JazzMonthly.com Artist Spotlight
Rapidly emerging from his long held status as “local legend” as a singer, songwriter, bandleader and busy musical fundraiser in his hometown of St. Louis, Al Hammerman’s dynamic and original tunes – which reflect his lifelong gravitation to the classics of the Great American Songbook - have caught the attention in recent years of top vocal interpreters like Grammy winners Steve Tyrell and Patti Austin and Gloria Loring. Tyrell says: “I love his musical sensibilities and the way he pays loving homage to the Great American Songbook. Musically, his sense of style and swagger are meticulous while all the while remaining true to this treasured musical form.” Loring adds: “Al's music brings me back to a magical time when a finely-crafted lyric combined with a lush melody triggered emotions that were lovely and pure.” Austin vows: “I will sing one of Al’s tunes sooner or later.”
Over the past few years, numerous film and TV music supervisors have also taken note, placing Hammerman songs in the films “Becoming Santa,” “Demoted” and “The Entitled,” in addition to the shows “The Good Guys” (FOX) and “The Defenders” (CBS). Most recently, the composer’s whimsical “Rather Be Lucky” appeared in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.
Hammerman’s success as an impresario for fundraising events for prominent charities led to the recording of the three acclaimed recordings in his catalog to date: All New Songs (2006), Just Lucky (2008) and I Got A Song (2011). His recordings often feature talented vocalists who also perform with him, most notably Alan Ox, whose live duet with Hammerman of “Guys Like Us” is the closing track on I Got A Song.
In 2006, he gathered some of the city’s best singers and produced “All New Songs,” a live showcase of his original songs which raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions. The show’s positive reception led to an invitation to co-chair the foundation’s next gala at the Ritz Carlton, which again featured performances of Hammerman’s originals. Hammerman served in the same capacity for subsequent galas called “Just Lucky” and “I Got A Song.”
This past year, Hammerman was asked to participate on the advisory board of a new St. Louis organization called “Kids Rock Cancer” – which uses his tune “I Got A Song” as their promotional theme. Kids Rock cancer is an innovative musical therapy program that helps children successfully cope with the challenges that accompany a cancer diagnosis. His first show in 2014 is a Valentine’s Eve benefit concert at The Sheldon. Joining Hammerman and his orchestra will be Ox, Kim Fuller, Arvell Keithly, Kristen Ashley and others. He is premiering several of the ten songs that will appear on his next CD – due by Summer 2014 – at the show.