Jazz lovers will be treated to an evening of free music this Saturday as Westbury resident and singer Julie Lyon performs at Piazza Ernesto Strada.
Lyon is the lead vocalist of the Julie Lyon Quartet, and is joined by her husband Tom Cabrera on drums, Larry Hutter on bass and Brian Petras on piano.
With fiery red hair to match her vibrant and sultry voice, Lyon describes her musical style as “classic jazz with a bit of blues thrown in.” She draws inspiration from jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
As a child, Lyon knew she wanted to become a singer. Her parents supported her musical endeavors and enrolled her in voice and piano lessons. Lyon went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and later fronted a blues band. After she met her husband, who was in a jazz trio, she asked him if she could join his group as a jazz singer. This gave her the opportunity to pursue a genre that she always wanted to experiment with.
“I enjoy jazz because I like improvisation,” Lyon said. “My husband is my jazz guru, my muse and my musical director. None of what I do now would’ve been possible without him.”
In 2004, the band shortly became her own. But, after she and her husband moved to New York in 2008, she wanted to recruit new members to enjoy the collaboration of a quartet.
“The whole process of recording and inventing music with other musicians is wonderful,” Lyon said. “When you get four creative minds working together, really interesting things happen.”
The Julie Lyon Quartet has several projects in the works including two CDs that Lyon hopes will be released in the near future. The ensemble plays at private events as well as at public venues, and Lyon said they plan on playing many more live shows.
On Saturday Aug. 2, the Julie Lyon Quartet will perform a free concert at the Piazza Ernesto Strada in Westbury at 7 p.m.
The audience can expect an entertaining performance that includes upbeat jazz numbers that will transport them to the Swing Era. Lyon delivers a contemporary spin on older songs such as “Almost Like Being in Love” by Ella Fitzgerald and “Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins, as well as her own original songs.
This will be the first time that Lyon will perform at the Piazza, and she couldn’t be more excited to engage with an audience on her own turf.
“I personally think the Village of Westbury is charming,” Lyon said. “It has a rich history and I enjoy the diversity. I’ve only been here for four years and it’s such a welcoming place. I think that doing a concert in the town I now call my home sounds like the perfect venue for me.”