Grammy® Nominated Vocalist, Pianist, Composer and Arranger Nicole Zuraitis Releases Her Exciting, Provocative New Album All Wandering Hearts, Out July 31st on Dot Time Records
Dot Time Records recording artist Nicole Zuraitis’ fourth album as a bandleader, All Wandering Hearts explores the raw emotions and tribulations of life on the road as a full-time musician. Listeners will take a journey through genre-bending jazz-adjacent soundscapes that are both complex and lyrical in nature. Delving into themes of love, loss, and exploration, the album is an insight into the experience of the creative mind in today’s socio-political climate. Alongside Nicole, the album features an all-star cast of New York City based musicians including Idan Morim on guitar, Dan Pugach on drums, Alex Busby Smith on bass, Carmen Staaf on the rhodes and organ, Thana Alexa on vocals, Elise Testone on vocals and Chase Potter on strings.
To be released on July 31st, All Wandering Hearts consists of seven original compositions by Zuraitis, and three unique arrangements of classic songs. On this impassioned release, Zuraitis taps into the psyche of modern-day America with her clever songwriting and stunning vocal performance. The tracks of this album cover major issues that working artists face on the road such as maintaining their mental and physical health, homesickness, relationship woes, coping with death, social media burnout, exhaustion, mercurial emotions and the constant worry of making ends meet. “With this diversion into the songwriting world, I wanted to pay homage to my jazz roots and the great American songbook,” Zuraitis notes.
All Wandering Hearts begins with a Zuraitis original, the dynamic “Make it Flood”; a beautifully vulnerable proclamation of hope. “Make it Flood” introduces audiences to the stunning interplay of this steadfast rhythm section and Nicole’s warm, virtuosic vocal stylings. This track begins our journey on a collection of songs which allow us insight into the inner workings of a wandering heart, and the mind of a musician who works six nights a week while doing her best to make time for her spouse, foster dogs and her family. The album continues with the second track “The Way Home”, a fiery song that documents the pain of loss and the feeling of missing a loved one, and at once is a reminder to “find your way home” when you’re feeling lost. Stellar guitar-work from Idan Morim and string playing from Chase Potter surround Nicole’s assured refrains.
“Overdrive Mind” echoes the voices of many who find solace in escaping from harsh realities and the constant pressures that one puts on themselves through secluding oneself. The track speaks to mental health woes that can be associated with the lifestyle of the modern-day musician, but also makes a much larger message about the stigma of mental health in our culture.
Aside from Nicole’s captivating original compositions, All Wandering Hearts features three new arrangements of classic songs that speak to the album’s overarching themes of travelling, both abroad and inward. “Send Me On My Way”, another song chronicling an inner journey, originally written and recorded by 90’s rock band Rusted Root gets a soulful makeover by Zuraitis. “What a Wonderful World” written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, popularized by Louis Armstrong, gets a stripped down solemn treatment made particularly impactful given the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the country’s current socio-political climate, and collective emotional well-being. Nicole laments “What a Wonderful World used to be such a hopeful song for me; but the current world climate both physically and politically, makes the song translate as pure melancholy. But the intention of hope is still there.”
More Information About the Artist:
Grammy® nominated vocalist, pianist and songwriter Nicole Zuraitis draws from the traditions of jazz, pop and blues to create music that is rich in depth and heart. As a bandleader, a recording artist and the premiere vocalist of the world famous Birdland Big Band among other notable ensembles, Nicole has established herself as a staple on the New York City Jazz scene and has made a significant mark on the global modern jazz landscape. This musical chameleon brings creative ingenuity and her signature warmth to a wide array of genres and styles. Nicole’s stunning vocal prowess paired with her facility on the piano and her talent as a consummate entertainer prove that she is anything but your average jazz singer.
In 2019, Nicole’s illustrious career blossomed even further when her and her husband, renowned drummer and bandleader Dan Pugach, were dually nominated for a Grammy® for their arrangement of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Nicole can be found gracing the stages at both the iconic Birdland Jazz Club and Greenwich Village’s 55 Bar weekly, displaying her stellar vocal capacity; an intersection where virtuosity meets unbridled, genuine enthusiasm.
Nicole’s critically acclaimed 2018 release, Hive Mind (Dot Time Records) earned the title of ‘Best Jazz Album’ in the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Awards. In 2015, Nicole was the second runner-up in the illustrious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and won the Herb Alpert ASCAP Young Composer Award in 2014. In addition, Zuraitis has assembled an all-star female ensemble to record her project Generations of Her – Women Songwriters and Lyricists of the Last 100 Years.
While not leading her own ensembles, Nicole performs and tours extensively with her husband’s renowned ensemble, the Dan Pugach Nonet. Nicole has collaborated with such luminaries as Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung and Bernard Purdie.