Avocation evolves into a true partnership for SOM’s Hanna Richardson
Avocation evolves into a true partnership for SOM’s Hanna RichardsonJanuary 14, 2002Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
Hanna Richardson and Phil Flanigan knew each other growing up in Geneva, N.Y. They both liked jazz, sometimes getting together to listen to records from Flanigan’s father’s extensive collection. But after high school they drifted apart. Flanigan kept the jazz flame alive, pursuing a career as a bass player. Richardson went into academic administration-she is an assistant dean in the School of Management. She also sang jazz, but only as a hobby.
“Music has been my avocation while I’ve held full-time day jobs,” she says, “but it’s a strong avocation, and I’ve been performing for many years.”
Finally, after Richardson and Flanigan had both been married and divorced, they got together in January 2000. They clicked not only personally but as jazz artists as well.
“Hanna knows what’s important,” Flanigan says. “What I really like about her is that she doesn’t put flashy technique before a relaxed and accurate rendition of the melody. The overall effect of this is pleasing, not frantic; swinging, not tense; melodic, not belting.”
“Phil is my musical mentor,” Richardson says in return. “The depth and range of his jazz experience and knowledge are remarkable, and while it’s not always easy for us singers to take direction, I decided soon after we reunited to drop the ego nonsense and consider any and all suggestions he offers. I’m already a better singer for it.”
The year 2001 was a big one for Richardson and Flanigan. They married in November. But before that, they recorded a CD together, “Something to Remember You By.” It is a tribute to the late jazz and pop singer Maxine Sullivan, with whom Flanigan worked on several albums in Sullivan’s later years. All but five songs on the CD are associated with Sullivan.
Flanigan has played on dozens of jazz recordings over the years, including two of his own, “Struttin'” (with John Bunch) and “New York Toast.” Richardson had sung and played on several recordings, but “Something to Remember You By” is the first recording under her name. “Singing these great songs with musicians of this caliber has been a dream for 20 years or more,” she says. “I’m glad I waited.”
In addition to Flanigan, the musicians heard on the CD include pianist Keith Ingham, guitarist Chris Flory (an old friend from Geneva), and clarinetists Allan Vache and Ken Peplowski.
Richardson and Flanigan are selling “Something to Remember You By” through their Web site, www.HannaPhil.com.