A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by John Rogers

UPDATE: The second set of Tillery‘s performance tonight (May 27th, 2012) has been cancelled – there will be one set only at 9 p.m.

Tillery features “three of the sharpest and most open-minded jazz singers” (Time Out New York) in jazz today: Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens. Together, they are described as a “potent collective force that’s more than the sum of its already formidable parts.”

The band was formed after the three vocalists retreated to Rebecca’s home in Kingston, NY for a weekend getaway. Rebecca [Martin] remembers, “At some point, I picked up my guitar and said ‘Let’s sing something,’ and that was it. There wasn’t any thought put into it.  It just happened, and it just made sense.” Becca [Stevens] adds, “The three of our voices and the warm receptive energy in the room created this sound that was like… love butter.  You just want to spread it all over everything.”

In 2011, Tillery spent a week working with students at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California. The experience left the group inspired to keep sharing their knowledge and experience with the next generation:

The three of us all share the same desire to connect with musicians in this intimate setting – with students who are dedicated to their craft. Sharing ourselves in this manner is a very natural part of what we all do.
–Rebecca Martin

Writing, learning, and composing is only half of the joy of music for me. Sharing these gifts makes up the other half. I consider teaching to be the most direct and meaningful way that I can share music. Performing is blissful, but the impression that can be made though teaching, both for the teacher and the student, has the potential to be far deeper.
–Becca Stevens

Songwriting is a gift. It’s a gift to ourselves and to those who listen. In our workshop, we want to open up, explore and share the process with other songwriters in our workshop, connecting and learning from each other on all levels technical, spiritual, and emotional.
–Gretchen Parlato

This weekend, Tillery will be sharing their inventive approaches to songwriting through a workshop at The Gallery. You can read more and view a schedule of events, and watch a delightfully silly promo video. The workshop will also be accompanied by Tillery performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Here are quotes from two students who participated in a previous Tillery songwriting workshop:

Tillery’s songwriting workshop was one of the greatest musical experiences I have ever had. This group of three incredibly beautiful and talented women made the songwriting process more magical and reachable than ever before.
–Alicyn Yaffee

The Stanford Jazz Workshop songwriting course was such an amazing and unusual opportunity to meet and share philosophies with likeminded songwriters. To listen to the voices of Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens was very inspiring and helped me to come closer to finding my own voice through song.
–Helene Greenwood

We’ve been presenting bands led by all three members of Tillery for years, and we were elated to hear that they had begun working together. The band played one of their first shows at The Gallery, and we look forward to having them back for both this weekend’s workshop and the accompanying two-night run of concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

Time Out New York has selected the two-night run of performances as a Critics’ Pick, and also include a note about the workshop. They write:

Three of the sharpest and most open-minded jazz singers in (or out of) town—Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens—team up for a collaborative set, featuring pieces penned by each vocalist. Visit for info on a weekend-long songwriting workshop hosted by the group.

Last fall, a live set by the band was featured in a live recording by NPR/WBGO. Listen to the full set, or watch a live rendition of “Magnus” below: