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A whole new shade of blue from Chris Stamey


UNC Jazz Faculty Trio (Stephen Anderson, piano; Dan Davis, drums; and Jason Foureman, bass ac.)
Featured singers: Brett Harris and Ramunė Marcinkevičiūtė
Will Campbell, alto sax, soprano sax
Charles Cleaver, organ and piano
Alex Upton, tenor sax, bass clarinet
Chris Stamey, guitar Rachel Kiel, flute
Ben Robinson, trumpet
Evan Ringel, trombone
and the ModRec String Quartet:
Laura Thomas & Sarah Griffin, violins
Matt Chicurel, viola
Emma Dunlap-Grube, cello
McKayla Phillips, percussion


A whole new shade of blue is a cycle of bittersweet songs in the colors of the little combos of the “cool” jazz scene of the late 50s and early 60s, the era of Bill Evans, Kind of Blue Miles Davis, Chet Baker and John NC’s Coltrane, with added touches of Burt Pop Bacharach and even Tin Pan Alley from the 20s. Featuring the sultry styles of NC singers Brett Harris and Ramunė Marcinkevičiūtė, it was composed by Chris Stamey and recorded by jazz teachers , students and alumni of UNC at the start of the pandemic. It was indeed completed, necessarily, by musicians isolated at home or one by one in a studio; tonight’s premiere will be the first time the ensemble has performed music together in public. The original recordings (released in 2020 on Omnivore Recordings) also feature stellar moments from Dan Davis (drums), Jason Foureman (bass), Will Campbell and Elijah Freeman (saxophones), Ben Robinson (trumpet), and Evan Ringel (trombone). Accomplished studio pianist Charles Cleaver and guitarist/arranger Stamey round out the mix.


Free, no reservation required

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This evening is made possible in part by the support of Cat’s Cradle, The Center for the Study of the American South, Schoolkids Records and Yep Roc Records, celebrating 25 years as an “artist label that refuses to be labeled “.

BRETT HARRIS is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Durham, North Carolina. In 2010 his first LP man of few words was presented by Paste Magazine’s “Best of What’s Next” NPR’s “All Songs Considered: Second Stage” and made several “Best of” lists, drawing comparisons to the work of Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson and Emitt Rhodes. Additionally, Brett has participated as a main band member in live performances of Third of Big Star, playing across the United States in addition to the United Kingdom, Spain and Australia. Acclaimed critic Bill Knopp, in a rave review, said that its 2016 release, In the air“classic pop fans will come hit the ‘repeat’ button.”

RAMUNĖ MARCINKEVIČIŪTĖ is a Lithuanian jazz singer currently studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Double majoring in economics and media and journalism, Ramunė received the 2022 Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz Studies award while pursuing his musical career and other career aspirations at UNC. She released her first single, “I Don’t Think of You”, in July 2020.

CHRIS STAMEY studied composition with Roger Hannay at UNC in the 70s, then, after moving to New York, formed the influential 80s rock band The dB’s. Over the next decade and a half in Manhattan, he produced numerous artists, recorded for A&M Records, and toured internationally with a variety of musicians of all genres, including Anton Fier, Carla Bley, Jack Bruce (Cream), Arto Lindsay, Bob Mold. , and Michael Stipe (REM). Upon returning to Chapel Hill in 1993, he started Modern Recording and went on to an active career as a producer, arranger and recording artist. His innovative 2011 arrangements for Memphis band Big Star’s Third record have been performed at the Barbican (London) and many international festivals, and a complete concert film of these, thank you my friends (Concord 2017), featured the Kronos Quartet as well as icons from the indie pop world. In 2018, his “songwriting memoir”, A spy in Loud’s house, was published by Univ. from Texas Press. His one-hour “holiday radio musical” Occasional chills, hosted by Branford Marsalis, has become a perennial favorite on public radio. A two-disc collection of other artists performing his compositions, New songs for the 20th century (Omnivore 2019), was followed by the studio recording of A whole new shade of blue in 2020.

Reviews for the previous version of Stamey, New songs for the 20th century:

“Musicians from Rod Stewart to Bob Dylan have turned to the Great American Songbook to rekindle their creativity. But Chris Stamey took a different approach. Instead of singing other people’s compositions, he rearranged a handful of old songs and wrote a series of new ones that sound like material from a 1958 recording session by Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. ‘— Review by Geoffrey Himes, pessimistic magazine, September 2019

“It’s a prodigious project that requires real attention. Fortunately, the gift of this music pays off in timeless beauty and boundless inspiration. It is as if the past had been invigorated by the present, with nothing lost and everything gained. – Bill Bentley’s review, American highways, July 10, 2019

‘Insomnia’ perfectly exemplifies the full album’s intelligence and exuberance for rich harmonic environments and material unencumbered by compositional excess. Not a note is lost. — Pop matters, May 16, 2019

“The Great American Songbook influence is strong and the overall sound is much closer to jazz than rock. It doesn’t hurt that Stamey brought a few soners here: Branford Marsalis on tenor sax, Matt Douglas on clarinet, Jim Crew (with Stamey himself) on piano, Jason Foureman on bass, and Dan Davis on drums. Django Haskins is the vocalist, one of more than a dozen vocalists who alternate tracks throughout the album, including Nnenna Freelon, Ariel Pocock and power-pop maestro Marshall Crenshaw. — jazz hour, June 28, 2019

“This is a stunning project that will capture the attention of listeners across multiple genres and those awarding prizes for such projects.” — Sliding magazineJune 26, 2019

“Bravo to Stamey, and I hope these songs find their way into other artists’ live performances and recording sessions and, in some way, become part of a New American Songbook.” —Robert Baird, 20th century globe, July 10, 2019

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