New York-trained vocalist and entertainer Chris Joseph has collaborated with locally renowned jazz pianist John Cleveland to launch his newest CD, “Moonglow,” which is available at Earth to Oven, Hip to the Groove, and Art Supply Depo in downtown Sylvania.
“We are featuring jazz and a ‘big band’ sound with old familiar favorites such as ‘Bye Bye Blackbird,’ ‘Fly Me To The Moon,’ ‘It Had To Be You,’ and many more,” Joseph said. “John did all of the arrangements for the songs and played all of the instrumental parts on this recording. John surrounds my voice with beauty through his instrumentation.”
Cleveland said he has been writing arrangements for bands since he was 13 years old. “I had never done anything like that before. But Sherry Walters asked me to play ‘Five Foot Two,’ and we did not have the music. Back then, whatever Sherry Walters wanted, I would do,” he said.
“While I have done countless arrangements for bands through the years, I have never written for a singer. I had to consider what key would work best for Chris, the tempo, the ‘groove’ we wanted to achieve, what instruments would work best, the introduction and ending for each song. I really learned a lot” he admitted.
“I am just so thankful that John was willing to take the time to work with me. His insight was so helpful in every case. Many of the songs we chose to record are those we have played together through the years with the Skip Turner Band,” Joseph recalled. “Actually, that is how John and I first met.”
The two began their Moonglow project late last summer, completing the task in November. “My new CD was even blessed by the Rev. Steve Swisher,” Joseph noted.
According to Joseph, Mark Z helped to design the cover along with the menu and labels for the CD. “All of this work is paying off. I have had a great response from my CD. People who have purchased it seem to really find it refreshing to hear these songs,” Joseph noted.
When the two are not working on their new projects, Joseph can be found singing with the Skip Turner Band or making solo appearances at the Red Bird Art Walk. He is also an active vocal coach providing voice lessons to adults of all ages and also offers vocal cord rehabilitation.
Cleveland, formerly head of the Sylvania branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, has been a featured jazz pianist throughout the area. However, according to his business card, he is much more. He is also a vocalist, band leader, arranger, teacher, one-man band, raconteur, and a practical joker as well as making custom recordings.