A brilliant saxophonist, sultry jazz singer and Grammy Award voting member, Suzanne Grzanna is a world-class artist who has traveled the world during her productive career. The recent release of her CD Daybreak is just the latest accomplishment in a career full of highpoints.
“For the new CD,” says Suzanne, “I wanted to showcase my father’s original song ‘Daybreak’ along with a few of my favorite standards that I get a lot of requests to play. I used the musicians who I regularly perform with in Milwaukee. All three are a joy to play with and masters of their instruments.” Keyboardist Ray Tabs, Scott Currier (Daybreak) bassist Hal Miller and drummer Andy LoDuca form a tight trio, and while they are obviously quite familiar with Suzanne’s music, their communication with her is intuitive, spontaneous and full of subtle surprises.
Daybreak has three vocal numbers and three instrumentals which, taken as a whole, are a perfect showcase for Suzanne Grzanna’s musical talents. On “Fever,” she gives the piece a sly and sensual treatment with a vocal that builds as it goes. On Donald Grzanna’s “Daybreak,” his daughter’s dramatic alto playing brings out the beauty of the melancholy ballad. A swinging rendition of “It Had To Be You” which has a longing vocal full of desire is followed by Suzanne caressing the soulful melody of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”
“Almost Like Being In Love” has one of Ms. Grzanna’s best vocals of the CD along with some fine scat-singing and excellent piano and bass solos. Daybreak concludes with a passionate saxophone solo on “Black Orpheus” that perfectly wraps up the memorable effort.
Suzanne Grzanna was born and grew up in a small suburb of Milwaukee. Her parents Don and Maureen Grzanna are professional musicians and she started piano lessons with her mother when she was five. While Suzanne continued playing piano during her teenage years, performing at many competitions, she began doubling on the clarinet when she was nine so she could play in her school bands. Suzanne switched her main focus to alto-sax in seventh grade. In addition to jazz and hearing her father perform, she enjoyed classical and the pop music of the era. A performer from a very age, Suzanne sang and played piano in her family band, playing jazz, rock and dance music. She gained further experience playing in her high school band and singing in her high school choir. While in college she not only performed with the jazz band but the school’s symphonic orchestra and a Christian rock group. She also sang with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for many years, starting at the age of 18. After attending Wisconsin Lutheran College and earning a music degree from Carroll University, she formed her jazz quartet. Suzanne immediately started a busy performance schedule, and she has not slowed down since.
Suzanne Grzanna began to record as a leader in 1994, starting with The Cat’s Meow. “I was really happy to release my first jazz album. Recording that CD was a dream come true. It includes a lot of my originals. I always incorporate the many different styles that I have played in my life into my music.”
She has recorded seven CDs thus far including the standards-oriented Fly Me To The Moon (1999), her first Christmas CD 2003’s My Santa Baby, Simply Sunday (2006), Christmas Night (2008) and Wedding Day (2016).