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Sara Gazarek Puts a Wary Spin on Love Songs, in Her Intimate Session on Singers Unlimited

Shervin Lainez

Sara Gazarek is, as every jazz singer ought to be, an original. 

On her new album, Thirsty Ghostshe sings all across the musical spectrum: standards (“Never Will I Marry,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well”); Stevie Wonder (“I Believe When I Fall In Love”); Dolly Parton (“Jolene”); a poem of Sara Teasdale flowing into Nick Drake’s “River Man.” 

“Distant Storm” was composed by Brad Mehldau and features Sara’s lyrics in a duet with musical mentor Kurt Elling. Her own songs tell the stories of love lost and found. “Sara’s been risking and traveling, learning and changing,” writes Kurt in the album notes, “acknowledging that life and circumstances have the upper hand.”

For this appearance on Singers Unlimited, Sara Gazarek came to WBGO with pianist Carmen Staaf. Here is their performance of “I’m Not the Only One.”

Recording and audio mix: David Tallacksen

Videography: Chris Tobin

Michael Bourne was a presence on the air at WBGO between the end of 1984 and the start of 2022, when he retired from full time hosting duty. He is the host of the Singers Unlimited Podcast by WBGO Studios. Previously, he hosted the popular Singers Unlimited (1985-2022). He also hosted the equally popular Blues Break for several years. Michael is a senior contributor to Down Beat, with the magazine since 1969. Doctor Bourne earned a PhD in Theatre from Indiana University -- which comes in handy when he's a theatre critic for the WBGO Journal.