Jazz has a friend in Leah Suarez.
The daughter of a Mexican and American, Suarez has strong ties to her Latin American roots, and it shines through in her music. Suarez sings in both English and Spanish, jazz standards and Brazilian bossa nova, with equal ease. She can take a song you know by heart and make it her own, with love, and just a little seduction too.
In addition to sharing her talent for song with the jazz community and world at large, she also gives 190% every day with the Jazz Artists of Charleston, a 501c3 non-profit organization for the promotion of jazz music in the community and beyond. As President of the JAC, Suarez has and continues to work tirelessly to promote jazz music, and it’s clear the work she does is paying off.
I’ve attended three of the 2011 Jazz Series Upstairs at McCrady’s this season, and they have each been, if not completely sold out, just shy of it. People have been lining up to see if extra seats become available. This the direct result of two things: quality programming and good marketing.
The JAC’s mission statement includes “foster a solid and professional environment for jazz musicians, artists, students and enthusiasts in the Charleston area,” which they are clearly accomplishing. At one Jazz Series performance, I sat across from a young musician who told me it was better, professionally, for him to stay in Charleston, than go to a big city like New York or Chicago–he could actually make a living here! There, his contemporaries sometimes had to even pay to play a gig (?!?*&!?!).
We commend her talent both on stage and behind the scenes, and say a big Thank You to Miss Suarez!
check her out at High Cotton, 6 – 10 pm tonight, 199 East Bay Street