New York native Emily Saxe, who released her previous albums while living in Asia, is releasing Keeping You In Mind, her fourth CD and first in the U.S.
In Asia, Emily's previous CDs went Top 10 Jazz, and she performed at some of Asia's and Australia's top venues, including the Sydney Opera House. Upon her return to the U.S., Emily hooked up with bassist David Piltch, whose numerous credits include k.d. lang, Lizz Wright, the Holly Cole Trio and Blood, Sweat & Tears, to produce this latest album. An assortment of 11 originals and classics co-produced by Saxe and Piltch, Keeping You In Mind features a rootsy blend of jazz, soft rock and Americana performed by in-demand players like Piltch on bass, slide and steel guitar player extraordinaire Greg Liesz, drummer Jay Bellerose, keyboardist Patrick Warren, and Juno-Award winning guitarist Rob Piltch. Recorded in Los Angeles and New York and mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Jay Newland (Norah Jones's Come Away With Me), Keeping You In Mind sounds like it was made for lazing around on a Sunday morning with a cup of
Raised just north of New York City, Emily graduated magna cum laude with an English degree from Yale. "Music has always been a huge part of my life," says Emily. "One of my relatives was a traveling musician in the late 1800s (I still have his 'portable' pump organ!), my grandfather wrote a hit song with Johnny Mercer, and my mother is a fabulous classical jazz and classical pianist in her own right. I spent years studying classical and jazz piano, but what really drew me in was my mother's sheet music collection; we basically had The Great American Songbook stacked on the family piano. I spent hours and hours losing myself in those tunes, and I realized what I really wanted to do was sing." And sing she did, performing every chance she got during high school and college at Yale, including playing piano bar in New York. "Now there's a real learning experience," she laughs, "singing, playing and fending off drunks,
all at the same time!"
After college, Emily got married and switched directions, getting a law degree from Georgetown. Her husband's work kept the young couple on the move, and she left music behind, opting instead to work as a tax lawyer, first in Chicago and later in Los Angeles.
And then they made the biggest-and most favorable for Emily-move of their lives. In 1995, Emily followed her husband all the way to Thailand. Unencumbered by her legal work, Saxe began to long for a return to singing. "If you're really a musician, it just pursues you," she says. "It never leaves your soul." Soon she'd made her debut CD, Whistling: Broadway to Berk'ley Square, and she subsequently released two more CDs in that part of the world - Broadway & All That Jazz and Time After Time - each following her penchant for reinterpreting songs by legendary songwriters like Ira and George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, and others. Occasionally she'd experiment with the odd tune by Sting, Leon Russell or Melissa Manchester, but by and large Saxe was doing the piano bar standards she'd loved as a girl. "I never expected it, but Asia was a great place to restart my music career," offers Emily. "I was fortunate enough to hook up with some great musicians, people loved my music, and I was able to perform at some fabulous venues and get to know a fascinating part of the world."
The plan was never to stay in Asia forever, though, and after five years overseas she returned to the States and now lives in a small coastal town near San Francisco. Since her return, Emily has performed around the Bay Area, but sensing it was time to move on from the standards she'd covered in Asia, she's also been re-imagining who she is as a singer. "I've spent the last several years thinking, 'What material do I want to do and what do I want it to sound like?' I had done that piano/bass/drums thing over and over, and I wanted to do something new and different." She met with some potential producers, but nothing really clicked until she hooked up with former Holly Cole Trio and Blood, Sweat & Tears bassist David Piltch.
Saxe and Piltch connected straight away, and it was this collaboration that led to the sound for Emily's new album. Piltch suggested a shift to a more guitar-based sound, and "it changed my whole approach, really softening everything and giving the songs a much more introspective feel," says Emily. "It gets me to the heart of the lyric in a different way."
When asked to name a favorite moment on the album, Emily is hard-pressed. "Each song is like one of my children," she laughs, "how could I choose?" She continues, more seriously, "What has really meant the most to me, from start to finish on this album, has been finally getting my music home to the U.S., and also the opportunity to work with amazing artists. Even though I've listened to these tracks over and over through recording and production, I always find some new incredible moment somewhere. I couldn't
ask for more."
Keeping You In Mind, by Emily Saxe is a unique mix of originals & classics, co-produced by Saxe and David Piltch(k.d. lang, Lizz Wright, Madeleine Peyroux). Mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Jay Newland, the CD features Piltch on bass, Greg Leisz on slide & steel guitar, Jay Bellerose on percussion, keyboardist Patrick Warren & guitarist Rob Piltch
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