San Francisco Dermatologist Bill Kwan Featured in Third Album

San Francisco Dermatologist Bill Kwan Featured in Third Album image

Album explores the songbook of Sade

As a dermatologist, Bill Kwan, MD plies his craft as the provider of both medical and aesthetic care to patients in San Francisco. As a vocalist, he plies his craft sharing the art of music. Dr. Kwan has released "No Ordinary Love: The Music of Sade." The third album that features Dr. Kwan as lead vocalist, the album is a tribute to Sade, whose songbook he explores in the release (now streaming on SoundCloud).

Working again with veteran producer Matt Pierson, whose credits range from Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman and Kirk Whalum to k.d. lang, Laura Benanti and Jane Monheit, Dr. Kwan presents bespoke arrangements from Noam Wiesenberg.

“It’s very different tackling these songs from a male perspective and I could only sing pieces where I could identify with the lyrics,” Dr. Kwan says. “The key was maintaining the intimacy and not over singing. We maintained the fragile quality of Sade’s music even though the feel is very different.”

Appearing on the album are pianist/keyboardist Kevin Hays, a veteran improviser who also composes his own songs. Sex Mob and Bill Frisell bassist Tony Scherr and Japanese-born drummer/percussionist Keita Ogawa round out the ace rhythm section. Paris-raised Django Festival All-Stars accordion master Ludovic Beier and Russia-reared trumpeter Alex Sipiagin contribute memorable solos. 

“Obviously casting is extremely important,” says Mr. Pierson, a producer with a deep catalog of career-defining albums by some of jazz and contemporary music’s most influential artists. “Kevin was involved with Bill in the past so he was a natural, but Tony Scherr and Keita Ogawa were also key. The versatility that Tony brings as a singer/songwriter himself is exceptional, and Keita is singular, a drummer with a whole lot of percussion integrated into his set. They’ve got a deep understanding about how to support a vocalist, understanding what not to play. Finally, I’d gotten to know Noam Wiesenberg when we worked together on Camila Meza’s Ámbar project, and felt he would create perfect treatments for many of these songs.”

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