Sam Fazio

Putting a new spin on the songs you love

Learning to sing

I remember when I first started taking voice lessons, it was when I was in High School and I was preparing for a few school productions. I felt like I needed to start getting more serious with my music even back then but when I got to senior year I realized that it was what I wanted to try and do for a profession. I decided to enroll in a summer music program at Northwestern University. It helped me gain some fundamental skills and also gave me the confidence and courage to audition for the School of Music at DePaul University. I can still remember that audition to this day, I was excited and terrified at the same time! Well, I made it into the Music School with a focus on classical vocal performance and although it was challenging, the program provided me with a solid foundation in vocal training and allowed me to be able to sing correctly, no matter what the genre. Take a look at my senior recital program below.
While studying classical music at DePaul, I realized how much I missed singing the songs I really loved—pop and jazz standards. A friend of mine suggested that I take lessons from her voice teacher who specialized in many different kinds of music and as they say “that’s where it all began”. I started taking lessons “on the side” from Janice Pantazelos in 1986. She not only taught me the fundamentals of singing, but she also taught be how to be a performer and entertainer. She motivated me and helped me become more confident on stage and in front of a band, how to grow and understand my voice as an instrument and how to care for and fine-tune it.  Over the years she was always there for all of the ups and downs. Thirty-two years later I still see her from time to time to keep things lined up and continue to grow. 


Update on New CD

I had a great Skype session last week with Tuck and Patti to discuss my upcoming recording project with them. We were able to schedule some time in between their busy touring and recording schedule to connect on a few things and also to revisited the initial concept for the project. We reminded ourselves of our intention to really create something that takes me to a new level artistically. We talked over current song selections, as well as a few possible new additions. Plus we discussed the possibility of working with some local Bay Area studio musicians on a few of the tunes to add a different flair to the sound of the recording. It's all very exciting.
I also had great rehearsals with Chicago-based musicians, Tim Fitzgerald and Chris White, both whom are playing on the new release.  The three of us played around with different tempos and arrangements for some jazz standards and pop tunes coming up with new concepts for the repertoire. I feel that Tuck and Patti are really pushing us to think outside the box and come up with some great takes on well known tunes. I am excited about where we are going with the tunes. I am also looking forward to working on them with Tuck and Patti later this month when we present the ideas to them on Skype. There are a few originals in addition to the cover's but more on that next week! Stay tuned.

Here's a picture of Tim and Tuck talking through some changes.

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I got the music in me

Music has always be a constant in my life and I can’t remember when it hasn't been. As a child I would listen to my parent’s albums in the basement and sing along with the hit parade. Later, my siblings and I would perform shows for my parents, mostly Motown artists like the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Jackson Five. You should have seen some of our dance moves! Ha!

In the 1970’s I bought a record player and some 45's, in the 80's bought a boom box and cassettes.  I remember looking forward to my weekly trips to the record store to check out the new releases. It was always exciting to dig through the bins and whether it was a classic tune or a new pop song, you could count on the fact that I’d be singing along to it. I guess it was pretty clear early on that music was going to be in important component of who I am and what I do. This old caricature says it all!


Tuck and Patti (and me!)

Tuck and Patti, the critically acclaimed vocal/guitar jazz duo, has always been a big influence on my musical career. I first learned about them through a newspaper ad for their first CD when I was at Rose Records, the longtime Chicago music store on Wabash Ave. Their unique takes on jazz standards and pop tunes really inspired me and I listened to them for hours each day. The more recordings they made the more I became fascinated with them. 

After listening to them and seeing them perform for many years imagine how thrilled and honored I was to have the opportunity to open up for them last year at SPACE in Evanston. Following the performance, we connected, talked music and discussed the possibility of working together on a new project.

Well I am happy to announce that the project officially becomes a reality in mid-March when I travel to San Francisco to work with Tuck and Patti on my next CD. We have already started working on the overall vision and specific tunes but have a lot more work to do over Skype this next month. I plan on documenting the project here in my blog so that you can follow along with the process.

It is such an honor to be working with such legendary artists and also such wonderful people. In addition to producing the recording Patti has offered to sing backup on a few tunes and Tuck may play guitar on a track or two. The CD will showcase stripped down and unique versions of some of my favorite standards and pop classics. 

As you know independent CD's are quite expensive to make so I am asking for some help to make this dream a reality. Every little bit helps so I setup a Go Fund Me page to help me offset some of the costs. I really appreciate all of your support and to show my gratitude I am offering some different benefit levels for your contribution. Thank you as always for your encouragement and I look forward to sharing the journey of this exciting new project!

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Valentine's Day Brunch at The Drake

As many of you know for years I performed at the world-famous Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago. I first started performing at the Drake in the Coq d’Or, a club located in the hotel which opened in 1933 following the repeal of Prohibition. The club has been a favorite late night spot for celebrities visiting the city as well as local Chicagoan's looking for live music and cocktails. 

Eventually I started performing both in the Coq D’Or on a weekly basis and then sometimes for special occasions in the Palm Court with my larger ensemble. It ended up being a seven-year residency that helped me grow as an artist and meet some wonderful people. I am excited to announce that on February 11th I will be back at the Drake in the Gold Coast Room performing with my quartet for their special Valentine’s Day brunch. 

The classic and ornate design of this room and the views of Lake Michigan along with some great music is the perfect spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day Weekend! 

I look forward to seeing you there!

Here are the details: 

Sunday, February 11


The Drake Hotel

Gold Coast Ballroom

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