Artists at Work, 14/04/2021
Artists at Work with Heidi Bacon and guest Diedre Rodman Struck, Piano Goddess
An Idaho native, pianist/composer Deidre Rodman Struck moved to New York in 1997 after receiving a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. She found work playing for the Big Apple Circus, and spent her free time going out to hear all the music she could. She immediately found musical synchronicity with a number of players from the downtown scene, including Roy Nathanson of the Jazz Passengers.
Nathanson and Struck co-hosted a weekly band night at the Knitting Factory for close to a year. She then played on the album and touring production of his critically-acclaimed Fire at Keaton's Bar and Grill, which featured vocalists Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, and Darius de Haas. The show was revived in 2005 for a benefit at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn and featured Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Antony, and Dan Zanes, among others. She and Nathanson continued to collaborate on projects such as the 10-piece Alphabet Lounge Big Band. They also co-wrote and produced a song for the movie Nowhere to Go but Up/Happy End, featuring Audrey Tatou and Jennifer Tilly. Their most recent collaboration took place in 2017 at barbes in Brooklyn, where they got their Monk on.
De Haas sought her musical direction, piano prowess and arranging skills for his Lincoln Center premiere of So This is Love: Variations on Strayhorn, which the New York Times hailed as “extraordinary”. Jazz Times called Daydream, the follow-up recording, "one of the finest Strayhorn salutes ever captured on disc", and the album went on to win a Bistro Award for Recording of the Year.
Meanwhile, Struck collaborated with Debbie Harry on a version of the song "All the Way" for the soundtrack of Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story, which won a coveted AFI Fest Documentary Award. Elvis Costello, with whom Rodman appeared on The Conan O’Brien Show and Live with Regis, deemed her “a wonderful pianist and delicate composer with a truly unique voice”.
Under the name Deidre Rodman, she formed a jazz quintet in 1999, recruiting members Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone, Russ Johnson on trumpet, Bob Bowen on bass, and Mark Ferber on drums. Their first Sunnyside recording, Sun is Us, was released in August 2001 to enthusiastic reviews, and was followed by a successful tour. Also featured on that recording: drummer Ari Hoenig and alto saxophonist Loren Stillman. On their next release, Simple Stories, the quintet was joined by vocalist Luciana Souza and The Neighborhood School Children’s Choir, with the composer’s vocals and melodica rounding out the mix. The Washington Post described it as "crisp and sweet as a bite out of a Fuji apple". She added to the Sunnyside catalogue yet again in 2006 with Twin Falls, a duo record with renowned jazz electric bassist Steve Swallow. In 2011, she released a Christmas single, Christmastime in New York, featuring Jamie Leonhart. To buy or learn more about Deidre's jazz cds, please visit the Sunnyside Records website.
Currently, Deidre is excited to be Musical Director for Rebecca Pronsky's Hillary Clinton's Song Cycle: Witness, which will be featured at the 2018 NY Fringe Festival.
2018 will also find her releasing her second CD as a pop artist. The first, Circle, came out in 2009 and was produced by the legendary Michael Leonhart. This time around, she joined forces with the luminous Byron Isaacs. Together, they wrote an EP via Skype while Byron was on the road with The Lumineers. Their band, Tiny Language, is excited to get the EP, Written in Stars, out to the public later this year.
Deidre has recorded/performed with many other notable musicians including Natalie Merchant (Leave Your Sleep), Clare Muldaur Manchon, Greta Gertler, Lee Feldman, Nancy King, Lindsay Sullivan (for whom she arranged and c0-produced vocals on "Christine", from the release Long Road Home), and Mike Viola.
A project very close to Deidre's heart is The Lascivious Biddies, a genre-defying all-female quartet which performs originals and standards-to-be, and has played venues from Birdland to the Bluebird Cafe.
To those around them, creative people are a mystery - where do their ideas come from? What inspires them? When are they "ready" to transfer their dreams into reality? Join us weekly on the "Artists at Work" show as we visit artists, musicians and creatives ranging from the novice beginner to the world renown, located all across the United States, Canada and the world. We will visit artists in their studios to delve into what inspires them, their advice and suggestions for other artists, what does and doesn't work for them, what music they play while creating and take a virtual tour of where they create.