With catchy hooks and clever lyrics, the songs on Richard Derwingson’s newest contemporary jazz CD, “Collaborations,” quickly get stuck in your head.

With catchy hooks and clever lyrics, the songs on Richard Derwingson’s newest contemporary jazz CD, “Collaborations,” quickly get stuck in your head.

A longtime Mount Shasta resident, Derwingson said he’s proud of the album, saying its completion “represents a lifelong dream to sing my own original music accompanied by great jazz players.”

Working from a lyric to inspire his compositions, each of the 12 tracks represents collaborations with other artists, including Michael Franks, Marshall Smith, Christopher Reed and Allen King.

Though he has dabbled in the pop music world, Derwingson has always been most drawn to jazz.
“I’m a harmony guy... I enjoy the complex harmonies and the rich tapestry that is unique to jazz,” he said.

“Collaborations” has been described as giving the feeling of actually “being there” – hearing the music played live in an intimate club setting.

This is a result of incredible performances by the musicians, including 2010 Grammy award winning pianist/arranger Bill Cunliffe, as well as the mixing skills of engineer Andy Waterman, said Derwingson.

Cunliffe commented on the CD jacket, “Sounds like the music wasn’t recorded, it was just there. All the great recordings are like that. Bravo, Richard!”

Derwingson was born into a musical family. He recorded his first vocal album at the age of 10 and began teaching himself to play piano. He made his first public appearance at the age of 15 and formed his first band while in high school.  

In 1971, after a career performing with RCA pop vocal group, “The Match,” Derwingson and his wife, Jackie, moved to Siskiyou County to raise a family. They have been Mount Shasta residents since 1978.

After suffering and recovering from a stroke which struck in 1999, Derwingson said he’s been driven to play, sing and write more.

“An experience like that makes you evaluate your life and think about what’s most important,” he said.

Derwingson’s first album, “All About Love,” was a solo performance of voice and piano, released in 2007.

His most recent project was to create the first music label for the Benziger Family Winery.

According to winemaker Joe Benziger, the Imagery Estate Winery Artist Program “celebrates the artistry of fine wine by uniting hard-to-find varietals with one-of-a-kind art labels commissioned from among the world’s leading contemporary artists.”

In an attempt to branch out from traditional visual art, Derwingson’s handwritten manuscript will be featured on the label of Imagery’s 2009 White Burgundy, which has traditionally been their best seller. Like all of their wines it is sold exclusively at the winery and to wine club members, he explained.

Derwingson will celebrate the release of “Collaborations” at a CD release party at Cafe Maddalena in Dunsmuir on Nov. 3.

“Collaborations” is available locally at Shasta Rhythms on Mt. Shasta Boulevard and online at cdbaby, iTunes, Amazon and other popular music download sites.