Tribute to Dan Hicks: “Holidaze in Hicksville”

Roberta Donnay has won numerous awards for her work as a singer/songwriter. After the critical success of her 2008 album of jazz standards, “What’s Your Story” (produced by NEA Jazz master Orrin Keepnews), she is now focusing her attention on the music of the Prohibition Era with her beguiling and entertaining new recording “A Little Sugar.” This impeccably produced bit of confection is a hip tribute to Donnay’s favorite Prohibition-era women singers and will mark her debut on the rising New York City-based Motéma label on November 13, 2012.

Raised in Washington D.C., she sang and played guitar in clubs as one half of an acoustic folk music duo. After relocating to San Francisco, Donnay sang Dixieland and traditional jazz with Dick Oxtot’s Golden Age Jazz Band, performed with Tom Keats and his Tom Kats, and with other various bands. Her song “One World” (an ASCAP Composer award winner), was selected as a world peace anthem for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and was the theme for World Aids Day in South Africa. Donnay has been a member of the iconic band Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks (as a Lickette) since 2005.

Jana Herzen spent fifteen years in theater (as a dramaturge for the acclaimed MCC Theater in Manhattan, an award-winning company she helped to found in the 1980s that still thrives today), but she returned to music, which was her first true love. She instinctively improvised vocal harmonies from a very young age, studied piano from age five to twelve, learned clarinet and harmonica by ear, and then picked up the guitar in her early teens, and has never put it down. She now plays bass, kalimba, penny whistle, percussion, and didgeridoo – though she cites voice is her primary ‘ax’, with guitar as a close second while she leads the maverick Harlem-based Motéma label to success.

Herzen’s seven originals travel with style through many continents and moods in their explorations of the passions of the human heart.
She has played internationally as a solo artist and with Afro-pop and reggae bands; has performed in and directed off-Broadway musicals; and she’s as comfortable jamming around campfires with Aboriginal tribesmen as she is performing at major state functions. She once had the opportunity to perform for Nelson Mandela at the Paris Chamber of Commerce. Herzen and Charnett Moffett worked together as a duo.

Appearing on over 200 recordings, Charnett Moffett is a veritable bass legend and has one of the most distinguished careers in jazz. Charnett’s father Charles was a drummer with Ornette Coleman, and so Charnett was always around jazz royalty. He first appeared on a recording at age seven with the Moffett Family Band. At age 16 he left Juilliard to join the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, before starting his non-stop career working with innumerable icons of music including Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Tony Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Arturo Sandoval, Anita Baker, Stanley Jordan, Harry Connick Jr., David Sanborn, Branford Marsalis and Bette Midler.