Love Is in the Air
Debbie Hunter, a "lithe voiced.."warm and thoroughly likeable performer" will win you over with her open, honest and elegant style. Recorded 'live' with world renowned stride pianist, Paul Asaro, this album has a truly unique sound. The liner notes read "With Paul at the piano, I feel like I'm at a party where you might hear George Gershwin or Hoagy Carmichael playing their latest tune. This seems appropriate since I came to love many of these tunes either singing over Paul's shoulder, leaning against the tall upright, or draped over the crook of the grand while he played." A Chicago native, Ms. Hunter now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest. She has performed with the Oregon Symphony, written and produced two of her own cabaret shows, and entertained aboard the Columbia Queen, Empress of the North and Queen of the West riverboats. She also participated in the acclaimed international Cabaret Conference at Yale University this past summer. Along with singing, Debbie is a versatile stage actress, who has appeared in leading roles in dozens of productions, both musical and non-musical at a variety of theaters including Portland Center Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Court Theater, and Artists Repertory Theater. She is a founding member of Quintessence Language and Imagination Theater, a company devoted to both Shakespeare and original work. Paul Asaro is known as one of the finest of a select group of pianists who still perform the demanding, two-handed piano styles from the first half of the 20th century. The Stride piano of James P. Johnson, Willie 'The Lion' Smith and Fats Waller, the New Orleans styles of Jelly Roll Morton, the ragtime of Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake, stomps, boogie woogie and swing, Asaro plays them all with a fine ear for detail, blending the elements into his own personal style. Indeed, most of Paul's earliest influences were more recent pianists such as Dick Wellstood, Ralph Sutton and Butch Thompson, musicians who worked within these traditions while at the same time developing their own unique approach. Paul performs at Jazz and Ragtime festivals, clubs and theaters worldwide and has appeared onstage with musical legends and luminaries as Leon Redbone, Steve Allen, Marian McPartland, Jeff Healy, Jim Galloway, Dan Barrett, Jon Faddis, Orange Kellin, Vince Giordano, Brian Ogilvie, Jon-Erik Kellso and Duke Heitger. He was featured as 'The Professor' in the award winning Broadway production and national tour of 'Jelly Roll! The Music and the Man' performing alongside the show's creator and star Vernel Bagneris. Asaro has had long runs as house pianist aboard the legendary New Orleans steamboat 'Delta Queen', in Chicago with Jim Beebe's band featuring Louis Armstrong alum Barrett Deems and Fats Waller alum Franz Jackson, and in Seattle as a regular solo pianist at 'Julia's in Wallingford'. Currently Asaro is on the road touring with Leon Redbone, pausing recently to appear on Jim Cullum's 'Riverwalk Jazz' program for National Public Radio, tour the country with his own trio, record a new solo album and travel to England to record a duet album with British Stride piano great, Neville Dickie. When off the road, Asaro performs solo regularly at the Blind Pig, a saloon in his home base of Champaign, Illinois.