Sinne Eeg ( pronounced (see – neh - ēe) has a distinctive sound that has helped to earn her a loyal and rapidly growing fan base in her native country of Denmark and around the world.
Considered the preeminent jazz vocalist in Scandinavia, Sinne Eeg has already made her mark in Japan, China, and throughout Europe with her exquisite live performances and award-winning studio recordings.
FACE THE MUSIC, released in 2014, earned her the Danish Music Award (Denmark’s Grammy) for Best Jazz Vocal CD, along with the Ben Webster Prize (for which Sinne was the sole female recipient for the last 30 years), and the Prix du Jazz, awarded by France’s Academie du Jazz.
Sinne Eeg will be performing this weekend Friday and Saturday, December 2nd & 3rd at the Green Mill in Chicago and Chicago Jazz Magazine talked with her about her music, how she got started and what you can expect to hear this weekend in Chicago.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Tell us a little about growing up in Denmark. Is there a strong tradition of music in the culture?
Sinne Eeg: I grew up in a small town with a great local public music school. My parents sent me to music lessons when I was 4 years old, and I kept taking lessons and playing in bands and orchestras throughout my childhood and teenage years.
Many American jazz musicians came to Denmark in the 60’s and 70’s and many of them stayed for many years. So we have a very strong jazz tradition because of that. Many young Danish players were taught by greats like Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Thad Jones, Ed Thigpen and many more.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Were your parents musicians or was there music in your house growing up?
Sinne Eeg: My father is a doctor, but when he was young he was a professional bass player, and he has taught me a lot about music. There was always music in my home when I was a child. Great record collections – I grew up listening to Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Charles Lloyd etc.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Was there a specific artist or experience that influenced you to become a jazz vocalist? Do you play other instruments as well?
Sinne Eeg: I used to play classical piano and then saxophone. In my teenage years I would play in the local big bands – sometimes three different big bands. So that’s pretty much how I spent my spare time! I didn’t know I could sing until I was about 18 and my gymnasium (age 16-18, before university) music teacher made me sing a song in front of the music class. I practiced it at home, and my father heard me, and was surprised that I could sing! He then convinced me to come and sit in with his jazz quartet the next evening, and I really felt that I could make music on another level than I ever did before on the saxophone or the piano.
Sinne Eeg Live at The Black Diamond
Chicago Jazz Magazine: You have won the Danish Music Award (Denmark’s Grammy) 3 times for Best Jazz Vocal CD, the Queen Ingrid Award, the Ben Webster Prize, the Prix du Jazz Award and you are now a finalist in the upcoming Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition being held November 20th in New Jersey. With all of the awards as well as your extensive touring, how has it helped you to grow as an artist and expand your musical concepts?
Sinne Eeg: I have to say, the awards are really nice to have, and I’m extremely honored when people consider me to receive an award. But singing, touring, and doing your stuff with great musicians is what really makes you an artist. I have been very fortunate to be able to gig a lot and make music full time for many years. I learn so much from every gig – both the good and the bad ones.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: You will be performing at the Green Mill in Chicago on December 2nd and 3rd. Is this the first time you have played there? Who is in the band and what can people expect to hear that evening?
Sinne Eeg: At the Green Mill I’ll be playing with my friend, bassist Billy Peterson. He has strong relations to the European jazz scene, but I actually met him in L.A. when he came to see my show almost two years ago. We’ve stayed in contact since then. He’s a great musician, and I can’t wait to finally get to play these shows with him.
On piano we’ll have my pianist through many years, Jacob Christoffersen. I have no doubt the audience in Chicago will fall in love with him and his playing. He is still unknown in the states, but he is truly a magnificent musician!
On drums we’ll have Joel Spencer who has been on the Chicago jazz scene for many years. He’s played with great Eddie Harris, Wayne Shorter, Chet Baker, Hank Jones and many more.
The American songbook is very dear to me, and I’ll we will play a nice selection of songs by Ellington, Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc.
We’ll also be playing some of my original repertoire. In my own compositions you can hear influences from the American jazz and folk tradition, but also from the Scandinavian folk music tradition.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: After this performance what do you have coming up in the future?
Sinne Eeg: After Chicago we’ll go to New York (December 7th at Kitano) and Philadelphia (December 10th at Chris’ Jazz Café), and then back home to celebrate Christmas in Denmark. In January I’ll be recording my next album in New York. I’m very excited about that! And during 2017 I have quite a few tours planned in the States – beginning of January, beginning of March, September, and November.
For more information on Sinne Eeg visit here website SinneMusic.com