Critical acclaim for Mister Rogers Swings!
During 1968-2001, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of the most popular of all children’s television series. Its laidback and warm host Fred Rogers had a music degree and always made sure that jazz was heard on his programs. Holly Yarbrough, in her jazz recording debut, pays tribute to Mister Rogers by singing 16 of his songs including his opening and closing themes “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “It’s Such A Good Feeling.” But rather than this being strictly a children’s CD, the music is actually sophisticated bop-oriented jazz. Ms. Yarbrough interprets the friendly lyrics with an attractive voice, sensitivity and a solid sense of swing. She is joined by guitarist Richard Smith, pianist Lori Mechem’s trio, violin, cello and three horn players including the late tenorman Boots Randolph. The solos and arrangements are high-quality jazz and Holly Yarbrough’s singing is a delight.
-Scott Yanow, author of ten jazz books including Jazz On Film, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Trumpet Kings
It's Cocktail Time in Mister Rogers Neighborhood…...
On Mister Rogers Swings Nashville Jazz Cats Pay Grown Up Tribute to Fred Rogers Musical Legacy.
New album features Boots Randolph in one of his last sessions, Stuart Duncan, Richard Smith and the Lori Mechem Trio backing vocalist Holly Yarbrough in her solo debut.
Yarbrough is the daughter of sixties folk singing tenor Glenn Yarbrough who rose to fame with the Limeliters and continued to success as a solo artist on RCA records.
Mister Rogers Swings includes sixteen selections from the Fred Rogers Songbook with a grown-up jazz sound. Yarbrough's fresh, sly takes on Rogers classics like "You've Got to Do It" and "I Like to Be Told" are aimed squarely at adult audiences.
Yarbrough produced the album on her own indie label, Vintage Discs. "We did it on a wing, a prayer, and a home equity line of credit" she says.
"It's been a real labor of love for us all. We wanted more people to really get the artistry of Fred Rogers' songwriting. When you hear these songs out of their usual context, I think they fit right up there in the Great American Songbook."
Though the PG-13 interpretation might make Mister Rogers blush, the heart of the record stays true to his kind nature. Yarbrough finished the record while working for Alive Hospice, where she is still employed.
"I'm not a glamorous, spotlight oriented person, and I never expected I'd be making my own album. But I had this talent I wasn't using...and after Mister Rogers died, his words kept coming back to me. He said: "...each one of us has something that no one else has or will ever have – something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing that expression."
About the Artist: Holly Yarbrough was born in Santa Monica, California. Her father, Glenn Yarbrough is a well-known recording artist with over seventy albums in his discography. Her Grandfather was a square dance caller in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and her Grandmother sang with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
Holly has studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Bard College and the Nashville Jazz Workshop. After attending at her Grandfather's bedside while he was in hospice care, she began volunteering for hospice through Compassion in Action.
Since 2006, she has worked for Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tennessee. She is currently pursuing certification as a therapeutic musician through the Music for Healing and Transition program.