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Rebecca Hardiman is known in Portland for her smooth vocals. Jim Martinez has played jazz tunes on the piano in Sacramento and all over northern California. Years ago the two may have never stumbled across each other but in the age of the internet they did- and it has spawned a collaboration that is coming to Lodi's Wine and Roses on Wednesday.  "When I met Jim a few years ago via the internet and sent him some clips of my tunes we kept in contact, and he said "You know it would be really great if we could collaborate", Hardiman told the News-Sentinel.  They bounced the idea back and forth and Hardiman agreed to come visit the Sacramento area.  "I'm really excited to work with Rebecca. I'm looking forward to this because I think we speak the same kind of jazz language", Martinez said....

….Martinez had nothing but compliments for Hardiman's original interpretations of classic songs.  "Rebecca could sing the phonebook and make it sound great, " he said. "I don't get tired of anything she sings"....

Facebook friends often have similar interests. For Jim Martinez of Rocklin and Rebecca Hardiman of Portland, it was music.

Jazz, more precisely.

For two years, they kept an eye on each other’s schedule — and waited for that “perfect storm.”

This week, it finally happened — pianist and vocalist converged for a handful of gigs, including this Saturday’s 7 p.m. concert at the Community Presbyterian Church in Vacaville.

“A few years ago we heard a clip of each other’s music on the internet and Jim said it would be nice one day if it worked out that we could perform together and I thought the same,” Hardiman said. “The years went by but the thought never went away. And now Jim was nice enough to line up all these singing opportunities, so it’s become reality.”

“Stylistically, she sings with so many different flavors of jazz. She’s very straight-ahead, energetic. She’s a great singer,” praised Martinez, who fronts a trio behind his Steinway.

Martinez secured the Vacaville venue because of his friendship with the church’s pastor, Mark Wright.

“It was a natural fit,” said Martinez, who offers a “jazz music ministry” of playing 17 years in more than 500 churches.

“Playing churches is right up my alley,” he said, adding that with Community Presbyterian’s fine acoustics, “it’s a perfect place for jazz.” Though this week is the first face-to-face for Martinez and Hardiman, “sometimes you feel you get to know someone well with social media outlets,” she said. “It will seem like we’ve already been performing together. Musically, it’s going to click. It’s going to be fun.”

With this free-flowing jazz, “I never feel I need it to start the same way or end the same way,” Hardiman said. “So it’s a unique beginning and a unique ending. You kind of experiment. That’s the fun of jazz.”

Hardiman recently released her latest CD, “Honoring Ella,” a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in what would be her 100th birthday this year. Fitzgerald died in 1996 at 79.

Because Fitzgerald did so many tunes included in the Great American Songbook, every song can be attached to the legend, said Hardiman, who recorded 10 of the songs “that stuck out in my mind that I enjoyed hearing her do” for the tribute CD.

Hardiman “is a real jazz musician,” Martinez said. “I’m happy to do what she likes.”

The duo’s performance schedule includes Wine & Roses hotel and restaurant in Lodi on Wednesday, followed by a Thursday gig at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento. On Friday, they perform at the Shepherd of the Sierra Presbyterian Church in Loomis. Saturday’s Vacaville concert is followed by a Sunday evening at The Piano Store in Rocklin.

“After that, we’ll be ready to start our tour,” Martinez said, laughing.

“I’m sure we’ll perform together many more times as the future unfolds,” Hardiman said, hopeful Martinez can journey to the Pacific Northwest and perform in Hardiman’s neck of the woods, and who knows where else.

“As a promoter, I’m thinking ‘How can we take this to other cities other than our own?’” Martinez said. “When I think of Rebecca, I’d like to get her out of Portland and Sacramento and to Los Angeles and show her off. She deserves to be heard.”

Hardiman only recently got herself out there on stage after years of blending in with ensembles, she said.

“I never let myself pop out of a group situation. I’d always sing in the shadows,” she said.

In 2013, however, “my husband said, ‘You have to be out on your own,’” said Hardiman. “I’m glad I did it.”

So is Martinez.

“She’s amazing,” he said.

The Jim Martinez Trio with Rebecca Hardiman performs Saturday, 7 p.m., at the Community Presbyterian Church, 425 Hemlock St., Vacaville. Free, though an offering is taken. For more information, call (707) 448-5055.

Link provided to audio.

From the moment Hardiman walks onstage her tone , sense of style , delivery and cheerfulness light up the room. True jazz lovers recognize that she is authentic, a welcome asset to the world of vocal jazz.