One of contemporary jazz’s true breakaway artists of 2018 with three consecutive Billboard charting hits, keyboardist/composer Carol Albert keeps the momentum flowing with her latest single “Femme Flight,” which was the #2 most added track on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs chart its first week out!
A bright and high spirited, Brazilian-tinged celebration of creative freedom, the track features Carol on piano and wordless vocals in an ensemble featuring two of the genre’s most acclaimed emerging female artists, flutist Ragan Whiteside and saxophonist Magdalena Chovankova from the chart-topping German band Threestyle. Produced, written and arranged by Carol and mixed by Paul Brown, the track features the dynamic rhythm section of Nathaniel Kearney (from Dave Koz’s touring band) and drummer Jay Williams (from Gerald Albright’s band).
Carol’s most recent chart success was “Chasing Waterfalls,” which stayed on the Billboard National Smooth Jazz Airplay chart and Smooth Jazz Songs chart for 10 weeks, peaking at #15. It also was #1 on Groove Jazz for two weeks, reached #4 on the Smooth Jazz Top 20 and also reached the Top 20 on the SmoothJazz.com chart. Her previous single, the title track to her album Fly Away Butterfly, stayed on the Billboard charts for 18 weeks, peaking at #5. The collection’s first single “One Way,” reached the Top 30 on the Billboard charts.
“It’s been very rewarding to see how my new music has resonated with people, and the radio airplay and appreciation from listeners are a wonderful confirmation that I’m on a strong creative path and achieving my goals on this very personal quest,” says Carol, whose multi-faceted career includes five albums dating back to the 90s, including the new age oriented releases Morning Music and Night Music.
“The songs on Fly Away Butterfly represented a true healing phase in my life, and I am happy to note that one friend who heard ‘Femme Flight’ said, ‘I see your butterfly has morphed into another winged animal’ in free flight. It’s a song that reminds me of being free and having the strength to not only endure but to express that freedom and love of life to the fullest. I always envisioned the track as a female ensemble piece, and I’m delighted that I could showcase the talents of two incredible musicians in Ragan and Magdalena.”
“Femme Flight” is the lead single for Carol’s currently in progress new full length album, due for release April 12.
2018 New Music Spotlight featuring Smooth Jazz Artist Carol Albert. Help celebrate a great with Carol by buying/streaming her Christmas Album, "Christmas Mystique". Featuring the voice-over by Allan Kepler.
Jazz On Ice welcomes Top 5 Billboard Smooth Jazz Artist and International recording star and pianist, Carol Albert to the program on Sunday, September 16 at 4PM EST/1 PM PST on Faces of Success Radio! Doc Hardy and Carol will chop it up about her smash album, "Fly Away Butterfly", an album that has THREE hits on the Billboard charts so far! Tune in at:
The interview will air Sunday September 16 and again on Saturday September 22.
Carol was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Music Grapevine (Melanie Siewert). You can read the article directly on their website. Be sure to subscribe to the Atlanta Music Grapevine.
We are reposting the interview below.
Everyone loves a comeback story and Carol Albert is just that. She has been a part of the Atlanta jazz music scene on and off for the past 25 years, but with her new album she is seeing renewed success.
Music has always been an important part of Carol Albert’s life. A native of Hiram, GA, she grew up in a musical family. They would gather around the piano and play and sing together. Her father played the fiddle and her grandmother the piano. Carol started playing the piano around the age of 5 alongside her grandmother. “I initially began playing with my grandmother who had had her right arm amputated due to cancer. She would show me the right-hand parts, and I would play while she played the left-hand parts.” Carol was active in music from playing piano and singing with the church choir and in the chorus at school. As a child, Carol says “my fantasy was to play on the concert stage.” Carol studied classical music in college and has been in the music industry on and off for the past 25 years with significant success. Carol’s influences range from Bach to Stevie Wonder, Al Jareau, Billy Joel, and Elton John.
"I am very proud of getting my album finished...to have it finished and so well received has been great!"
After graduating from college, she began playing a wide variety of music in bars, clubs and hotels. Baldwin Piano added her to their Artist Roster list alongside Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby as well as many other distinguished artists. She also played with a number of bands around Atlanta – including playing multiple events during the Atlanta Olympics. She landed a record deal with a German company and recorded two albums. She toured Europe on solo tours on four occasions and also played on a cruise ship around Europe.
While Carol has a beautiful voice, it is her piano and composition that distinguishes her from others in the space. She has written and played across multiple genres. Carol states “I write a lot of different kinds of music. My current album best suits the Smooth Jazz genre format, but some of the pieces from the album also fall into instrumental music categories such as Ambient Chill, New Age Instrumental or Easy Listening. Some of my older works were marketed as New Age, Adult Contemporary, as well as Jazz.”
When Carol sits down to write something new, she starts at her acoustic piano and begins developing a melody, often recording it on her iPhone. “Most of the time, I get ideas and capture them, and then I take the pieces and put them together. Or sometimes, it just flows. It’s seamless from beginning to end and I write the whole thing.” Once she has a basic melody, she moves on to embellish the melody with other instruments and synthesizer effects.
For several years, Carol took a sabbatical from writing to focus on other parts of her life. After a few years away, she was invited to a Grammy® event where she connected with an old friend, Trammell Starks, and they began discussing putting out a Christmas album. They had begun selecting music and were planning to begin recording when Carol’s husband passed away. Carol had to step away for a time to deal with his passing, but she began writing again. “I wanted to use my music for healing and as a way to re-kindle my love of writing and producing.”
In late 2017, Carol released a new album, Fly Away Butterfly. The first single, “Fly Away Butterfly”, charted at #5 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart in early 2018, and her second single “Chasing Waterfalls” is currently climbing its way up the chart at #15. The album seems to reflect Carol’s transition into a new part of her life and the songs have deep emotions of both sorrow and joyfulness in the music and lyrics making the listener feel that the journey is just beginning. The combination of Carol’s voice, the arrangements and instrumentation of the music feels like climbing to the top of a mountain and seeing the other side. Carol was joined on this album by another leading Atlanta jazz musician, Sam Skelton. “Sam played every wind instrument on this album. He played the flute, all the saxophones soprano, alto, tenor, baritone – he plays it all. I am really fortunate to be surrounded by a very talented group of musicians and they have been very important to my success. I worked with Trammell Starks for production in his studio. He was very instrumental to my getting back into music after my break. He co-produced my last two albums; his talent and skills were critical to this project. I am very proud of getting my album finished. It was something that I had given up on, so to have it finished and so well received has been great!”
"I write a lot of different kinds of music. My current album best suits the Smooth Jazz genre format, but some of the pieces fall into categories such as Ambient Chill, New Age Instrumental or Easy Listening. Some older works were marketed as New Age, Adult Contemporary, as well as Jazz."
In the world of smooth jazz, Carol is a bit of a ground breaker. She recalls a time when she would attend conferences and be one of the only women in the room. “There is also an assumption in this space that if you are a female, you are a singer.” She says that “in some ways we have come a long way since then, but there are still few women in this space that are not purely singers. From that perspective, there is still a lot of opportunity for women beyond singing.”
Carol has many project and plans in her pipeline. She will be performing in Las Vegas in April 2019 at the Smith Center at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz as well as shows in other cities being planned. She has a new album in development for release in 2019. She is also working on some collaborations with other artists. Today, you can find Carol writing songs, teaching music and playing a solo residence at Chateau Elan.
Carol has assembled a group that will join her in performances of her new material, including Sam Skelton, Wayne Viar, Dan Baraszu and Joe Reda. She is excited about their upcoming performance at City Winery on July 15, where they will be playing both her new music and some of her older material. With all of the projects, performances, and recording she has underway, it is obvious that Carol is flying high again into her future.
Interview by Melanie Siewert courtesy of Atlanta Music Grapevine
Carol's Album was reviewed in the Jan/Feb 2018 Australian Magazine, "Rhythms (est. 1992)".
Despite having its roots in Carol's having to come to terms with the passing of her husband in 2014 and therefore an exploration of her journey from loss, through recovery to new beginnings, Fly Away Butterfly is a remarkably upbeat and celebratory album. The Georgia-born Atlanta-based keyboards player, singer and composer certainly knows how to get the very best out of a tune with truly masterful arragnements delivered by a great collection of hot-shot musicians, including bass player Sam Sims, who really cooks on 'On My Way', keyboards and bass player Trammell Starks, who also provides additional horn arrangements, saxophonist Sam Skelton, guitarist Chris Blackwell and percussionist Rafael Pereira (Royal Southern Brotherhood, James Southwell). The inclusion of her interpretation of the classic Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 hit, 'Mas Que Nada', acknowledges the most obvious influence on the album, that smooth Latin thing Mendes made his own back in the day - and why not? It still moves and certainly grooves, and if music is meant to uplift as well as heal the worst of hurts, I can't think of a better genre in which to occasionally immerse oneself. - Michael Smith c/o Rhythms
Paulding native worked past personal loss to Billboard music charts
By Tom Spigolon Jan 10, 2018 - Marietta Daily Journal
Carol Albert is on a roll.
The Hiram native and longtime classical and jazz musician is on the Billboard music charts with her new Brazilian-influenced, smooth jazz release “Fly Away Butterfly.”
The single “Fly Away Butterfly” entered 2018 in the top 10 of the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart. It also is at No. 4 on the Smooth Jazz Network Top 20 chart and was listed in the RadioWave Monitor at No. 1 Position for three weeks.
She said she is surprised by the response to the song, which is featured in metro Atlanta on such stations as WCLK-FM 91.9.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet,” she said of its Billboard chart position.
Three singles, “On My Way,” “One Way” and “Fly Away Butterfly” from the album charted on all major Smooth Jazz music charts in 2017.
“One Way,” which is Albert’s take on an Al Jarreau hit, placed in the top 100 of the Groove Jazz chart for 2017.
The Paulding County High School graduate said she used the word “butterfly” in the name of her latest CD after the winged insect became a symbol of hope to her after the 2014 death of her husband from a heart attack as he competed in a triathlon.
“I did have a time of extreme difficulty with the loss of my husband and I think it’s important for people to hear that at any age you can pursue dreams you may have always had, that it’s never too late to pursue those dreams,” Albert said.
In a Facebook post, she said, “I just wanted to share that it’s possible to reach a place you’d given up on years ago.
“It’s possible to keep going when your life has crashed, it’s possible to be successful after you had given up, it’s possible to reach deep inside yourself and bring out your best work when you have felt there’s nothing left to give,” she said.
Albert took up the piano and keyboards at the age of 5. She said she honed her craft by playing keyboards during church services in Paulding County and by accompanying her grandmother, who had lost an arm to cancer.
“When I grew up, Atlanta was really far away,” she recalled.
After studying classical music with Paulding piano teacher Kathy Tibbitts, Albert went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music from Georgia State University.
She worked as a staff accompanist at Georgia State, as well as at Agnes Scott College, Decatur School of Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet.
However, Albert gravitated toward smooth jazz and new age because of her appreciation for such artists as jazz guitarist Michael Franks and Astrud Gilberto, whose “Girl from Ipanema” was a 1960s classic of the genre.
She said she now favors performing music considered to be smooth jazz rather than the classic and progressive jazz of players like Chick Corea or Wynton Marsalis.
The new CD “takes the listener on deeply soulful, exotic journey that artfully blends spirited, jazzy piano melodies, dreamy vocals, punchy percussion textures and hypnotic ambiences,” according to publicity from the artist.
Her video for “Mas Que Nada” is on YouTube. The song is a remake of the 1966 hit song by Sergio Medes and Brasil 66.
Smooth Jazz Network, which is a collective of jazz-oriented radio stations nationwide, nominated her for its “Best New Artist” award for 2017.
She said the nomination is the biggest music industry recognition ars for her as a recording artist in many years.
She received an Emmy Award nomination in 1991 for Outstanding Achievement and Individual Excellence for composing the music for the seven-part PBS Series “The Well-Placed Weed.”
Albert also was a winner in the New Age Music category of the Global Peace Song Awards of 2016. She also celebrated being on the first round ballot of the Grammy Awards in the Contemporary Instrumental category both in 2016 and 2017.
"Fly Away Butterfly” is Albert’s seventh release of music classified as either easy listening or smooth jazz. The first two CDs were released in the early 1990s by a German label, and the remainder in the U.S. — including two Christmas-themed releases — on small or independent labels.
“Carol Of The Bells” from her 2015 “Christmas Mystique” release charted on Billboard as a most-added song in December 2016. SiriusXM’s Watercolors channel radio stations worldwide played the song during the 2016 and 2017 holiday seasons, she said.
Albert noted music distribution and delivery methods have changed dramatically since her first CD release.
The most common way to find her new CD is on Amazon and CD Baby or through her web site carolbertmusic.com, she said.
A resident of Suwanee, she often tours Europe and South America when she is not composing music or teaching music.
She is a regular performer at the Chateau Elan resort in northeast Georgia and performed at music festivals in Suwanee and the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Sandy Springs in the past year.
Here's a direct link to the article on the Marietta Daily Journal website