The words ‘dark’ and ‘haunting,’ must be ones that San Francisco-based performer Jill Tracy is exhausted to find when reading her latest review. But they are the words that instantly come to mind when hearing her unique blend of jazz/parlour music. And while there are many artists who are considered to write on the darker side of music, it is Tracy who seems to wield it with uncanny ease.
Tracy’s music serves as a window to an older world. One where candles serve as the sole source of light and velvet adorns the furniture. Extremely adept in her piano playing, hers is a devilish brew of beautifully chilling tales perfectly suited for a dimly lit cabaret and each one is wholly capable of sending shivers down your spine. Yet despite their macabre themes, the listener is strangely entranced.
Recently re-issued, Quintessentially Unreal is Tracy’s collection of early demo material. Originally recorded in 1995, the disc serves as an intimate listening experience in that it is barren of fancy production and features Tracy at her most raw: just a piano and her wicked purr.
‘Extraordinary’ and ‘Anything At All’ are both taken from this album.
Diabolical Streak arrived in 1999 with a more polished set of gems, but no less amazing. This time, Tracy is backed up by The Malcontent Orchestra, a talented group of musicians consisting of Alexander Kort, Daniel Baer, Nadine Whitfield, Eric Gebow, and Eenor. Their contribution of strings and percussion add richness and texture and seem to intensify Tracy’s already powerful music.
‘Evil Night Together’ and ‘The Fine Art Of Poisoning’ are both taken from here.
Since the release of Diabolical Streak, Tracy and The Malcontent Orchestra have regularly performed ‘Into The Land Of Phantoms,’ their original score to F.W. Murnau’s ‘Nosferatu’ to sold-out crowds, and in 2002, officially released it as an album.
Currently, Tracy is preparing to star and write music for a new project by New York filmmaker Jeremy Carr in the Spring of 2005 and is expecting her latest album to tentavily arrive later in the year.
Ms. Tracy was kind enough to provide her time and materials for this entry.