in jazz, deeply committed to her musical vision, and courageous in her efforts to continually grow and develop her unique “voice” within both music and lyrics
Elis Regina, for her effervescent personality, her extraordinary rhythmic gift, and her always playful way with a tune
Tierney Sutton, for the clarity and beauty of her singing and vocal improvisation, and her success in leading her band for years, sustaining that collaboration both artistically and financially
What got you interested in jazz?
“My dad had albums by Herbert Alpert, Dave Brubeck, and Hubert Laws when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until college that I really fell in love with jazz. My best friend, also a singer, made me some jazz mix tapes: George Shearing, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Randy Crawford, Michael Franks, and others. I was struck by the utter coolness and amazing range of the music.”
What is your favorite jazz song?
“This is hard to answer, because jazz is such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great tunes! But I have to say Louis Armstrong’s 1928 recording of King Oliver’s WEST END BLUES. It begins with that utterly audacious cadenza by Louis that just knocks you off your feet. Then the rest of the band enters, and there is something so charming and simple about each solo that follows, with Zutty Singleton’s weird little cymbals clicking away underneath, before ending up that high Bflat that Louis holds and holds and HOLDS in the final chorus, that just makes me laugh and cry at the sheer beauty of it all. It’s pretty much the perfect rendition of any tune. And of course, it revolutionized the way everyone played and sang the music afterwards.”
Lastly Janine, what inspires you about jazz?
Well, there are two things:
A: It’s such a completely American art form. It could only have happened here, born of the uniquely African American experience of chattel slavery that birthed the spiritual, which led to African American musicians creating the blues, and then of course jazz! And on the other side, it grew out of music created by many first-generation sons and daughters of Jewish immigrants, who grew up to write popular music for the Broadway stage and Tin Pan Alley. The melodies, harmonics, rhythms and structures from both these rich sources are all in jazz from the very beginning.
And B: I love how jazz, over the decades and as it has made its way around the world, is able to absorb elements of other musics and other cultures, while still remaining true to what it is. Jazz is the ultimate democratic genre, and its emphasis on improvisation means that anyone, anywhere – if they can hold their own amongst other jazz musicians on the bandstand – is welcome. Improvisation requires trust, courage, mindfulness, openness, and living in the moment, all qualities we need much more of in all aspects of our lives, today more than ever. To me, jazz is as pure a metaphor for equality and democracy as you can get, and I hope people who see jazz performed live can feel that. It’s what we’re all trying to live up there, when we play & sing for everyone.”
To learn even more about Janine, go to her website.
Copyright 2019 KUVO . To see more, visit KUVO .
JAZZ SINGER JANINE GASTINEAU's MEMORABLE DEBUT CD, ALL MY WILDEST DREAMS:
An important singer from the Denver jazz scene, Janine Gastineau recently released her first CD, All My Wildest Dreams. Joined by some of Denver’s top players, Ms. Gastineau performs a set of her favorite standards, creating fresh and colorful interpretations that make the vintage songs not only sound relevant but brand new. Janine has an attractive, distinctive and often-haunting voice that is quietly expressive. Whether it is straight ahead jazz, ballads or bossa-novas, she puts her stamp on each song, creating music that is filled with subtle surprises.
Joining Janine on her musical adventures is a notable cast of talented musicians. Eric Gunnison was Carmen McRae’s pianist during 1986-91, toured the world with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, and has worked for many years with Roberta Gambarini. Guitarist Mitchell Long, who is showcased on two numbers that he arranged, has worked extensively with Melody Gardot and toured with Waldemar Bastos. Bassist Eduardo “Bijoux” Barbosa, who arranged four numbers, has been on over 400 recordings and has worked with Dave and Don Grusin, Nelson Rangell, Lee Ritenour and Stanley Clarke. The other musicians, pianist Jeff Jenkins (who is on three selections), guitarist Bill Kopper, drummer Jill Fredericksen and percussionist Raoul Rossiter, have all uplifted the music of a countless number of artists.
All My Wildest Dreams is full of inventive frameworks that feature Janine at her best. “The Nearness Of You” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Vivo Sonhando” showcase her in intimate duets with guitarist Mitchell Long. “The Nearness Of You” is a particular delight, for Long also sings a bit and harmonizes perfectly with Janine. She performs heartfelt ballad versions of Sting’s “Fragile,” “My Funny Valentine,” (which has some exquisite bowed bass from Barbosa), “Blame It On My Youth,” and “God Bless The Child,” the latter a duet with Barbosa. Other selections include a medley of “Blue Skies” and “In Walked Bud,” “Take Five,” a bossa nova treatment of “It Never Entered My Mind,” fresh versions of “Caravan” and Summertime,” the obscure 1930s song “Blue River,” and the melancholy “Insensatez.”
Gastineau grew up listening to everything from classical to Motown and the pop music of the day. She discovered jazz while in college, where she studied classical voice and began singing in several foreign languages. Since 2006, she has primarily worked as a soloist, focusing on jazz, the Great American Songbook and Brazilian bossa nova and samba. In addition to her club performances, she has created several original musical revues, shows featuring the music of Rodgers & Hart, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Sondheim. A multi-genre singer, she sings Brazilian music in Portuguese, performs chanson and French pop music in French, and has also sung in Spanish, German and Cape Verde criolou.
With the release of the impressive All My Wildest Dreams, Janine Gastineau is poised to be recognized far beyond Denver as an important jazz and Brazilian singer. - jazz critic Scott Yanow
“One of the best CD’s to come out of a local artist - great arrangements of a diverse offering of jazz tunes! ”
— Kevin MacInness, jazz blogger