Release Date: August 18, 2023
Label: Outside in Music

Voices features eleven of the most promising rising jazz vocalists of our time, with each putting their own unexpected and singular spin on newly arranged jazz standards. The album’s first three singles “You Turned The Tables On Me“, “Born to be Blue” and “All Or Nothing At All” are streaming now on all digital platforms.

Danny Jonokuchi first moved to New York City a decade ago, initially developing the concept for Voices upon meeting the seventeen masterful musicians that now populate the incomparable Danny Jonokuchi Big Band, and the eleven vocalists featured prominently on this release. The bandleader longed to create a project that spoke to each musician’s artistry and collaborative abilities. Jonokuchi shares: “Voices serves as a reminder of the magic that unfolds when talented musicians come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts… Without an ounce of exaggeration, Voices is truly my dream album.”

Over the past 10 years, Danny Jonokuchi has cemented his posture as one of the preeminent voices on the trumpet and in modern big band arranging. The 2020 winner of the Count Basie Great American Swing Contest and the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Louis Armstrong Award, Jonokuchi’s well-crafted arrangements have been performed by an eye-popping array of artists ranging from pop icon Lady Gaga to veteran jazz vocalist Catherine Russell, as well as GRAMMY nominated vocalist Nicole Zuraitis, The Duke Ellington Legacy, and The Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band. Owens Jr., who wrote a foreword as part of the album’s liner notes, remarks “Voices is an obvious title for an album featuring some dynamite singers, but Danny and the members of the band have also proven to be the leading voices of their generation. I believe that as he continues with projects like Voices, Danny will continue to create an indelible mark in the jazz world and beyond.”

As an arranger, Jonokuchi is heralded for his ability to uniquely create the perfect sonic canvas over which vocalists can soar, as well as his uncanny ability to write to the strengths of each of the members of the ensemble. A Jonokuchi score has a distinct sound and feel to it that is palpable – and that dynamic, brilliant sound is displayed here in full-force.

Voices offers listeners emotive vocal renditions of standards featuring some of the very finest jazz vocalists on the scene today. The opening track of Voices is a bright, swinging rendition of the Jones & Khan classic “The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else).” The bandleader remarks “The opening track features my oldest collaborator, Alexa Barchini. She is the only musician that has been featured on every album I’ve ever released. It was a no-brainer to make this song the opener—it has a striking uptempo and happy sound, and most people familiar with my music are huge fans of Alexa’s singing.” Brianna Thomas’ show-stopping rendition of “Summertime” is another highlight of Jonokuchi’s musical masterstroke. Thomas’ vocal lines ooze with her soulful refrains. Set as the fourth track on the album, this Gershwin standard is the explosive, grand slam of the record.

Jonokuchi’s bright-tempoed samba arrangement of “What a Difference a Day Made” features jubilant vocals from Alita Moses. The bandleader remarks that his collaboration with Moses has been a long-time coming, exclaiming “Alita Moses and I have been dreaming up a big band collaboration for years but our schedules have never aligned… So when I first heard her sing my version of “What a Difference a Day Made” I’ll admit I got teary-eyed… When I heard her belting this fun samba arrangement was when I felt the project truly came together.” Listeners will enjoy Zuraitis’ sultry vocals on the bandleader’s leisurely arrangement of “Social Call”. Jonokuchi recalls “Nicole Zuraitis’ performance of “Social Call” gives me goosebumps. She gets inside of the arrangement with her flawless execution of the rather angular melody. She stays so true to the original melody that when she embellishes it there’s a profound sense of wonder.”

Voices goes far to bring the classic big band sound into 2023. Jonokuchi strikes the perfect balance of tradition and innovation, and the musicians that can be heard throughout this album’s tracks are whole-heartedly dedicated to creating an ensemble-sound that compliments the vocalist in a masterful way. The bandleader notes “I’m grateful that [the musicians] all contributed their personalities and individual voices to the final product, while taking great care to perfect the intricate details of the arrangements. This is the highest compliment they could have offered me. From the singing, to the improvised solos, to the ensemble passages, each musician infused this album with character. There are no “throw-away” notes and every phrase lifts you to the next. This is only achieved with a level of experience, professionalism, and love of the genre that is staggering.”

The Danny Jonokuchi Big Band features Andrew Gould (Alto Sax, Flute), Christopher McBride (Alto Sax, Flute), Chris Oatts (Alto Sax, Flute), Jon Beshay (Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet), Chris Lewis (Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet), Andrew Gutauskas (Baritone Sax, Flute, Bass Clarinet), trumpeters Nick Marchione (lead trumpet) Sam Hoyt, John LakeJames ZollarScott WendholtNoah HalpernBruce Harris, trombonists Robert EdwardsSara JacovinoJason JacksonReginald Chapman (bass trombone), pianist Jeb Patton, bassist Samuel Harris, drummer Kevin Congleton and percussionist Víctor Pablo. The album features special guest vocalists Alexa BarchiniTahira ClaytonNicole ZuraitisBrianna ThomasShenel JohnsAlita MosesCharles TurnerLucy YeghiazaryanSirintipMartina DaSilvaHannah Gill.

For Voices

"On this new album, ‘Voices’, Jonokuchi presents a showcase, an introduction to a comprehensive cross section of New York City’s emergent vocal talent. He’s offered eleven budding artists a rare opportunity to perform in the unaffordable setting they crave: six reeds, seven trumpets, four trombones and a four-piece rhythm section." Read the full article here.

"“Voices” is a gift to the beautiful voices that only need to elegantly settle upon it to shine like eleven candles on a birthday cake, with genuine listening pleasure." Read the full review here.

"Although on this album he neither sings nor plays* he knows a whole lot who do and, coupled with his fine arrangements, they all shine as indeed do the reeds, 'bones and rhythm section." Check out the full article here.

Check out this Editors Choice feature here.

"Jonokuchi has written charts that swing hard and offer terrific musical beds for the vocalists. From first track to last, this is an aural feast." Check out the full review here.

"Jonokuchi has written some great arrangements. Fans of big band music (with or without vocalists) will want to check out this album." Check out the full review here.

"Danny Jonokuchi is a trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader; for him to marshal the resources together to record 60 minutes’ worth of music by a 17-piece jazz orchestra is an almost Herculean undertaking. Ditto his own labor of writing 11 orchestrations for that ensemble." Check out the full article here.

"Voices is a superb showcase of 11 supremely talented singers, which may have been Jonokuchi’s intention, but it’s a heck of a lot more than that. It’s retro, it’s fresh and it’s incredibly cool, packed with great performances mixed particularly well. (Give that man a Grammy, I say…) " Check out the full article here.

"Normally in a project such as this one, the singers would dominate. However Danny Jonokuchi’s arrangements for his orchestra are not only complementary but memorable by themselves, and there is plenty of solo space for his talented sidemen. " Check out the full article here.

Check out this feature on the editors best of 2023 list here.

"Voices reinvigorates well-worn tunes and a few we don't hear so much anymore, all most welcome with the Jonokuchi joy." Check out the full review here.