- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Named because its music “spans the grooves of time,” Southern Maryland jazz group GrooveSpan will entertain wine connoisseurs twice this weekend, on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, with its repertoire of classic songs, said lead singer Jennifer Cooper of California.
The group’s offerings span not just time but also genres, making it hard to pin just one label on the band, Cooper said.
“Most of what we do are covers and standards. We’re working on some originals now, but we haven’t put them in public yet. As far as jazz goes, we do torch songs, standards and some more contemporary pieces. With regard to pop genres, blues and pop, they’re all covers. They do span everything from 1930s to now. We’ll mix everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Adele, and people really respond favorably to that,” Cooper said.
Cooper was once a professional opera singer, but a “medical setback” ended her career, she said. After she recovered, she decided in 2010 to reinvent herself in a new style of music.
“I wasn’t able to perform for several years, probably six years or so. So when I came back into it, got back to a point where I really wanted to try performing again — I missed it so much — that portion of my life had sort of disintegrated. I’d lost my fan base. I’d lost my agent. I decided to start in another genre to see what I could do. Interestingly, though, as I and the voice have regained some strength and confidence, we’re going to do an Opera Night.”
That performance, featuring Italian and French “art songs,” will be held April 28 at DiGiovanni’s Dock of the Bay restaurant in Solomons, Cooper said.
The GrooveSpan Trio has played at Running Hare Vineyard in Prince Frederick since the venue started hosting live music with wine tastings about two years ago, said owner Barbara Scarborough. Its “eclectic” offerings give patrons the type of music they enjoy while sampling wine, and the group has fans who follow them to the winery.
“Jennifer Cooper has the voice of an angel. I can’t believe that somebody hasn’t just snatched her up, that she’s not worldwide known, across-the-country known. We’re very fortunate,” Scarborough said.
When she plays Port of Leonardtown Winery on Friday night, Cooper will perform just with GrooveSpan co-founder Carl Reichelt, who plays guitar and sings. Sunday night at Running Hare, they’ll be joined by violinist Alex Dean. The full band also includes Bill Hones on bass and Paul Christian on drums and vocals, Cooper said.