After listening to her debut album “Time After” earlier this week, I quickly said yes to an opportunity to hear Naz (Nazia Chaudhry) live at Churchill Grounds in midtown Atlanta. (You can read a review and listen to Naz’s debut album, “Time After” here at Libro Musica.) Churchill Grounds, located next to the Fox Theater and across the street from the Georgia Terrace, has a long history of bring top notch jazz music to the stage. I typically think of Churchill Grounds as a destination for a cocktail and music after a show at the Fox Theatre but tonight, the jazz club was my main destination for the evening.
A perfect place for a date, Churchill Grounds is a cozy place with a line of candle lit tables down one side and the bar taking up the other wall. With it’s hard wood paneled walls, jazz portraits, the look and feel, reminds me of images of jazz clubs from the 50’s and 60’s in New York and Chicago. Beyond the great atmosphere and great line ups of music, that are a staple at Churchill Grounds, there is an excellent menu with a short list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. There is also a large selection of wines, liquors, teas and fine coffees. All of these things cause many to describe Churchill Grounds as one of the best jazz clubs in Atlanta.
Tonight the crowd settled in to hear jazz from Naz and her quartet. Naz’s quartet was comprised of: Tyrone Jackson on Piano, Billy Thornton on Bass, Sam Skelton on Sax and Clarinet and Chris Burroughs on Drums. Each of these gentlemen are veterans of the stage and those many years of skills apparent as they backed up Naz with confidence and show their “stuff” during their solos. The night opened with the quartet performing a fun filled and high energy instrumental arrangement to announce the start of the show.
With a mix of standards and jazz arrangements of some popular hits made famous by Sting, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and more, Naz showed off her smooth voice and vocal control. Many of the songs tonight were old favorites for me and the crowd but Naz put her own touch on each of them. A special treat for me was Naz’s rendition of I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, which is one of my all time favorites.
Set List for Naz Live at Churchill Grounds
9 PM Show
- Almost Like Being in Love
- That’s All
- Every Breath You Take (Sting/Police)
- All the Things You Are
- I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face
- My Foolish Heart
- Take a Chance on Love
- Human Nature
- So Danco Samba
11 PM Show
- Taking a Chance on Love
- That’s All
- Like Someone in Love
- East of the Sun
- Human Nature
- It Could Happen to You
- So Danco Samba
If you get the chance, pick up Naz’s debut album “Time After“ and add it to your Libro Musica.
Interview with Naz
What was your most recent addition to your music library?
I of course own a library containing the classic jazz vocalists and instrumentalists. Recent additions include more contemporary jazz artists such as Jamie Cullum, Esperanza Spalding, & Gretchen Parlato. I like to honor the lyric, explore vocal texture, and play with instrumentation to create a specific mood when I arrange a song. I feel these artists possess a lot of percussive qualities I would like to learn from at the moment. I feel we are all in a quest to find our true voice and as we grow, our voices and music evolves to reflect our experiences. Some of my music is affected on a deeper level now that I am a mother.
What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
The music I listen to runs the gamut from classical, musical theater, world music and jazz to pop & adult contemporary. My parents were big supporters of the arts. In between our own music rehearsals, we would go to see the orchestra, Broadway musicals, and ballet performances. I didn’t see my first opera until I was in high school when I was well into my classical voice training. One of my favorite live performances that sticks out when I was younger is seeing Sweet Honey in the Rock performing at the Louisville Performing Arts Center. They are a female a cappella group that incorporate voice & percussion. It really opened my ears to that spiritual style of a cappella music and I remember putting their album, Still on the Journey, on repeat. Maybe that’s where my love for voice with percussion began.
If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
There are so many albums by artists across genres that I greatly admire. I can’t just choose one! That’s like asking me to choose a favorite candy!
What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
Mel Tormé, Jimmy Scott, & Bobby McFerrin. Mel Tormé had so much to offer not just as a singer, but as a bandleader, drummer, composer, and arranger. Mel’s voice was so pure and he delivered the meaning of the song, without all the vocal frills. One can feel the life and experience behind Jimmy’s delivery and his impeccable phrasing, which I think we all strive for as musicians. Bobby McFerrin is just a phenomenal vocal talent and I love how he plays with vocal percussion, texture, and range.
What special projects do you have in the works that you want your fans to know about?
I am preparing for the birth of my second child in June, and I still plan on performing until he is born before I take a brief hiatus from live performing. I’m currently releasing a series of live performances on my YouTube Channel, titled #NazLive , and working on the release of a new album. All that combined with an equally busy career in voice over, acting, and coaching, paired with an energetic 3 year old and is more than enough for me to handle right now.