VOCALIST | SONGWRITER | AUTHOR
"like Love, Music must be made." ~epp
“…vocal prowess, stage presence and an elegance of yesteryear.”
C. Michael Bailey | All About Jazz
[Louisiana native], Erica Papillion-Posey is a rarity, a talented opera singer who has decided to re-direct her career towards jazz. Her debut jazz recording, “The Standard Reimagined,” features her in excellent form mostly singing ballads and standards. “From the DEEP.” is another fabulous step forward.A powerful singer who cuts loose whenever inspiration strikes, Ms. Papillion-Posey has her own sound. Her style is quite expressive (she really tears into “Softly [As In A Morning Sunrise]”) yet also shows subtlety on some of the other numbers, most notably her “Chemistry.” She does not leave her opera training behind but instead adapts it to perform straight ahead jazz. Joined by pianist Tenia Nelson, [well-known sideman of Deedee Bridgewater, Christian Sands and Cyrus Chestnut]bassist, Eric Wheeler (who is featured on “Estate” and “Summertime”), drummer Alex Tripp, and occasionally Eric [Natsuhiro] Jordan, tenor and clarinet, the singer performs five originals, Bizet’s famous “L’amour et un oiseau rebelle” (Habanera) and three familiar standards. She even successfully tackles an [original] blues, “JuJu” which has a nice feature by Al Chesis on harmonica.The mostly high-powered music makes for a rousing listening experience!
Erica Papillion-Posey recently published a book entitled ‘Musings from the Mind of a Mezzo’ (2015), a title revealing a lot about the singer. Papillion-Posey is a classically trained (mezzo soprano to be precise) at home in the realms of classical, opera, jazz and popular music, as well as poetry and prose. Her facility in each area studied and certain, but not so much that her art has lost its organic nature through study and practice. She is a natural singer who does not have to force her instrument to given genre, merely, she allows it to adapt and assimilate. These observations are immediately evident on [her] disc opener, Harry Edison’s by way of Jon Hendricks’ “Centerpiece” whose violin introduction, obbligato, and soloing by Jairus Daigle add to the fecund-organic sound of [her] well-grounded vocal approach. Using piano, violin and bass as support, Papillion-Posey is poised to present a dozen standards scrubbed free of romantic varnish. “Night and Day” and “Nature Boy” show [her] to be perhaps the best classically-trained voice to approach jazz. She indulges in none of the technical wizardry necessary in opera, opting to display her keen instrument in its purest, most fundamental form. This is an excellent first outing.
On The Standard Reimagined, when jazz...: “Dindi” begins quietly like the glassy smoothness of a still ocean. Papillion-Posey sings with an operatic quality. Musically, this is a charming arrangement that’s sure to inspire many a romantic mood. The piano interlude enhances the moment, but it’s the soulful passion of the [Papillion-Posey’s] voice that makes this [Dindi] one of the finer interpretations.Papillion-Posey demonstrates her skill for subtle shifts in volume to express the emotional range of this piece [“Nature Boy”].
Erica Papillion-Posey is best known as a very talented opera singer. However...on “The Standard Reimagined” she is also quite the skilled jazz vocalist. ...she does not sound like an opera singer taking the day off. While the power and perfect control of her voice is not surprising, since those are essential qualities for an opera singer, her subtlety, understanding of the lyrics and natural swing mark her THE fine jazz performer. ...she caresses the themes while infusing the songs with melodic improvising and appealing personality... with “The Standard Reimagined” the evidence...
Erica Papillion-Posey sings has a clear and confident enunciation as she takes on standards with an unorthodox and fun mix of piano...violin... and bass... On [The Standard Reimagined, when jazz...] the violin brings a rich, gypsy feel to counter and complement Papillion-Posey on the sly “Centerpiece” and the buoyant “Night and Day.” She is convincingly desultory with piano on “Don’t Explain” and “Good Mornin’ Heartache” and gives a rich and intimate delivery on “Dindi.” She makes old things sound new.
With an ear toward letting anything older than 40 years old be classified as a standard, Papillion-Posey turns her ear toward the 50’s and earlier for he jazz thrush vibe this butterfly is looking to capture. Not playing the recidivist card, this isn’t a tribute to the past so much as it is an opportunity to recognize it and bring it forward. Anyone with an ear for classic jazz vocalist that aren’t afraid to let loose, this charmer [The Standard Reimagined, when jazz...] is just the charm they’re looking for! Well done Ms. Papillion-Posey, well done!
original, multidimensional and elegant. Her voice instantly touches your soul and fills the heart with passion and love...transmitted from the beauty of her honest and genuine approach.Beautiful, bold and intelligent in person and music; Erica brings it all to the table and shares her soul with you.
Erica Papillion-Posey is a phenomenally poised vocalist who breathes fresh air into the jazz genre. ...current yet reminiscent of a classic, vintage jazz artist.
Erica Papillion-Posey writes with a palpable, smoldering desire. Emotionally intelligent, wise and elegant, her way with words triggers within the reader a mirror image of the muse that spawns her poetry. Brimming with femininity and command, we get a window inside the soul of womankind, and are seduced by both her shadow and light.
In “Musings from the Mind of a Mezzo” we find Ms. Papillion-Posey inviting us to join her journey through the opera of her life, as sung by the foremost authority on it—her. Her extensive experience and acclaim as an Opera and Jazz singer is not lost in Musings. Ms. Papillion-Posey creates phrasings in her written work that allows it to leave the page, fly into the reader’s eye, walk into the ear, finding a resting place in our hearts. ...a woman completely in control of her destiny.I will share one sleight-of-hand...; even if you’ve never heard this woman sing (which I assure you, you must do) you will still hear music in these words. With Musings, Ms. Papillion-Posey offers more than jazz, more than opera, she bares her soul as a woman who was counted out before the final curtain, and found a way to rise higher than many thought possible. There is only one thing to say of such a performance, Brava!
Ms. Papillion-Posey has wonderful vocal technique, sense of pacing and musicality. She arrives extremely prepared...knows what she wants, and at the same time is open during the musical process. All making for a truly superb artist...
In the title role, mezzo soprano, Erica Papillion-Posey captured Carmen’s slinky sexiness, radiating allure and trouble without the diva-like overcasting that sometimes attends the role. She had the vocal power to sing a soft seductive “Habanera” in a hall-filling, rounded voice, lingering over the phrases as the men in the square watched. She snapped of the Spanish style ornaments of the “Seguidilla”, she was especially compelling in the lover register, where Carmen’s sultriness comes through, even as she’s reading her dark fate in the cards.
...a living tribute and testimony to the memory of the great Ms. Marian Anderson...
No doubt, Erica Papillion-Posey is the best “Carmen” this city has seen in decades. ....wonderful voice,,,,full of grace and sensuality...
....purely exciting and rich! ...great delivery of text...
...simply gorgeous, powerful voice!
....incredibly beautiful, engaging and warm voice....