FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Father and daughter jazz entertainers, Rich and Angela Crandall, break out in song in their Moiliili apartment.
Angela Crandall takes musical cues from her dad, jazz pianist Rich Crandall
Angela Crandall was only 4 or 5 when her father, jazz pianist Rich Crandall, heard her singing around the house and "noticed that she could swing," but he let her develop at her own speed.
"I was sort of more naturally eased into it, just being with Dad and being raised in this house of music ... I was exposed to music," Angela recalls, looking back on growing up in a household where a piano was part of the furniture, and her father's workday sometimes extended into the wee hours of the morning.
"I tagged along with Dad often on his gigs because my mother was a flight attendant ... and then being an extroverted child, after his gigs sometimes I would go up on stage and starting singing. I was very young, and didn't necessarily decide, 'I want to perform,' but it was just natural."
After years of being "Rich Crandall's daughter," Angela stepped forward as a jazz singer and recording artist with the release of her first full-length album, "Shine," late last year. "Shine" won the jazz category at Johnny Kai's Hawaii Music Awards in February.
Angela is actually a third-generation entertainer.
Her grandfather played piano and saxophone, and although he put his career plans on hold to raise a family, Rich says his father's musical interests were "one thing that our family could share."
Rich played trumpet in school, "but we always had a piano at home," and while he was in college, he says, piano offered an escape from his studies. He was still in college when he got a summer job playing trumpet with a band in Montana; he discovered when he got there that the band no longer needed a trumpet, but did need a piano player.
From then on he played piano. It helped pay his way through college, and he continued to "make decent money" even while he was working a day job as a teacher.
Later, after earning a graduate degree in psychology, Rich discovered that his "first best job offer" was a full-time job with a jazz trio. He decided to commit two or three years to music.
"Two or three years became much longer than that," he chuckles.
Music brought Rich to Hawaii in 1975. His first job was working with Teddy & Nanci Tanaka; his second was opening Bagwell's 2424 at the Hyatt Regency with Anna Lea. In 1989 he organized a "Jazz in the Schools" program.
In 1996, as jobs for union musicians were drying up, he put together Studio 6, a Tuesday-night jazz showcase at the Musicians' Union.
Although he envisioned Studio 6 as a place for union musicians to "keep their chops up," he also saw it as an opportunity for Angela to learn about the craft of singing -- not necessarily as a career, but for enjoyment.
Angela helped her father mail fliers advertising the weekly event, and helped her mother collect the modest cover charge at the door.
And sooner or later she'd be called up to sing a song with her father and his guests.
Angela, now studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., once felt that "life would be easier if I didn't have to do this, but then I stuck with it and my repertoire grew to the point that I could start to revisit old songs and they really started to grow on me. I could relate more to music and really enjoy expressing myself."
She's in the jazz band at Georgetown, but says she isn't planning to pursue music as a career. "But it is an important part of my life and I plan to continue (singing)."