Album: Right Around The Corner
With guest Dave Liebman
Street Date: November 6th, 2018
Release Show: March 16, 2019, 54 Below, NYC
New York, NY -- New breed vocalist John Minnock is thrilled to announce the release of his new album Right Around The Corner. On his sophomore effort, out November 6th, John presents jazz, blues and cabaret classics in a way that has never been heard before with the help of special guest, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Dave Liebman on saxophone. John’s experiences as an openly gay man gives way to a unique perspective that is at once eye-opening, touching and down right fun. Supported by a stellar rhythm section including pianist/arranger Enrique Hanenine (whose latest album The Mind’s Mural hit #1 on the NACC Radio Chart) bassist Carlos Mena and drummer Pablo Eluchans, John's new "gay-ahead jazz album" is a groundbreaker as it explores LGBTQ subject-matter in a jazz setting. John will celebrate the release of his new album on November 17th at the iconic Don’t Tell Mama in Times Square.
John Minnock’s first album, Every Day Blues, introduced his signature wit and candor as he explored the American songbook from the perspective as a gay man in today’s world. His long-running show of the same name, presented through the years at the Metropolitan Room, the Triad Theater and, most recently, Don't Tell Mama, has been an audience favorite, attracting a diverse cast of attendees from inquisitive cabaret fans to serious jazz listeners. Right Around The Corner features a mix of material frequently performed at his live show (“Skylark”, “Moon River”, “I Love Being Here With You”, “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans”) and impressive original compositions that tell stories of gay life that are seldom heard on the bandstand.
A stand out moment is John’s original composition, “Right Around the Corner”; the title being a play on the Mel Torme/George Shearing classic “Love is Just Right Around The Corner”. John’s lyrics were lifted directly from personal experience and offers plenty of nods to real life nightlife experiences in the New York City gay community. “Less so today, but in the past it was common for gay people to, when visiting a city, look for the neighborhood that designated LGBTQ and visit some or most or all bars there. This was a way to get to know the community in that city,” says John. John takes listeners through all of his favorite corners, many of which are home not just to him, but others in the gay community as well: Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up on 46th and 8th, Rise on 56th and 9th, Arriba Arriba on 51st and 9th, Don’t Tell Mama on 46th and 9th and Hardware and DBL at 48th and 10th. The song was also synthed, which is a nod to electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos; a pioneer as well in gender re-assignment.
Another highlight is John’s interpretation of “New York, New York” by Jay Brannon (not the famous Kander and Ebb tune). The lyrics call back to “My Favorite Things”- specifically the version made famous by John Coltrane. “I thought of it as My LEAST Favorite Things about New York!” said John. Soprano saxophonist David Liebman, a jazz musician who is quintessential “New York” and is arguably the greatest living bastion of Coltrane’s sound, joins John here to dazzling results. “Liebman’s playing here invokes for me the bluesy black and white bankrupt world New York was in the 1960’s and 1970’s… I tried to adapt my vocalizing to match the players,” he said. Liebman joins John again on a superb version of “Skylark”. Performed often at his live show, the studio version gives new life to the stalwart melody with a jaw-dropping saxophone-vocal duo. John’s presentation of “Skylark” is painted by his experience workshopping it with the revered Lina Koutrakos.
Johns other originals, “Are We All Alone” and “Everything Changes”, tell different stories within the context of a gay relationship. The first deals with the challenges of a relationship without much experience or support from family or friends, and the second tells of a more mature relationship with all of its peaks and valleys. “There’s a section of happiness like an anthem, then a section of doubt and complication, maybe a bit neurotic (I call this ‘the Seinfeld section),” says John, adding that “most of the subject matter comes from issues and topics of the LGBTQ community”.
John Minnock is a native New Yorker who has been “telling it like it is” in the cabaret and vocal jazz scene for over a decade. Recipient of the Hot House Jazz Fans Decision Award in 2016, John is a classically trained musician who immediately blossomed when he saw Ruth Brown's live show, which incorporated energy, enthusiasm, and her personal life experiences. While John has performed myriad styles from r&b, funk, soul and classical, jazz and blues have been the genres in which he is most comfortable.
Jazz and blues were, essentially, borne of the life experiences of an oppressed and discriminated against group - African Americans. The sound developed in and around New Orleans. Various cultures (beyond African Americans) have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form - and for John as a gay man, this same thing occurred in an evolutionary manner. "I personally understand oppression and have experienced discrimination. I believe this is an underlying reason I gravitate toward the music."
On Right Around The Corner, John brings a much-needed, fresh perspective to the vocal jazz genre. In John’s own words: “In writing the original songs, it became clear ‘it had to be jazz”. This genre offers the flexibility to fully express yourself (as Madonna might say). At one point in writing, I had a specific question and I asked Enrique “can I do this..?” and he responded “you can do anything, it’s jazz”’.
"So, before you read everything John and I talked about, I say thanks to John for reminding me why this project is important - even if just to myself and the people I talk to. " Read the full interview here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"On this recording, Minnock shows us he can sing it all. He is clearly an artist who pushes the boundaries of music and art with his vocal instrument." Read the full review here.
"This guy works without a net, but never falls off the trapeze!" Read the full review here.
"Mixing some of his favorite covers with new original works, John paints a very personal picture in the music, exploring LGBTQ subject matter and telling stories of his life in the city." Read the full feature here.
"At 54 Below, Minnock's outstanding technical ability, paired with evocative lyrics and superb showmanship proved that he is a dynamic musical force to be reckoned with in New York City." Read the full concert review here.