reviewed by R. Doull
It is hard to imagine that Vancouver based Maya Rae was just fourteen years old when she made this CD. But her singing is so versatile and inside that her age almost, but not quite, disappears. Sapphire Birds is her first full length recording although she has recorded some individual tracks earlier; including a version of Joni Mitchell’s River that she did when she was eleven, and I’m Still Waiting For Christmas, which received national airplay in 2015 on CBC and Roundhouse Radio.
She has an intense focus and dedication to her craft that will be the foundation for her long-term success. She started singing lessons when she was three. She has spent countless hours busking on Granville Island. She has worked in musical theatre for the past two years. And she is an agent for change. Her CD release performance was a benefit for Covenant House. To date she has raised more than $20,000 for various charities, including assistance to Syrian families who have immigrated to the Vancouver area.
Most of the ten tracks on this CD are standards, but she also draws on Carole King’s I Feel The Earth Move and Meghan Trainor’s R& B ballad Beautiful originally written for Christina Aguilera, one track is an original composition by Rae. She scats during Lullaby of Birdland and on I Got Rhythm working in quotes from Rhapsody in Blue and Salt Peanuts. Her supporting band members are all well known musicians in the Vancouver jazz community; Miles Black on piano, André Lachance on acoustic bass, Joel Fountain on drums, Cory Weeds on tenor saxophone and Vince Mai on trumpet. There are several performance videos of her posted to YouTube.