Sunnyside Records is proud to present a new
collaboration between two celebrated songwriters!
Rebecca Martin & Guillermo Klein present The Upstate Project!
Sometimes it is just a matter of timing and proximity that makes attractive collaborations possible. For years, singer/songwriter Rebecca Martin knew that she wanted to work with pianist/vocalist/composer Guillermo Klein. Klein’s recent relocation to upstate New York, where Martin had made her home, made the opportunity of making music together possible. The beautiful results of their work can be heard on their new recording, The Upstate Project.
Martin is well known for her elegant songwriting and performance, commingling jazz and folk music. Aside from her solo work, she has regularly collaborated with a coterie of celebrated musicians, including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Paul Motian and Tillery, the celebrated vocal trio featuring Becca Stevens and Gretchen Parlato. Always community minded, Martin has become an advocate of sorts for collaboration in her musical and social endeavors, most notably in her adopted home of Kingston, New York.
For his part, Klein has become a celebrated songwriter and composer, utilizing elements of jazz, modern classical, rock and Argentinean folkloric music. He had spent more than a decade living outside of the United States, both in Spain and Argentina, before returning and settling in Beacon, New York, a short distance from Martin.
The two musicians knew and appreciated each other and their art since the early 1990s when they were both involved in the influential scene centered around Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village in New York City. The vibrant Smalls scene helped establish some of the music’s most influential artists and their ensembles, including those of Brad Mehldau, Rosenwinkel and Klein’s own Los Guachos.
After years of making music together, the denizens of this enclave seemingly scattered around the globe. Martin was excited to hear of Klein’s return, especially since he was only a short distance away and with a burgeoning family. Martin was happy to hear Klein’s enthusiasm to collaborate when she reached out to him.
Their ensuing collaboration was never rigidly structured, allowing both musicians to experiment and try new things. Martin was able to adopt Klein’s more dark and masculine esthetic, quite an enjoyable and liberating experience for her. Together they developed a wide-ranging repertoire, including pieces from peers made into some amazing, bilingual art songs. As she wrote the lyrics, Martin didn’t understand the Spanish lyrics provided by Klein but was surprised to find out that they had similar meanings even if the story was different, adding another dimension to the songs they developed.
Martin and Klein fleshed out The Upstate Project as a star-studded quartet with Martin’s husband, bassist Larry Grenadier, and the fantastic drummer, Jeff Ballard. The group then went to Brooklyn Recording, where The Upstate Project was recorded with the guidance of engineer Pete Rende. It was then expertly mixed by James Farber and mastered by Mark Wilder.