Serendipity in Venice - Poster

Singaporean Jazz Pianist Cheryl Ann Spencer set to launch new album “Serendipity in Venice”, an intricate collection of Italian soundscapes

Singaporean Composer and Evolution Quartet band leader Cheryl Ann Spencer announces the release of her third jazz album, Serendipity in Venice, this upcoming 18 November 2022.  Cheryl, a jazz pianist, recorded six unique and masterful compositions and arrangements in Italy with friends Sasha Mashin, Makar Novikov, Alex Sipiagin, and Robert Bonisolo who are featured on the album on the drums, double bass, trumpet and flugelhorn, and tenor and soprano saxophone respectively. These compositions not only elaborate more on Cheryl’s musicality and storytelling abilities, but also illustrate the culture, people, and scenery that make up Venice, Italy!

Cheryl Ann Spencer

Despite different impediments such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine–Russia war, Cheryl and her friends proceeded to record the album in Italy. A believer of ‘providence’, she mentions how she felt that she was meant to proceed when real life circumstances suddenly fell into place. “I have been talking about collaborating with drummer Sasha Mashin even before COVID. We were supposed to record my album together, but then the pandemic came. I mentioned to him that maybe I should come to Russia in 2022 to record with all the musicians in Moscow, but then the war came. The timing has not been very good, so Serendipity in Venice was a miracle that we actually got together to collaborate and record this album,” Cheryl says.

The compositions dazzled into various complex harmonies yet exuded style fitting of accomplished jazz virtuosos. Included in this album are compositions Serendipity in Venice, Calling for Peace, Dreaming About Bags, Cinema Paradiso, Voyage, and Reunion. The album offers an introspective experience to some various iconic soundscapes of Cheryl, Sasha, Makar, Alex, and Robert’s recording session in Italy, truly making Serendipity in Venice distinct, momentous, and anticipatable! 

Serendipity in Venice, a soothing composition, uses a lot of complex harmonies. Cheryl intended for the piece to feel lyrical in order to mimic the feeling of new yet tranquil adventures. 

Prior to this album launch, Cheryl earlier released Calling for Peace, a 10-minute symbolic composition dedicated to the quelling efforts in the Ukraine-Russia War. This is a melancholic piece that speaks of the trauma that Ukrainians, Russians, and the world are experiencing today since the breakout of the war and the wish is that it will come to an end in due time. Both the extended and shorter versions can be found on this album.

In an earlier life as a banker, Cheryl spent her time outside of work learning to design bags and create them for commercial production. Dreaming About Bags details Cheryl’s first love for bags as well as her zestful shopping experience in Italy. Her passion for leather goods beamed through this befitting, lively, and upbeat piece that started off Afro and developed into a swing tune. This is not Cheryl’s first time dedicating a song to leather accessories. In 2020, Shoe Shopping, a track in the album Reflections, is a samba-inflected tune that celebrated her love for shoes. 

Cinema Paradiso, an ode to the 1988 film under the same name, is a unique and emotional piece Cheryl reharmonised after she rewatched the classic with her family while in lockdown during Covid. As the album was recorded in Italy, it was very fitting to include this piece too.   Bonisolo’s jazz prowess shone through his improvisation in the overall time signature of the piece, altering the meter from a 4/4 time signature to ¾.

Voyage is an exciting composition with interesting harmonic sections; Cheryl wrote it with the drummer in mind and Sasha’s virtuosity came through in this upbeat tune’s high energy.

Finally, Reunion is attuned from only a portion of the baseline and drumbeat that Makar Novikov and Sasha Mashin gave to her months before her departure to Italy. Cheryl developed a captivating jazz funk composition for this final track.

Serendipity in Venice will be available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music on 18 November 2022.

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