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ClassicsOnline Home » CION, Sarah Jane: Summer Night
Winner of 19th Annual Critics Picks of JAZZIZ Magazine!
By Stuart Kremsky
Sarah Jane Cion's second Naxos Jazz release, Summer Night, continues to showcase her maturing lyricism and sophisticated jazz touch. As the title suggests perfectly, it captures her agile and graceful playing - like the best summer nights, it's both warm and comfortable.
With a fluid articulation that is derived as much from the lyrical spirit of Bill Evans and Chick Corea as her classical music training, the New England native's bouncy, textured playing perfectly complements her delightful original compositions.
With the ever masterful Michael Brecker and his indelible tenor sax providing the animated sparkle on two tunes - the title track as well the Cion original "Prisoner Of War" - Summer Night is a disc that is very easy to warm to. Ably supporting Cion here are also her husband, Phil Palombi, on bass and ace veteran drummer Billy Hart. Her CD ending medley comprising of "You Won't Forget Me," "Why Did I Chose You" and an Ennio Morricone composition from the movie Cinema Paradiso, is a perfect example of her refined solo playing.
From start to finish, Summer Night is a pleasure to listen to. And through the set, Cion never strays from a real musician's integrity. What she has crafted is a fine work of melodic, rhythmic and improvisational excellence.
A New England Conservatory graduate with honors and distinction in composition and performance, Cion had made a career excelling in these focal areas of her degree. Something of a prodigy, at age 14, she was already excelling as a classical piano student. Soon after deciding to pursue a music career in jazz, the accolades began.
In 1988, she was a Boston Jazz Society Award recipient. In 1991, she moved to New York City. She was a finalist in the 1997 John Lennon Song Writing contest. In 1999, Cion won the renowned Great American Jazz Piano Competition judged by luminaries like Kenny Barron, Benny Green, Horace Silver and Ellis Marsalis Jr. In 1999, she also participated in the prestigious Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center.
She has also been featured on the nationally syndicated NPR radio show Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland. Cion has also toured Germany, Japan, Portugal and Israel. Among the artists she has performed with include Clark Terry, Don Braden, Santi Debriano, Ron McClure, Dave Liebman and Lonnie Plaxico.
Cion made her Naxos Jazz debut in 2000 with Moon Song, winning critical raves across the world and, in particular, was a major hit in Japan. She is managed by Steve Getz, son of jazz tenor great Stan.
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CION, Sarah Jane: Summer Night