Greacen, founder of The Sweet Life Brazilian Jazz Band, grew up in a musical family in Houston, Texas. "I grew up singing as a child," she explained, "...it was just a totally natural part of my life. I sang with my whole family, and my brothers and I performed for family friends. My best friend in high school taught me to play the guitar and we sang all the time. Joan Baez was my favorite singer."
Greacen lives in Boulder and has been singing jazz professionally for five years. Her current band has been playing together for two years, performing in various Colorado clubs, restaurants, and coffee houses. The band has played mostly in Boulder and Denver venues, including Dazzles, The Boulder Broker, The Millennium Harvest Hotel, the Trident Cafe, the Redfish, the Rock 'n Soul Cafe, the Longmont Art Walk, and The Longmont Jazz Festival. In addition to performing in public, the band is also available to play at weddings and other private parties.
Greacen's talent is not limited to singing; she also plays the piano and the guitar. During the day, she is a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine. She sees her music as an extension of her day job, where she feels she has a role in healing others.
"Since I am a healer, music is obviously an extension of that," she said.
What made Greacen decide on the rather unique combination of jazz and Brazilian music? "For me, jazz is life," she said. "Brazilian music is the most beautiful around. For the past three years, I have been singing Brazilian jazz. The music is free to go wherever it wants to go, not bound by any set rules. It is this beautiful groove thing, the most harmonious music I have found, and is always uplifting to the human spirit."
Members of Greacen's band include Paul Cotugno on piano, who also teaches, composes, and arranges music. Ron Bland, bassist, has played professionally for over 30 years, working with artists ranging from George Benson to Dizzy Gillespie to Pavarotti. Ken Aiken, who plays trumpet and flugelhorn, also plays with the Boulder Philharmonic. Rounding out the group is drummer and percussionist, Kem Stralka who has a masters degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and has extensive experience in Latin and global percussion.
Greacen has found that the band's sound appeals to audiences and other musicians alike, which obviously thrills her. "So far audiences have really enjoyed the music and have come back to hear us more than once. They appreciate the incredible talent of my musicians and like our interpretation of Brazilian music. I really appreciate the fact that other musicians also enjoy our CD. The band has gotten some great reviews, too."
Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez, who is both a jazz musician and an international record producer, noted in a review of the CD that appears online at www.jazzreview.com, that The Sweet Life, the band's first and only CD thus far, "...will appeal to everyone, not just jazz fans. Molly is without a doubt a fascinating jazz singer. She does not feature any vocal improvisations in The Sweet Life, but she delights us with being a nice melody singer, soft and breathy. Nice work, reachable to all ears!"
In the future, Greacen sees the band traveling to Brazil, playing some national gigs, and doing jazz festivals. She is elated that the band's music has gone global via the internet and has reached jazz fans all over the world. She said, " I have received emails from jazz lovers as far away as Portugal and Greece, who have requested CDs. It is very cool that our music has reached such a wide audience - thanks to the internet."
For more information on the band, to hear music from The Sweet Life CD, or for a listing of upcoming gigs, visit:
or call (303) 931-6367