“A soulful vocalist that prefers not to be contained” (Midwest Records), Shelly Rudolph has been singing, performing and composing for over twenty-five years. Her projects have embraced soul, jazz, blues, R&B, reggae and pop. Music has taken Shelly all over the world with ensembles that range from intimate duets to Jazz Orchestras and most everything in between. She is currently among the busiest vocalists in Portland, Oregon performing with her own projects as well as with jazz innovator, pianist Tom Grant.
The ever-evolving--and expanding--Shelly Rudolph story continues onward and upward with the release of her latest album, the ambitious and atmospheric The Way We Love, her debut on the Origin Records label. Well-established as an organically-gifted and sultry fine purveyor of jazz, soul, pop, blues and more in the Northwest, Rudolph takes a step forward with her latest project, a drum-less and sometimes “chamber jazz-like” journey into musical terrain both fresh and linked to her continuing story in progress. Embedded on this adventure are key tracks, textures supplied and contextual cues by the lyrical, ECM Records-connected cellist David Darling.
Rudolph has long been a favored voice around her hometown of Portland, Oregon, and musical travels have taken her to New York, Los Angeles, the West Indies, Japan, Korea and beyond. She has been dubbed a “robust and captivating vocalist” by Jazz Times and the LA Weekly praised her ability to use her “honey-glazed throat to send chills up and down your spine.”
While interpreting songs of others, and in various classic songbooks, Rudolph is also gifted in the art of original songwriting, as heard on her previous, more “world soul”-oriented album Water in My Hand. The Montecito Journal called the album, recorded mostly in Santa Barbara, California, “a stunning album, intoxicating and stimulating, a mature work from an old soul artist.”
Now, also from the original music/poetess corner of her creative life, Rudolph follows up Water in My Hand with her long-awaited The Way We Love, a unique and lyrical new song set, with signature sonics from legendary cellist Darling. Darling’s layered cello textures blend with a subtle palette of piano-bass-guitar and cameos from the New Orleans-bred and Portland-based Devin Phillips, on soprano saxophone, as with his opening statements and later tasteful riffs woven between Rudolph’s lines on “Faith.”
Among the highlights on The Way We Love is an inventively re-harmonized version of the immortal Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me,” the simple original chord structure of which is imbued with a new tension-and-release sense of drama. The inspired guitarist Chance Hayden (a recording artist on Atlanta Records/Ropeadope) was behind the arrangement. He also supplies a melodic solo over a passage of suspended harmonic ambience, as if in an emotional questioning state--ultimately resolved under Rudolph’s assuring, closing refrain “everything’s gonna be alright.”
On “Slow Life,” Shelly engages in a sweetly soulful and empathetic duet with vocalist Redray Frazier, a New Yorker turned Portlander whose resume includes work with David Byrne. The short-ish, radio-friendly track also features noted jazz (and smooth jazz) pianist Tom Grant, with whom Rudolph has been a regular collaborator for many years.
A pair of brief, radiant waltzes give poise and balance to the sequence, between the solely cello-coated “Humanity” and the lovely and brooding “Butterfly Heart,” which builds to a long, sustained note at mid-point, capping the key line “this life is a mystery and so what is there to do, but fa-a-a-a-all?” A touch of musical theater enters the picture in “The Mystery,” a mix of pop, jazz and post-Sondheim songcraft turns. In keeping with the spiritual evocations filtering through the song set, gospel-flavored spirits grace opening and closing tracks, “Close Enough” and “Calling Me Home.”
Long a poet as well as a songstress, the album showcases her poetic and sensual expressivity on “The Way with Love,” spoken against a sumptuous bed of Darling’s cello tones. With her innately musical narrator’s voice, Rudolph intones “infinity’s pastries” in her playful poetic ode to sensuality, romantic and spiritual overtures, and pleasures of the foodie and floral sorts, suggesting that “there is no time to waste/there is no right way to kiss/all lips open the Beloved’s door.”
In addition to The Way We Love Ms. Rudolph has self-produced and released two original full-length albums, selling over two thousand units plus digital downloads, as well as an EP for her swampy-soul band Midnight Honey, and a playfully intimate piano-vocal holiday collection “RUDOLPH” with renowned pianist Clay Giberson. She has also been a collaborator and featured artist on several of Tom Grant’s albums.
These recordings have solidified her standing as a marketable artist for agents and venues, established her as a notable musician among peers and press, and garnered songwriting and recording work nationally and internationally. Shelly has received placement on Pandora.com, Spotify, internet radio, National and international jazz including Europe, Japan, Indonesia and the middle east. stations. Locally, she has been chosen to be part of the Multnomah County Library’s music project, was selected by Mayor Adams as one of the featured musicians on Portlandonline.com’s Listen Local program and has made numerous live performance and interview appearances on KMHD, KBOO and KGW TV.
As a songwriter and vocalist she has collaborated and recorded with: revered “maverick” cellist David Darling, bassist David Piltch (kd lang), Ken Stange (Joe Cocker), David Mathews (Etta James), Tom Lackner (Airto and Flora Purim) smooth jazz pioneer Tom Grant and Pink Martini's Phil Baker. She is a proud recipient of RACC’s Professional Development Grant.
“...a robust and captivating vocalist...”
— Jazz Times
Shelly has been singing, performing and composing for over twenty years. Her projects have embraced soul, jazz, blues, R&B, reggae and pop. Music has taken Shelly all over the United States and the world. Ensembles have ranged from intimate duets to Jazz Orchestras and most everything in between. She is currently among the busiest vocalists in Portland, Oregon performing regularly every week with her own projects as well as with Smooth Jazz innovator Tom Grant.
Ms. Rudolph has self-produced and released two original albums, selling over two thousand units plus digital downloads. These CDs have solidified her standing as a marketable artist for agents and venues, established her as a notable musician among peers and press, and garnered songwriting and recording work nationally and internationally. Shelly has received placement on
Pandora.com, internet radio, and has been selected by Mayor Adams as one of the featured musicians on Portlandonline.com’s Listen Local program. As a songwriter and vocalist she has collaborated and recorded with: Grammy-winning cellist David Darling, David Piltch (kd lang), Ken Stange (Joe Cocker), David Mathews (Etta James), Tom Lackner (Airto and Flora Purim) smooth jazz pioneer Tom Grant and Pink Martini's Phil Baker.
“When Shelly Rudolph sings, you can smell the smoke... this is the moment to catch a rising star.”
— The Oregonian
Much of Shelly's childhood was spent in her mother's contemporary art gallery. She was continually exposed to a wide range of cutting-edge visual and performance artists, authors and dancers and now finds that she feels most alive and at home when in the midst of the creative process.
"I was raised to believe that the source of artistic creativity and the source of life, of spirit, is one and the same: the mysterious, boundless, powerful, core of us all. My adult life has been a series of adventures and leaps of faith incited by my soul's path and heart's knowing, with the river of song as my ever flowing guide."
Portland Waterfront Blues Jazz Festival
Waterfront Festival Blues Cruise
Bite of Oregon
Taste of Portland
The Lake House
Lake Oswego Summer Concert Series
Portland Park Summer Concert Series
The Heathman Hotel
The Benson Hotel
The Oxford, Bend
The Old Church, Portland
USO Tour, North Korea and Japan
Hotel Nikko, Fukuoka, Japan
Hotel Bel Air, Beverly Hills
Luna Park, Los Angeles
Genghis Cohen, Los Angeles
Harvelle's, Los Angeles
SoHo, Santa Barbara, CA
Rex Resorts, Saint Lucia, West Indies
Snooty Agouti, Saint Lucia
Sandals, Saint Lucia
The Landing, Harbour Island, Bahamas
SELECTED PRESS QUOTES:
“Shelly Rudolph is a captivating and robust vocalist”
“Every so often an artist comes along that literally has it all... great songwriting, a beautiful seductive voice and a passion for music... Shelly Rudolph is that special artist
and Water in My Hand is that special CD. Shelly possesses that natural, earthy tone that can't be taught in a music class. Her voice caresses your ears and her sassy attitude
keeps you coming back for more. If you want to fall in love again, look no further..."
Calvin Walker, Director, KMHD Radio, 89.1
"Water in My Hand is a stunning album, intoxicating & stimulating, a mature work from an old soul artist."
Steven Liebowitz, Montecito Journal
"When Shelly Rudolph sings, you can smell the smoke... this is the moment to catch a rising star."
“Swinging between the pleasure palaces of jazz, 70’s influenced pop and hook-laden R&B and soul, Rudolph has a charming, pulchritudinous ease on stage that’s both fresh
and genuine. With a honey-rich alto and a wise compass, she’s able to easily globetrot from chugging blue-eyed gospel to breathy Juile Londonisms to insinuating, luxuriously behind-the-beat slow dances. No period extravagance or croon-posturing here. Just
good old- fashioned singing.”
"Shelly Rudolph has the looks, talent and charisma to win over new crowds and a honey-glazed throat to send chills up and down your spine."