Terra Hazelton: hot jazz at St. Lawrence Stage

 

Stage actor. Genie nominated film star. Radio personality. Model. Composer. Singer.

Especially a singer.

Terra Hazelton, who will be coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 17, with her band, Easy Answers, is a multi-talented Canadian artist who will be offering a stunning mixture of blues and jazz at her show. 

Sandra Whitworth, of the St. Lawrence Stage, described Hazelton as a “..powerhouse singer. And the band is just a whole lot of fun. This is just going to be a terrific show.”

When Hazelton was asked how someone just 33 could have already accomplished so much, she laughed. “My passion for the arts started at a very early age.” 

Hazelton first earned her acting chops with the Loose Moose Theatre Company of Calgary, an organization founded by Keith Johnstone. Artistic director, Dennis Cahill, has had a profound effect on some of Canada’s best performers, including members of the Kids in the Hall, and of course, Terra Hazelton.

At age 14, Hazelton was already learning improvisational comedy and taking part in children’s theatre productions.

She credits Cahill and  the company with infusing her with “a taste for the stage, for telling stories and for making people laugh. My theatre experiences really nurtured all my natural urges to perform. And,” she laughed, “I also found I had a strong affinity for singing.”

Time spent at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, really exposed Hazelton to the classic lyricists and composers, to Broadway legends like George Gershwin and Cole Porter. And her career soon took a new direction. “I discovered I loved that kind of music, loved singing it. I began veering away from my original Broadway stage ambitions” and instead found singing taking precedence. 

She returned to Toronto and started performing in cabarets and on stage. 

Then came the moment Hazelton calls “kismet.”

She had been performing around Toronto, particularly at the Brunswick House, when legendary singer/guitarist Jeff Healey heard her sing. His band, the Jazz Wizards, had been formed about a year earlier, and he was looking for a vocalist. 

“He sort of ‘musically courted’ me,” Hazelton laughed. “He came around to hear me at different clubs for a while, and then he offered me a wonderful job” as his band’s featured vocalist. 

It was a magical match: Hazelton toured with his band and Healey eventually produced the young performer’s debut record, “Anybody’s Baby” in 2004.

“The reaction to her (Hazelton) has been overwhelmingly positive to say the least,” Healey said. “I can say that I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a vocalist receive more of an outpouring of affection and adulation.”

Hazelton’s repertoire is grounded in her interpretations of classic jazz and the blues. 

“Jeff exposed me to some of the early great jazz musicians, singers from the 20’s and 30’s. I love Bessie Smith, for the blues and Connie Boswell is my favourite for jazz. Boswell was really the Brittany Spears of the 1930’s. Some of these artists are a little less known today, but I love singing them. Let’s just say my blues choices are earlier than my jazz choices.”

Hazelton is very much looking forward to her performance with Easy Answers at the St. Lawrence Stage. “It will be a great evening.”

Tickets for Terra Hazelton’s concert on November 17 are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. They are available at the Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars and Compact music or on line at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage.

 

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