Though some jazz fans around the Seattle area will always think of Sara Gazarek as the talented young singer with the Roosevelt High jazz band, her new album Thirsty Ghost is making waves around the world. Back in the KNKX studios, Gazarek told us how this album is different from previous efforts, and why the accolades it's receiving is so gratifying.
Sara Gazarek has always been admired for her singing style, bright and clear with impressive improvisational flexibility. But she'd also been focused on inspiration from other singers and musicians, which was entertaining but wasn't connected to the singer's own life journey.
Thirsty Ghost is a collection of music that's pure Gazarek, an album-length tale of a woman finding herself amidst a failed relationship and coming out the other end stronger and happier. She's grown into a unique artist in her own right, and achieves the ultimate goal of a jazz musician on this new release. Gazarek has her own stories to tell, and all the tools to tell it with style.
The reviews have been gushing, with JazzTimes magazine calling Thirsty Ghost "a major work...impressive on every level," it's risen to No. 3 on the Billboard jazz charts. For an album so closely connected to who Sara Gazarek is as a person, the success has been especially thrilling.
"It's equal parts gratifying and terrifying. I've never felt personally responsible for something before," she told us. Previously, a bad review could be blown off as "well, they don't like the CD. But now, 'What? They didn't like the story of my life?'" Happily, it seems critics, fans, family and friends are heaping well-deserved praise for Sara Gazarek.
Part of that feeling of success is Sara's appreciation for coming out the end of this chapter in her life with self-confidence and optimism. She says, "The album was more than four years in the making in terms of the story of it, and represents lots of departures from different relationships and partnerships. It's exciting to share it with the world because several of those stories have come to a close."
Proof was right there on Gazarek's ring finger. The newly married singer says, though, she can still channel the excited feeling of being newly single with her fresh interpretation of the Nancy Wilson favorite, "Never Will I Marry." Yes, Gazarek has happily entered a new chapter of her life.
Where she'll find a new musical path, after plenty of touring to support Thirsty Ghost, might lead her back to the Pacific Northwest. A brand new vocal project with singers Erin Bentlage, Amanda Taylor and Johnaye Kendrick called säge that began as a lark has turned into a group with a half dozen concert dates on the calendar. With both Taylor and Kendrick living around Puget Sound, we hope to hear their music as soon as Gazarek's busy schedule allows.
For now, celebrate a grown-up coming out party with Sara Gazarek, singing straight from her heart and soul just for you in the KNKX studios.