A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Ursula Schmitz

“Fortunately for listeners interested in bold originality”, writes JazzTimes, “Maria Neckam has shaped that cyclonic mix of international influences into a sound and style as refreshing as Kat Edmonson, as idiosyncratic as Björk and often as outre as Patty Waters.”

The “valiant trailblazer” was raised in Vienna, and discovered music at an early age. Maria absorbed the sounds of the city in opera houses and rock clubs, and before long, was performing and recording locally. In her teens, she made the move to Amsterdam to study at the city’s Conservatory, where she further broadened her horizons through studies of musical traditions from around the world. But the young vocalist never felt quite at home, and before long, she took another plunge into the unknown, this time in the form of a move to New York.

Within a short time, the vocalist was performing with a range of improvisers, including Thomas Morgan, Dan Weiss, David Binney, Aaron Parks, Miles Okazaki, and several others. Maria also continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music, where she refined her skills under Luciana Souza, Peter Eldridge, Theo Bleckmann, Samir Chatterjee, and Nils Vigeland. It wasn’t long before she released Deeper (Sunnyside), an album which won her widespread praise and critical attention, including recognition as one of the Top 10 Albums of 210 by the French newspaper Le Monde, and as one of the most significant “New Discoveries” of 2010 by AllAboutJazz. 2010 was also the year of Maria’s first performance as a leader at The Gallery.

Maria’s forthcoming album, Unison (Sunnyside), features her compositions and vocal stylings in collaboration with several of her colleagues: the pianists Aaron Parks and Glenn Zaleski; the bassist Thomas Morgan; the drummer Colin Stranahan; the alto saxophonists Lars Dietrich and Will Vinson; the tenor saxophonist Samir Zarif; the guitarist Nir Felder; the trumpeter Kenny Warren; and the cellist Mariel Roberts.

Unison doesn’t officially drop until June 6th, but you can stream the title track below:

Like what you hear? Don’t miss the album release concert this Thursday, May 31st.