Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deanna Bogart: The Mom with the Horn

Saxophonist and pianist Deanna Bogart began to make a name for herself in the early 1980’s singing and playing for Cowboy Jazz, a Maryland-based group specializing in western swing-style music. Before starting her own band in 1988, she played rhythm and blues with Root Boy Slim, a Washington, D.C.-based artist.
Bogart is one musician not afraid to hit the road, having traveled to Iraq and Kuwait with Bluzapalooza, a tour organized two years ago by Blues promoter Steven Simon to entertain U.S. servicemen abroad. Still, she spends a lot of time in the D.C.-Maryland area, where she lives. Currently, she has gigs scheduled for the Birchmere in Alexandria on Oct. 15, for the Weinberg Center in Frederick, Maryland on November 26 and a New Year’s Eve engagement at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis.
It was at the Rams Head Tavern that Beldon’s Blues Point caught up with her last Sunday, where she had just sat in on a concert given by Joe Louis Walker and Murali Coryell:
BBP: You’re on the new Joe Louis Walker album, Live on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. How did that come together?
Bogart: It was amazing, I mean the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise is amazing anyway. It’s kind of indescribable. But they’re so many musicians on there and so much fixing and sharing and cross-pollinating going on that all kinds of things just happen and Joe had mentioned that he was going to be recording and he said can you come by this particular night and it was of course an honor and a treat and I would have done it anywhere at any time, anyway. I’ve been a fan of Joe’s for a really really long time, so just to be on stage with him and then to be on the record was real nice.
BBP: So what are you doing these days, what are you up to?
Bogart: I don’t know. Just trying to keep the gigs working and keep the thing rolling and so far, so good, you know; writing, producing, arranging for some folks I like and playing gigs and being a mom and cleaning up the house, you know (laughs). The most recent album of ours is called 11th Hour and that’s been out not quite a year, still in the “sort-of-new” column.
BBP: You’re in the process of writing songs and perhaps doing material for something else coming out?
Bogart: You know I don’t write necessarily for that reason, but it might feel like it’s time to record because a lot of things are starting to come through and there’s a lot of things I’m starting to hear and want to write. So if I can keep myself disciplined and motivated I can get them down on paper before I forget them.
BBP: Who else are you working with? You said you are producing for other people and doing things for other people. Who are you working with?
Bogart: I produced two records for Matt Wigler, amazing young piano player, organ player. One called Epiphony, one called Thirteen. And I recorded a holiday record, Home Run Holiday with Rick Dempsey, the Orioles MVP catcher. That’s not even a year old, so I’m real proud of that. It’s a good record, I like it a lot.
BBP: You’re talking about a baseball player? And he’s a musician too?
Bogart: He’s a singer.
BBP: A singer. Wow.
Bogart: So we decided to do a holiday record and my only criteria was, it’s got to somehow sound fresh because they’re so many holiday records.
BBP: This is Christmas, you mean.
Bogart: Well, we made it holiday, but yeah….It’s called Home Run Holiday, it’s on Vista Records and it’s a good record. It’s got Scott Ambush (bass), Mike Aubin (drums), Dan Leonard (guitar), Eric Scott (vocals), Matt Wigler(piano, keyboards)…it’s a very cool record.
BBP: Who’s your favorite saxophone player and who were some of your influences coming along?
Bogart: Wow, I don’t know how many I’m allowed to say here but Ben Webster might be my all-time favorite. Dexter Gordon, Lester Young, Maceo Parker, Stanley Turrentine, and musicians in general too, musicians of every instrument that have been inspiring and life-changing at different times.

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