ARTIST NAME: Deanna Reuben
SONG TITLE: Winter Weather/Let It Show
ALBUM TITLE: Christmas is Here
RELEASE DATE: 2013
Berks County native, Deanna Reuben, has had an extremely successful career as a vocalist, recording artist, producer, teacher, composer and choral director.
In the early part of her vocal career, she was a professional soloist and section leader with the former Washington, DC based Paul Hill Chorale and the Washington Singers, a 17 member professional chamber group, performing under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin and Neville Mariner. She performed in concerts throughout the Mid-Atlantic States featuring prominent performers and composers such as Marvin Hamlish, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and performing at distinguished venues as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Wolf Trap and the Mann Center.
In her later performing years, she immersed herself in performing and recording songs from the American Songbook. Her recording credits include “The Look of Love,” On Life and Love,” The Very Thought of You,” and “Christmas is Here.”
Jim Santella with All About Jazz writes “You get clarion vocals, and with a fluid delivery, she shapes each song like clay.”
Her proudest moment, was when she was approached by Mike Stoller (legendary rock & roll composer) and distinguished lyricists, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, to record a new song they wrote together, “If the Truth Be Told.” It was quite an honor! It all began when Mike heard Deanna on an L.A. radio station, and thought her voice was perfect for their new song.
She has taught voice and piano for over thirty years, and most recently developed a course “Singing into Your Sixties and Way Beyond,” which she taught at Alvernia University’s Seniors College. The offspring of that course birthed “The Vintage Voices,” a senior women’s chorus.
Deanna has been Director of Music in several churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as community choruses.
Her compositions include an SATB arrangement of The 23rd Psalm; Contemporary ballads “Here in the Night,” and “How Do You Measure Love,” the later co-written with R. Martin Mellinger.
Deanna is a graduate of Alvernia University (formerly Alvernia College) with B.A. in Music. Continuing vocal pedagogy education and completion of all levels of Somatic Voice work at The Institute for Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy, Shenandoah University.
I love the winter weather
So the two of us can get together
There’s nothing sweeter, finer
When it’s nice and cold
I can hold my baby closer to me
And collect the kisses that are due me
I love the winter weather
And I’ve got my love to keep me warm
Because the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since there’s no place to go
Let it snow
Let it snow
Let it snow…
Old/New Music: Old school is my preference.
Memorable Day: My most memorable day was when I received an email from the son of legendary rock & roll composer, Mike Stoller. He said that Mike heard me on an L.A. radio station, and he asked if I would consider recording his new song, “If the Truth Be Told,” which was writing with the renown lyricists, Alan and Marilyn Bergman. I was so honoured, that of course, I said, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe it!
Press: Singer/Recording Artist Deanna Reuben’s Fourth CD, “Christmas Is Here,” Features New, Fresh Renditions of Traditional Holiday Songs
Reading, PA—Singer/recording artist Deanna Reuben of Wyomissing, PA., has released her fourth CD, “Christmas Is Here,” featuring her new and fresh versions of popular holiday standards and backed by some of the top jazz musicians from the Philadelphia area.
Known for her unique interpretations of jazz vocals and pop standards from the “great American songbook,” she said, “Last year it seemed as if every person I talked to urged me to record a Christmas album. I knew that it was time!”
“Christmas Is Here” includes upbeat versions of such songs as “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “Silver Bells” (usually taken as a waltz, this version is taken as a swinger in 4/4 time), and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Her voice is described as being at its most expressive and sensitive on the ballads “A Christmas Love Song,” “The Christmas Song,”
“The Christmas Waltz,” “My Grown Up Christmas List,” a bittersweet “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” “Winter Weather” and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” form a logical medley.
“Santa Baby” recasts the singer as a saucy version of Marilyn Monroe, and she is joined by fellow singer Barry Ciabattoni on the always humorous “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Christmas Is Here, which is a large secular outing, concludes with a religious version of “Silent Night.”
She is also joined on the album by pianist-arranger Jason Long, guitarist Paul Colombo, bassist Steve Varner, drummer Dan Monaghan (a trio of songs have Byron Landham on drums) and, as a special guest on three performances, the great tenor-saxophonist Larry McKenna.
Reuben’s other CDs include “The Very Thought of You,” “On Life and Love” and “The Look of Love.” She has appeared throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Washington, D.C. Her music can be heard on many PBS and jazz radio stations throughout the U.S., Canada and other countries, and her music has international distribution and sales.
She has been a regular performer at the Berks Jazz Fest since 2005. She has concerts scheduled at Alvernia University in Reading on Saturday, November 24 and at the World Café in Philadelphia on December 1.
Review of Christmas Is Here album By Scott Yanow: This time of year always brings a variety of new Christmas jazz albums. Christmas jazz albums are usually quite accessible to an audience far beyond the jazz world. Most Xmas songs have attractive chord changes for jazz improvisers, ranging from the Dixieland of “Jingle Bells” to more sophisticated ballads.
Deanna Reuben’s early background found her enjoying Broadway show albums, taking piano and voice lessons, and singing in high school musicals. She was classically trained and after college became a choral director who performed with local opera companies.
The highpoint of her early career was performing regularly with the 16-voice chamber ensemble The Washington Singers and singing as a soloist at Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Damage caused by neck surgery in 2003 forced her to end her classical career and switch to singing jazz and standards. Her career change has been successful and Christmas Is Here is her fourth CD as a leader.
Although there are times in some of her longer high notes when one can guess that she might have once sung opera (she has perfect control over her voice), throughout Christmas Is Here Deanna Reuben shows that she can swing, improvise with subtlety (mostly in her phrasing) and sound quite comfortable in a jazz setting. Her voice is lovely in all of its registers and one can easily understand all of the words that she sings.
Since she is based in Philadelphia, Reuben utilized some of the top local jazz musicians on this CD. Tenor-saxophonist Larry McKenna (a Philly legend) co-stars on three of the songs, guitarist Paul Colombo takes many fine short solos, and pianist Jason.
“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” gets the set off to a jam session-flavored start. Performing “Winter Weather” and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” as a medley proves to be an inspired idea, for the switch between songs during the third chorus sounds inevitable in retrospect. It helps that both tunes have similar messages. On “A Christmas Love Song,” Deanna Reuben shows off her range, hitting some beautiful high notes.
“Santa Baby” was originally a hit for Eartha Kitt but somehow the song, with its cute and sexy lyrics, recalls Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Reuben sounds just like Monroe during this witty version with Glenn Barratt contributing the background vocal. Usually a waltz, “Silver Bells” is effectively turned into a swinging piece in 4/4. Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song” is given a straightforward treatment while “The Christmas Waltz” is full of the Yuletide spirit.
The most contemporary song this set is the Kelly Clarkson hit “My Grown Up Christmas List” which is performed here as a sweet longing ballad. Always taken as a humorous duet vocal, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has Deanna Reuben sharing the stage with Barry Ciabattoni.
“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” (which was originally made famous by Gene Autry) features the singer performing the rarely heard verse before it becomes a swinging romp with Larry McKenna. The bittersweet “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” a heartfelt rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night” conclude this excellent set of Christmas jazz. The music is delightful and Deanna Reuben does justice to these beloved songs.
Voice: Having been a voice teacher for decades, and studying vocal pedagogy extensively, I know how to utilize proper vocal technique so as not to strain or tire the vocal folds.
Inspiration: Music has been a passion my entire life. It is simply my happy place.
Creativity and Originality: In classical music, you can’t make the music “your own.” However, in contemporary music you are given the freedom to use your creativity and make the song your own.
Plans: At this point, after COVID, I plan to go back to performing and teaching classes. However, I am not planning on recording any more albums.
Background: I have been singing professionally since college. I started as a classical singer, and then after fifty, re-invented myself to master the artistry of the American Songbook, which is the era of music I love.
Feelings: Everything makes me happy – it is always fun collaborating with fellow musicians and being in the recording studio. What makes me sad – when the process is over. The real fun is making the music!
Financial Support: I provided ALL the financial support.
Genre: The American Songbook. I love the romance and lyricism from this era and genre.
Writing: I have written two of my songs that are on my album, “On Life and Love.” I mainly do covers, though.
Production: I prefer to produce my own.
Storyline: Winter Weather is one of my favourite swinging holiday songs, and I decided to combine it with Let It Snow.