Combine together a warm, versatile and very appealing singer with a pianist-arranger-composer who has distinguished himself in every musical setting and one has Hart & Soul.
“Jennifer has such a good sound,” says the pianist. “Anything I throw at her, she goes with and sounds beautiful.” “Llew really knows how to accompany and work with vocalists,” adds the singer. “He provides a very strong net and always plays the perfect chord. And, in addition, he has a soft voice that blends very well with mine and is very good at harmonizing.”
Jennifer Hart had carved out a career for herself as a very talented and adaptable vocalist who can sing standards, jazz, contemporary material, pop, country and gospel with sensitivity, understanding and swing. Llew Matthews, who has been Nancy Wilson’s musical director since 1987, has been in great demand for the past 25 years as a versatile and virtuosic writer and pianist.
Together, Jennifer and Llew bring out the best in each other. Llew’s arrangements and accompaniment on piano perfectly frame Jennifer’s voice. Conversely, he clearly relishes the opportunity to work with her beautiful instrument. Llew had sung in a doo-wop group as a youth and his occasional duet vocals with Jennifer are quite delightful.
When asked what they look for in a song before performing it, Llew answered, “A story and a melody. I also like songs that we can have fun with, songs with a joy that the audience will like too.” At a notable concert at the Orange County Pavillion with a nine-piece band, Hart & Soul performed such numbers as “Mambo Italiano”, “Taking A Chance on Love”, “When You’re Good to Mama”, vocal duets on “Side By Side”, “Pick Yourself Up,” and “Moonglow”, “Here’s To Life” (with Jennifer both playing piano and singing), a dramatic version of “Ten Cents A Dance” and the humorous “I Lost The Right To Sing The Blues.” This now-legendary concert is available on DVD.
Hart & Soul has performed at the Rancho Mirage Library Broadway Composer Series, the Idlewyld Jazz Festival, the Temecula Jazz Festival, Jazz at the Merc in Temecula, The Muckenthaler Jazz Series, Lyons English Grille in Palm Springs and throughout Orange and LA Counties at restaurants and jazz clubs . For the future, Jennifer Hart says, “It’d be fun to go out on the road with our music. Beyond that, we just want to continue developing and creating interesting and enjoyable music that audiences will enjoy.”