Spreading joy through jazz

A former Castlemaine girl now based in the US is preparing to launch an uplifting new jazz album recorded during the pandemic.
Let’s Get Serious is the third album from soul-jazz singer, songwriter and saxophonist Gemma Sherry, who left Australia bound for New York a decade ago to pursue a career in jazz.
Shortly after her arrival in NYC, Sherry discovered a passion for house music and went on to write and sing with many top producers in London, Italy and Greece. She recorded five singles that became very popular, particularly in Europe, and one – Work That – was recognised as one of the top tracks of the summer of 2017.
Just over two years ago, the muso made the move to Mount Airy, Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, where she rediscovered her passion for jazz.
“I loved my time in New York but I was ready for a change. (Mount Airy) reminds me a lot of Castlemaine actually,” she said.
“There is a really strong arts and music scene. In fact the jazz community here is huge. It was obviously meant to be!”
Sherry released her first album Songs I Love in late 2019, and her second offering Gemma Sherry Sings Bossa Nova in May this year.
She recorded the albums in the UK with cousin and fellow muso Billy Woodman.
“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work together,” she said.
Sherry was planning a world tour, including a return to Australia, to coincide with the launch of her second EP, when the pandemic took hold.
“Unfortunately that was all put on hold and all the live performances ceased. It was a really challenging time,” she said.
The artist collaborated with various standout musicians on this latest album, including Grammy-nominated guitarist Paul Bollenbeck, session pianist Rick Germanson, drummer George Coleman Jnr (son of jazz legend George Coleman) and one of the most sought-after double bass players on the scene, Eric Wheeler.
The result is a happy, joyful offering featuring songs from some of Sherry’s favourite artists.
When the Express spoke to the singer last week, Philadelphia was just days away from going back into lockdown.
“Everyone was expecting it. With the numbers going up we knew it was inevitable,” she said.
The lockdown came just days after euphoric celebrations in the streets at the presidential election result.
“I’ve never had an interest in politics but it is hard not to be swept up in it,” Sherry said.
“I came out and grabbed a pot and spoon and headed out into the street, people were celebrating and crying.
“It was even more massive in the city, people were dancing in the streets, it was just incredible.”
Let’s Get Serious launches December 4. To get your hands on a copy, pre-order it at www.gemmasherry.bandcamp.com
A few albums will also be available locally at Stoneman’s Bookroom, owned by Sherry’s uncle John Walter.

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