Somebody Buy Me a Drink
Lady Day and John Coltrane
This Is a Prayer for Everybody to Be Free
New York City
A smoky-voiced jazz singer from the East Coast, Giacomo Gates is an expressive interpreter of lyrics who is proficient with scat singing and vocalese.
Gates was born and raised in Connecticut, where he started singing at age seven and was turned on to jazz by his father, a classical violinist. He studied the guitar at the age of eight and continued to study it until he was 14, but he gave the instrument up when he decided that singing was the best way to express himself musically.
As a young adult, Gates wanted a change of environment and decided to move to Alaska, where he spent 12 years and earned a living doing everything from operating bulldozers to working as a bouncer in a bar. At a summer arts festival in Fairbanks, he performed a set and caught the attention of headliner Sarah Vaughan, who seemed to feel that he had some potential and advised him to leave Alaska because he stood little chance of being discovered there. At the time, Gates wasn't seriously considering a career in music, but by the time he turned 40 in 1990, he decided to seriously pursue it and returned to Connecticut in order to be close to New York. Gates' debut album, Blue Skies, came out on Digital Music Products in 1995, and the singer recorded his second album, Fly Rite, for Sharp Nine in 1998.
After signing with Savant Records, Gates delivered 2011's tribute album The Revolution Will Be Jazz: The Songs of Gil Scott-Heron. Two years later, he paid similar homage to trumpeter Miles Davis with Miles Tones, followed in 2015 by Everything Is Cool. In 2017 he released his eighth studio album, What Time Is It?, featuring backing from pianist John Di Martino, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, and drummer Vincent Ector, with special guests guitarist Tony Lombardozzi and tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi