Pamela Rose is a wild woman of song. Her vocal style and hard work have allowed her to make a noteworthy living with soulful, swinging jazz, in her native San Francisco and afar. Her show, Wild Women of Song, lands at ASU Kerr Cultural Center Friday night, and she visited about it by phone from her California home.
The set list for this weekend reads like a Best Remembered American Songs record, with standards like 'I'm in the Mood for Love,' 'Pick Yourself Up,' and 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love.' The hummable music along with her warmly oozing, round tones are enough to fill a music hall with happy, satisfied listeners any day of the week. The little known commonality is that all of the tunes were written by women.
"If I can be a hub for people remembering, I welcome that role," said Rose, whose show effectively dusts off and revives long forgotten tales of amazing careers and phenomenal vitality
She has become an historian of sorts, raising awareness about American music origins. When it dawned on her that we all recognize names like Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers with the same familiarity as her set list, but that the ladies' names and stories were unknown, she followed her personal curiosity. Her research blossomed into a catalog that has become a musical tour, a YouTube channel and a wonderfully personalized encyclopedia.
The show is continually evolving according to Rose. It began "a little hodge-podgy," featuring lady composers and lyricists as Rose discovered their stories. As family members of the jazz women have contacted her and as she receives better images and videos, the program has "tightened nicely." Rose characterizes it as "a multi-media production that plays as a timeline."
"I wasn't sure how these ladies would respond when I wanted to raise the bar a little, add a little theatrics to what started as a traditional jazz combo," Rose shared about the small talented bunch that tours with her. "But they said, 'Oh yeah!!' and now we're singing three part vocals here and there. Each of them are talking a bit. They couldn't be more perfect for this show."
Rose's own family life is dappled with women of music as well. "My mother was of that depression era. She dabbled in Vaudeville and radio to make a little extra money," she recalled. "My daughter understands, too. It started with me singing to her when she was little. Now, she is serious about song-writing, too. We both appreciate how it takes so much hard work to make music sound easy."
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