Adi Braun

Wholenote Magazine
Nov/Dec 2002
Wally Wood

The volume of the voice is the first clue. It is jazz with operatic power.

Talkers are stopped in mid-sentence, eaters at Gate 403 Roncesvalles near High Park transfixed with soup spoons suspended as Adi Braun launches into "I'm beginning to see the light". The verve is infectious as she belts out Moon Faced, Starry Eyed, caresses the round notes of Lover Man.

Eraine Schwing-Braun sits wide-eyed, smiling: "She's gone back to her love. I love it. I don't look upon her as my daughter. She is a wonderful artist." She cogitates, listening: "There is good music and bad music, and Adi sings good music. And she loves it.

Adi Braun had the right blood lines to be an opera singer. Eraine was a mezzo-soprano in her performing years and is now a voice teacher. Adi's father, Victor, a baritone,who died last year at 65, sang the Met, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Paris Opera, you name it, and needs no introduction to opera fans. Brother Russell, also a baritone, now 37, two years younger than Adi, treads his father's path, but in his own shiny shoes. Another musician brother, Thorsten, 27, is into heavy metal, or is it acid rock? Noted musicians, all.

While her father was performing in Europe, Adi (Adreana) was learning German, and singing pop tunes and, even then, jazz. But she studied and sang classical music in Canada, graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music in Performance in 1991. She played piano and bongos, but sang with the Canadian Opera Company and Opera Atelier. She has also been teaching voice and piano privately for ten years.

About eight years ago she started "singing sideways" from opera to jazz, through cabaret-style concerts. She sees it not so much as a switch as that she "is constantly evolving." She muses that strict musical training was an admirable discipline and foundation but it is a natural progression to "get to where one is going." She feels complete, she says, singing "somewhere between the constellations of Callas and Streisand" and adding that "jazz is an ease and a joy." She cites as singers with more than a passing effect on her Diana Krall, the Shirleys (Horne and Eikhard), Rosemary Clooney and Judy Garland.

Locally she has worked with Doug Riley, Steve Wallace and Terry Clarke, and the Ron Davis Trio here at Gate 403, also with musicians like Mark Eisenman, Tony Quarrington, Dave Restivo, Bill King, Whitney Smith and Steve Koven. She "sang Germany at Munich's top jazz club (Club Unterfahrt) in July," opened the Port Perry concert series at Town Hall 1873 in early October, and participated in the Rex/Jazz FM "Jazz for Herbie" benefit at the end of the month. Her musical profile has been recently raised by interviews, performances on CBC Radio and TV and on TVO. A run of scheduled performances in November and December at Sax on Yonge has been scuttled by the sudden demise of the club. But she is currently in the studio recording with Doug Riley(piano), Steve Wallace(bass), Terry Clarke (drums)and Tony Quarrington (guitar). The CD "Delishious" should be ready for sale for Christmas. "Watch for a big January concert with this trio at the Music Gallery" she says.

Adi is confident in her voice and her choices. "They say in jazz the older you get, the better. But I'm blooming right now!" Getting where you're going, as she says is a good way to look at things. Happy to be there is a whole other skill.