Natalie Cressman to Perform at Dizzy’s
Singer, songwriter, and trombonist Natalie Cressman will bring her Brooklyn-based band back home to California for a six-show run in July. Cressman will be joined by trumpeter Ivan Jackson, guitarist Mike Bono, bassist Jonathan Stein, and drummer Michael Mitchell. The San Francisco-raised instrumentalist and chanteuse returns to her old stomping grounds having assimilated the full range of her sonic influences into a startlingly mature, strikingly original voice that melds the sophistication of modern jazz with captivating storytelling and intoxicating melodies reminiscent of indie rock’s most distinctive songwriters. Her ensemble will bring their music to San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Truckee, San Diego, and Los Angeles on their upcoming West Coast tour.
A Bay Area native, Cressman was practically weaned on jazz and Brazilian music. Her mother is the esteemed American-born Brazilian jazz vocalist Sandy Cressman and her father, Jeff Cressman, is a recording engineer, trombonist, and longtime member of Santana. While Natalie evidenced a real gift for trombone early on (she started subbing for her father in on gigs in the Bay Area’s vibrant music scene by age 14), Natalie actually set out to be a ballet dancer rather than a musician. When an injury kept her off the barre for three months in her junior year of high school, Natalie turned her focus to music. “Seeing how inspired and passionate my parents were about what they were doing lit a fire in me once I decided to go for music,” Cressman recalls. Once she set her sights on a career in the family business, her parents provided not only role models but active assistance, helping to provide Natalie with some of her earliest opportunities.
Although her parents provided entrée to a number of enviable opportunities, Natalie’s own prodigious gifts continued to merit her presence in any number of high-profile settings. Natalie quickly started working at a professional level, playing salsa with Uruguayan percussionist Edgardo Cambon y Orquestra Candela, Latin Jazz with Pete Escovedo’s Latin Jazz Orchestra, spiritually charged world music with Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Brazilian jazz with mother Sandy Cressman’s Homenagem Brasileira, and global avant-garde jazz with Peter Apfelbaum and the New York Hieroglyphics. A close family friend, Apfelbaum stepped in as a key mentor for Cressman, and the two continue to work together to this day. Natalie will reunite with Peter on July 6th in Berkeley, performing with his ensemble S P A R K L E R, a show that is sure to be a stand-out on the tour.
The tour will also provide Californians the rare opportunity to hear Cressman’s duo project with her guitarist Mike Bono. Cressman and Bono began collaborating in 2014, and have since developed a repertoire of vibrant, intricate, and genre-defying originals. Listeners can expect a few re-workings of the two composers’ originals, along with brand new material formed by the melding of Bono’s harmonic stylings with Cressman’s soulful storytelling. The meeting of these two musical minds results in a transcendent, emotionally stirring journey for listeners.
Although Cressman is widely known for touring with Phish’s Trey Anastasio, the San Francisco native leaves no doubt that she’s one of the most exciting players on the New York City music scene today in her own right. With two successful CDs and another on the way, Cressman has been touring with her own band, playing at some of the most prestigious jazz venues in New York and beyond. Her work as a bandleader reveals her to be an utterly contemporary artist steeped in several traditions, an artist who sees no barriers between the accomplishments and influences of the past and the urgent demands of the present.
Cressman describes herself as a late bloomer when it comes to music, and credits her spectacularly rich cultural upbringing for providing the creative fuel behind her rapid ascent. “I have so much gratitude for the Bay Area and the amazing musicians and human beings there…[including] my parents, who have been great role models. My parents are incredibly hard working. They set a very high bar as people and musicians, and I’m trying to emulate them.” With unending gratitude, Cressman returns home to California, back to the people and to the places that have influenced and inspired her; back to where it all began.
Natalie will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 11 at Dizzy’s, located at 4275 Mission Bay Drive in San Diego. According to her fans, she’s an impressive performer who leaves you wanting more.