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Audrey Silver Turns Musical Soundtrack To Jazz With “Oklahoma”


Singer Audrey Silver uses her considerable talent for an American classic, ‘Oklahoma’. The songs from the musical take on a different tone and feel in Silver’s approach. “Oklahoma” by Silver is an album where every song is from the musical. The 10 songs on “Oklahoma” will introduce listeners to Silver’s take on the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Her soothing vocals imbue every sentence with thoughtfulness and precision. “Oklahoma” was released in October 2023 and is available wherever music is sold. “Oklahoma” is Silver’s fifth CD as a leader. Of particular note are the title track and “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”

A little about Audrey Silver

Silver is from New York City and is a fixture in the New York City jazz scene. She grew up with an appreciation for musicals. Silver went to Broadway shows, watched movie musicals and listened to her father’s soundtracks. Young Silver’s love for musicals was so great that for her eleventh birthday she asked her parents to show the musical film version of ‘Oklahoma’. While her friends may not have particularly appreciated the film, Silver was hooked.

Silver’s education and professional life led her into the business side of the music industry. She earned an MBA from Columbia University Business School and found work at CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical) and Chesky Records. Silver did not forget her childhood love of “Oklahoma.” So Silver, with a penchant for research, discovered that “Oklahoma” was based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, “Green Grow the Lilacs.” Although there were many similarities between the two works, the role of the Native Americans was missing from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s rendition. To correct this, Silver plays a Native American flute on the title track in her musical tribute to ‘Oklahoma’.

The sound of “Oklahoma” by Audrey Silver

Silver sought a chamber music approach for the soundscape of “Oklahoma”. She chose a core group of players to achieve this sound. She is joined on “Oklahoma” by Bruce Barth on piano; Peter Bernstein on guitar; Adam Kolker on alto flute and bass clarinet, and Kahlil Kwame Bell on percussion.

“Oklahoma,” the title track, begins with a sound that evokes the wind. Silver uses a Native American flute to create the effect of wind. A soft piano motif underlines the vocals. Silver’s voice is well controlled and full of passion. Moreover, the words create a sense of urgency, but also of contemplation. The lyrics reflect on the wind, the plains, the rain and circling hawks. As she sings the word “Oklahoma,” the entire instrumentation pulsates at a haunting pace. The song has a much slower tempo than the original, but the approach may help some listeners appreciate this version a little more than they might have expected.

Another classic that makes Silver’s vocals shine is “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” Most audiences have heard this song in various forms – from commercials to other artists covering the work in concert and on recordings. A passionate, but soft guitar line starts the song. Silver’s vocals do not disappoint. Here she uses the careful art of not singing too much. Silver’s voice turns the lyrics of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” into poetry. The array of strings and percussion add beautiful texture to the soundscape as Silver sings the chorus. Her voice goes from soft and gentle to broad and hopeful. There is a touch of vibrato in every vocal approach. Under Silver’s leadership, the lyrics are not only poetic, but also clear and meaningful.

Silver’s careful attention to detail makes the album delightful. Whether listeners have heard all the originals or not, the songs here will create a new vision of the musical that may take audiences all the way back to the original that so captivated Silver. For more information, visit: http://Audreysilver.com.