Stretching and exploring standards like “You Go To My Head” and “Falling In Love With Love” while interpreting Edith Piaf’s signature song, “La Vie En Rose,” the two share an uncanny chemistry as Moutin unleashes his rich, woody tones with monstrous conviction while Shah soars freely over the barline with her supple phrasing. They may also injected a bit of buoyant Afro-Cuban spirit on Dafnis Prieto’s rhythmically infectious “Blah Blah” and interpret Horace Silver’s hauntingly beautiful ballad “Peace” in the course of their Exit Zero Jazz Festival set.
The gifted singer and intrepid improviser Kavita Shah has been creating a stir with her sparse but adventurous with duo with French bassist extraordinaire Francois Moutin. The raves are in. “What they are doing is something completely new” said NPR’s “All Things Considered” while Owen McNally of WNPR exlaimed, “Shah’s music reflects the insatiably curious mind of an ethnographer, the soul of a poet, and the eye of a painter.” In their Exit Zero Jazz Festival appearance, the two kindred spirits will be premiering tunes from their new album Interplay on Dot Time Records. Hear them embrace spontaneity, virtuosity, and lyricism in this unique bass and voice duo.
A native New Yorker of Indian descent, Shah is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and French. As a singer she is fluent in the jazz tradition while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. Shah was named by DownBeat as the “Best Graduate Jazz Vocalist” in 2012 and in 2013 she won an ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award. Growing up in Manhattan, she studied classical piano and performed regularly at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a member of the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of NYC. She earned a B.A. from Harvard College in Latin American Studies and later received her Master’s in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Theo Bleckmann, Peter Eldridge, Jim McNeely and Steve Wilson. Said Wilson: “Kavita is a musician’s singer. She thinks like an instrumentalist, always taking risks and searching for new levels of understanding. Her music defies categorization; she has a truly unique vision shaped by her influences from New York to Brazil to India and beyond.” Shah’s 2014 debut as a leader, Visions (Inner Circle Music), was co-produced by guitarist Lionel Loueke. Her collaboration with Moutin on Interplay was hailed by All About Jazz as “a meeting of minds and spirits; one that embraces virtuosity, spontaneity, and lyricism through a repertoire of standards and original music adapted to the unique instrumentation of acoustic bass and voice.” Shah and Moutin are joined by their octogenarian mentors singer Sheila Jordan (an NEA Jazz Master) and revered French pianist Martial Solal on this freewheeling musical journey.
Parisian-born Moutin received a college degree in engineering and earned a doctorate in physics at the age of 24, before he elected to become a professional musician. As a member of the legendary Martial Solal’s Trio, Francois was recognized as one of the finest young bass players in Europe. At 29, he began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a top echelon jazz drummer. When still living in Paris, Francois worked non-stop with the greatest musicians of Europe, including Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, André Ceccarelli, Jean-Michel Pilc, Christian Escoude. He has also performed with Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker, Niels Lan Doky, Mino Cinelu, Dave Liebman and L’ensemble Inter Contemporain. Since moving to New York City in November 1997, Moutin has been a ubiquitous figure on the Big Apple jazz scene.