Play Favorites

SSC1683 2022-11-04

Track List

My Future - 4:09
If Ever I Would Leave You - 4:58
Prelude - 1:37
If I Should Lose You - 5:32
Conversation - 4:23
Olha Maria - 5:38
Didn’t We - 2:34
Chovendo Na Roseira - 4:57
Quem É Você (Close to Home) - 4:53
I’ll Remember April / April - 3:59
Born To Be Blue - 4:33
Bons Amigos - 3:51
My Ideal - 3:51


Aubrey Johnson - vocals
Randy ingram - piano

When the musical partnership between a vocalist and a pianist rises to the level of equal collaboration, something truly special can occur. This rarefied relationship has produced some of the great duos in jazz—Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson; Norma Winstone and John Taylor, Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, Ran Blake and Jeanne Lee, and more recently Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood. Aubrey Johnson and Randy Ingram share this special collaborative partnership, as documented on their beautiful new recording Play Favorites, due out on Sunnyside Records on November 4, 2022.

Upon arriving in New York after his graduation from the New England Conservatory, Ingram found work and gained experience working with vocalists, honing his skills as an accompanist and arranger. As his career developed, Randy’s focus shifted to his work as a composer and

bandleader, recording three critically acclaimed records for Sunnyside (Sky/Lift, 2014, The Wandering, 2017, and The Means of Response, 2019) and touring worldwide with his trio and in duo settings with bassists Drew Gress and Matt Brewer.

Johnson, a fellow NEC graduate and New York transplant, is known for her uncanny ability to seamlessly navigate complicated melodies and improvisations, as well as to deliver a lyric with gorgeous expressivity. Among the 40+ albums Aubrey has contributed to as a side-person are Bobby McFerrin’s Grammy-nominated VOCAbuLaries and Lyle Mays’ Grammy Award-winning Eberhard. Her debut recording, Unraveled, which features her compositions and arrangements was released on Outside In Music in 2020.

Johnson and Ingram met in 2015 while serving on faculty at a jazz camp near the Catskills in upstate New York. The two were paired at a faculty recital and were instantly impressed with one another, quickly discovering that they shared an uncommon level of musical comfort, support, and respect. They developed a great friendship and began to pursue regular performances as a duo. Early on they found that their duo was an ideal setting to explore interpretations of their favorite songs, and a welcome alternative to their roles as composers and leaders of their respective bands. Over time, they gathered selections from their mutual interest in the Great American Songbook, jazz compositions, popular music, and the music of Brazil. Johnson’s experience singing a wide variety of genres, and her detailed study of Portuguese helped to ensure the two had a wide range of repertoire from which to choose, while their experience as composers helped to create unique arrangements and reworkings of music they loved.

Preparation for the recording of Play Favorites amplified their search for material, as the two met for frequent listening sessions to audition music that was meaningful to them from a broad variety of genres. Eventually they settled upon a collection of songs they would take to Big Orange Sheep studios in Brooklyn at the end of May 2022, with Michael Perez-Cisneros as their trusted engineer. Produced by Ingram and Johnson, Play Favorites is masterfully mixed and mastered by Grammy winner Rich Breen.