Critics, fans want Bogart to play it again Glenelg singer, pianist and sax player wins five Wammies in show of diversity

HOWARD COUNTY DIVERSIONS

November 27, 1992|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Staff Writer

Consider the range of the honors Glenelg musician Deanna Bogart racked up in the recent Washington Area Music Association's annual awards fest and you get a sense of her diverse talent.

The boogie-woogie piano and tenor sax player corralled five of the association awards -- known by local musicians as Wammies -- announced Nov. 15 at the Bayou night club in Washington.

The association's 431 members selected the honorees.

Ms. Bogart was named Best Instrumentalist and Best Female Vocalist in the R&B/Urban Contemporary category; Best Female Vocalist and Best Artist in the Blues category; and Best Recording in the Country/Roots Rock category for her latest recording, "Crossing Borders."

Speaking by phone from California while on a three-week West Coast road trip, Ms. Bogart says even she was surprised at the range of Wammies she received.

"I was really pleased with the instrumentalist award. I work real, real hard at my playing abilities more than my singing. The awards for R&B vocalist and blues vocalist really surprised me though. There were just some killer singers on those lists, especially R&B.

"The awards are really wonderful. They reaffirm what I'm doing. The whole road trip thing is worthwhile knowing you have such support at home. That's my birthplace musically so it's very rewarding to get these awards from musicians in the area," says the musician, who lives on a Glenelg farm with her husband and road manager, Nick Sharp.

The cavalcade of awards comes as no surprise to area fans and fellow musicians who know her music well.

"Deanna is very inquisitive. She's like a sponge; she absorbs from many very different musical styles," said Ron Holloway, a member of the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet and a longtime mentor of Ms. Bogart's.

Mr. Holloway, a Millersville resident, won two Wammies last week, including Musician of the Year.

The two met in 1983 when Mr. Holloway dropped in to play with Cowboy Jazz, a rocking Western Swing band that had been earning kudos areawide. Ms. Bogart played keyboards in the band and provided backup vocals.

"We sort of hit it off right away," Mr. Holloway said. "What I remember most was her enthusiasm for playing with me and wanting to get together and play more. She wanted to learn the sax."

Before long, the two were spending six to eight hours a day practicing and jamming, and Ms. Bogart was hard at work learning the tenor saxophone -- Mr. Holloway's favored instrument.

By the mid-1980s, Ms. Bogart had left Cowboy Jazz to team up with Mr. Holloway in an eclectic band fronted by barroom belter Root Boy Slim.

Mr. Holloway and Ms. Bogart play together periodically when both are in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Ms. Bogart credits Mr. Holloway with "opening her ears" to a diverse and rich range of music.

And that, she says, probably has a lot to do with her interest in blending musical styles into her own songs.

While playing with Mr. Holloway in Root Boy Slim's band, Ms. Bogart, who plays tenor sax, took pains to study and copy Mr. Holloway's horn style.

"I'm enormously fortunate to have fallen into his company," she says. "He sort of took me under his wing and taught me a lot about playing music. It wasn't a formalized teacher-student kind of thing. He did it in a casual way which gave me the freedom to learn at my own pace.

"I didn't begin playing the piano until I was 21. That's kind of late if you're hoping to make music a career. For a long time I felt like I was just playing catch-up with the people I played with. The people I played with were all very good. Ron was great. He made me roll up my sleeves and really get to work," says Ms. Bogart, 33.

Her interest in playing music began to bud while living with her mother in New York and Phoenix.

"We moved around a lot so I got exposed to a lot of different kinds of music and I found I liked an awful lot of it, and I tried playing just about anything I liked on the piano," she says.

Her strongest early influences were the blues of B. B. King and Jay McShann, she said.

While she hasn't landed a national recording contract, Ms. Bogart has recorded two compact discs on independent labels.

She's never had a day job and makes a living playing music full time, a milestone many musicians never reach.

And, she continues to wow listeners and critics with a high energy blend of jazz, rock and blues.

A music reviewer for a Colorado newspaper said that many listeners attending Johnny Winter gigs in the state last winter thought that Ms. Bogart's opening act performance was superior to that of the headliner.

As for Ms. Bogart, she describes her music as "optimistic."

"I don't write much in the way of introspective lyrics," she says. "I'm just starting to write songs that explore my own own feelings and emotions. But mostly, my music is pretty happy stuff.

"I like to listen to music that has high energy and so that's what I like to play."

Her favorite style of music, she says, is the Kansas City jazz of the 1930s.

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