Sara Hamilton and David Biography




After a decade of playing folk, rock and blues together Sara and David realized that they were steadily progressing towards jazz. This made perfect sense, because that is what the players they admired were playing. Once they had this revelation, they seized the moment and began to consciously pursue this goal.

Starting where the great singers of the Forties and Fifties left off, Sara and David began to improvise and scat to a swing beat. They now looked to the younger generation of players - those who aspired to play jazz - for the energy and enthusiasm to bring this art form to a new audience. Every Sunday for four years, SARA HAMILTON AND DAVID and TONIGHT'S BAND played a new tough exciting brand of vocal swing jazz to an audience of young listeners and old faithful jazz fans. Every week there was something new: a different combination of players in the rhythm section, a new face in the horn section, an old tune presented in a new way.

During this time, Sara and David financed, produced, and promoted a jazz single on their own label, featuring Jack Sheldon (Woody Herman. Merv Griffin Show, plays the bandleader in the movie "For the Boys" starring Bette Midler) on trumpet, soloing on two of Sara's songs.

This quickly lead to an album contract with the all-jazz, all-digital (this was the early 80's) INNOVATION Records, owned by recording engineer Phil Sheridan. Into a Toronto club, Sara and David brought a 10-foot grand piano, a state-of-the-art digital recording machine (the 80's, remember) a multi-track mixing board with just two outputs - that's live off the floor to stereo - and the engineer who could make it work, Phil Sheridan. Next, drummer Brian Leonard, bassist Dave Young, and - for one night each - Guido basso, trumpet and flugelhorn; Gene Amaro, tenor sax; and Rob McConnell, trombone; joined Sara and David to create the album "SARA HAMILTON AND DAVID - LIVE!

Sara and David were being played by jazz DJs all over the world, and had realized their dream of joining their heroes as respected jazz artists.

They produced and starred in a television special with guests 'The Shuffle Demons', they recorded the music track for an all-night video that ran every night for four years on Global Television, and they became regular performers at George's Spaghetti House, Canada's longest running jazz club, booked by Moe Koffman.

While teaching jazz vocals at York University, Sara recognized the need for a book explaining, in plain language, the anatomy of the voice, and a method for making the most of it. When the writing process was complete, Sara had produced a manual for anyone wanting to present themselves at their best. 'Your Voice' is now published and distributed in Canada and available around the world. Sara and David welcomed an opportunity to move from Toronto to Calgary. The beautiful surroundings, the climate, and the attitude of the people have been a real inspiration as they carry on their work. Sara's book has brought offers to speak at meetings and conferences, and her performances with David have brought requests for private coaching from other singers.

The duo has been getting to know Calgary's many fine musicians and calling upon them to add just the right sound for this gig or that. In nightclubs or for private functions, working solo or fronting a seven-piece band, Sara and David continue to play their mainstream jazz - a repertoire that has recently been "discovered" by fans of Diana Krall and Rod Stewart.

Sara and David gave a weekend of performances and seminars as the lead clinicians at a jazz vocal camp in the woods. They led a community jazz chorus in a season of rehearsals at Kaos Jazz Bistro that culminated in a live performance by jazz quintet and choir.

They and their quintet are chosen to play for many exclusive events such as the private reception for President Bill Clinton.

They produced their own CD of their duo jazz book, the two artists - live off the floor, no sidemen, no overdubs, no studio fixes - and released it on their own label, IFM Records. Sales and radio play have been excellent and reaction from buyers has been terrific.

Recently Sara was chosen to be solo developer of the senior singers of the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede - a new position created for her. After her first year at the Young Canadians School for the Performing Arts Sara's role was expanded to include formal instruction in vocal technique for the seniors in preparation for the Stampede Grandstand Show and recording technique instruction in their studio.

The preparation of this CD has afforded Sara and David an opportunity to review past accomplishments, but it has also acted as an incentive for the future. What will they do next?

Our thanks to legendary jazz publicist Stan Bradbury for the biography.