Monday, March 13
, 2017 For Immediate Release
A Salute to New Orleans Women in Jazz 2017
NEW ORLEANS -
Women's History Month is an annual declared month worldwide that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States. In keeping with the
National Women's History Project's mission of recognizing and celebrating the diverse accomplishment of women; the
New Orleans Agenda offers a salute to the following
"Women in Jazz/Music" performers for their cultural contributions to the continued growth of America's only original art form, jazz.
The 100th United States Congress declared jazz a "rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood, and promulgated." Jazz has inspired some of the Nation's leading creative artists and ranks as one of New Orleans' greatest cultural exports. These women are to be acknowledged, recognized, and celebrated for their demonstrated commitment to the future of music, and jazz standards in particular.
New Orleans Women in Jazz
Keeping Jazz Standards Alive!
Germaine Bazzle is often referred to as one of New Orleans' important jazz vocalists. After graduation from Xavier University of Louisiana, Germaine began a teaching career and entertaining in the same year, teaching during the day and playing bass in a local traditional jazz band at night. After 12 years as a teacher, she left the classroom for a short time and began singing with various bands in New Orleans.
Three years later, she returned to the classroom, but continued to perform with such jazz greats as Alvin "Red" Tyler, Peter "Chuck" Badie, Victor Goines, bassist/vocalist, George French, pianist Ellis Marsalis, Emile Vinnette, Larry Siebert, David Torkanowsky and many more. Germaine Bazzle can be heard on her CD entitled "Standing Ovation".
One of the true legends of New Orleans jazz, Germaine Potter Bazzle has been under-recognized nationally and internationally through her entire career. On par with R&B queen Irma Thomas, her voice in jazz is as distinctive as any, with a sweet soul to match. Influenced by the greats like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Eckstein, she took on a repertoire of classic jazz, American popular songs, show tunes, and the music of Duke Ellington. Sounds of the church were never far behind, and she sang regularly on Sundays with the Saint Louis Catholic Choir. A graduate of Xavier University, Bazzle chose to stay at home, instructing mostly young girls in choir and music appreciation at Xavier Prep.
A teacher of music at heart, Germaine Bazzle is still a faculty member of the at the famed Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in New Orleans.
On the musical scene for more than 30 years, Lillian Boutte' is a monument to jazz, Gospel and R&B. A talented singer, she has literally traveled the whole world, bringing her music from Asia to Europe. She was decorated Ambassador of Music by the city of New Orleans (the only musician since Louis Armstrong to receive this honored title) for her many decades of activity.
She can be seen in Stevenson Pallifi's award winning documentary "Piano Players rarely play together" featuring Professor Longhair, Toots Washington and her friend and mentor Allen Toussaint. She can also be seen in her cameo appearance in Allen Parker's film "Angel Heart" and is featured on the soundtrack with the Blues great Brownie McGee.
Her life long friend Mr. Vernell Bagneris molded her acting skills when he cast her in his black Vaudeville music ONE MO' TIME. He kept her busy with the show for 4 years; touring New Orleans, Sweden and Brazil. She has performed and can be heard on recordings with legendary music greats as Edward Frank, Lloyd Lambert, Joseph 'Smokey' Johnson, Jay Mc Shane, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Milt Hinton, Gus Johnson, Sammy Price, Doc Cheatham, Arnett Cobb, Al Casey, Dr. John, Benny Waters, Danny Barker, Professor Longhair, Clark Terry and with England's trumpet great Humphrey Lyttleton and more.
With success in 1992 she spearheaded 45 of her New Orleans Music Friends and brought the sounds of Cajun, Soul, R & B, Gospel, Traditional N.O. Brass band and as well the New Orleans cuisine to 22 cities in Germany under the title SPIRIT OF LOUISIANA. In 1993 she originated the project GOSPEL UNITED in co-operation with 2 Danish organizers, where she was able to show her musical and social influences. This project in 1994 brought LILLIAN and her New Orleans Gospel group together with 1000 voices of students from all over Denmark - including a Live-CD and TV-coverage with great success, which went into another project in 1995 with a choir this time of 3000 voices on stage with her.
Lillian still continues to share her music throughout the world thru concerts, festivals special Music projects and her passion for workshops with kids and Adults have taken her around the world.
The unconditional love of her beloved city New Orleans was magnified on the 29th of August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Musically Rich city. She was contacted on that morning by good friend and college Elmar Hoff whom together started a Musicians Fund to help her city in whatever means they could. An account was opened and over the last years the fund has been successful in sponsoring a New Orleans Elementary School, the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Transportation Support for fellow musicians to travel over in order to tour and earn money in the midst of the disaster.
The Ascona Jazz Award 2006 is bestowed upon New Orleans singer Lillian Boutté for her profuse efforts in support of Katrina victims in her role as World Ambassadress of New Orleans music and Godmother of the SOS New Orleans Jazz Heritage Fund launched last by JazzAscona.
; a member of the musical Boutté clan that includes Lillian and John Boutté sings a soulful mix of R&B, jazz, and gospel with an authority few other vocalists can lay claim to. A New Orleans native, Tanya grew up performing. A member of New Orleans Boutté clan with all its musical talents, she learned to sing as she learned to walk.
Tanya found the spotlight and developed her unique style and interpretations with a passion found in New Orleans musicians who not only know the ropes they feel them and use them to spell bind listeners. She began her public performances with the J.F. Kennedy Senior High School Gospel Choir, and soon became a mainstay with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Matching her expansive vocal range her repertoire includes R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Top-40, reggae and Motown. She has opened for and performed with musical legends: Latimore, Shirley Brown, B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Connick Jr, Leroy Jones, Craig Klein, Mark Braud, Walter Wolfman Washington, Wendell Brunious, and of course, Lillian and John Boutte.
Her dynamic presentation and stage presence has endeared her audience around the world. She is a regular at international music festivals including Ascona Jazzfest Switzerland, Slida Jazzfest Norway, Tuna Festival, Denmark, and The Gospel United Tour, England. Her reputation for powerful soul renditions have many a night flowed into the hot sultry air of the French Quarters where she is the new generation ensuring New Orleans always sounds like New Orleans.
Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony
Topsy Chapman is one of New Orleans' finest singers, adept at gospel, blues, rhythm and blues and jazz. Her trio Solid Harmony - with daughters Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips - is one of the best, most soulful vocal harmony groups working today. The group records and performs their original compositions, as well as their signature arrangements of traditional and modern jazz, blues, and gospel, in New Orleans and around the world.
|Topsy Chapman (c) and Solid Harmony
It all started for Topsy Chapman on a farm in Kentwood, Louisiana - a farm where gospel music was raised right along with the cotton. Topsy Chapman has performed for presidents and royalty (the Queen of England), received rave reviews from the New York Times, Variety and the New York Post, appeared in such publications as Time, Jet, Ebony, and Essence and most recently, performed in the award-winning Steve McQueen film, 12 Years a Slave (2013); The Modern Masters of New Orleans (2013); and No Cross, No Crown (2009). Topsy was also chosen as an original cast member and vocal arranger of the off Broadway hit One Mo Time which received critical acclaim.
As a solo artist, Topsy has toured all of Europe, Asia, Australia and has traveled the Americas performing gospel, traditional and Dixieland jazz. She has also performed and/or recorded with Nicholas Payton, the Magnolia Jazz Band, the Blue Serenaders, Willie Humphrey, Chester Zardis, Alvin Stardust, Butch Thompson, Dick Hyman, Herb Ellis, Lionel Ferbos, and has made several appearances on Garrison Keillors A Priarie Home Companion.
Through it all, her humility and genuine caring have endeared her to generations of New Orleans musicians. Topsy Chapman is quite simply one of New Orleans' living musical treasures.
The daughter of trumpeter and bandleader Dookie Chase and restaurateur and namesake Leah Chase, vocalist Leah Chase grew up surrounded by music and undoubtedly good food. She cites her father's love of jazz and her mother's penchant for vocalists like Johnny Mathis as influencing her musical preferences - jazz and ballads. As a child, she became aware of her vocal abilities after winning praise for a performance and thereafter she was often called on to sing at various events.
Chase joined the high school choir at Xavier Prep and studied voice and piano at Xavier University Junior School of Music. Singing in the New Orleans Recreation Department Theater's production of Hallelujah Baby offered her further experience. She considers her first "professional" gigs as singing pop hits with a group called Market and also portraying a "woman of the blues" in a Las Vegas-type show.
While Chase was majoring in classical voice at Loyola University, where she earned a degree in vocal performance, she also participated in the jazz band. The mezzo-soprano went on to study classically at the Julliard School of Music but after a year, she says she realized that the style "wasn't where I think I live." It was the late 1970s when Chase came back home and got a job at the Chateau Sonesta, where she spent a year doing what she describes as a cabaret show. When her pianist, Craig Fisher, decided to head to California she went, too. During her 12 years on the West Coast she had the opportunity to sing more jazz. "I'm most comfortable with jazz," she says. "I like the freedom you have to create." After the sudden death of her sister in '90, Chase returned to New Orleans to help out at her mother's restaurant, Dookie Chase, "It was time to come back - it was good to have my daughter around family." She got back into singing again when Dolores Marsalis, the wife of pianist Ellis Marsalis, asked if she would perform at a program for St. Mary's High School. Afterward, Dolores said, "You really ought to be doing this." She has been back on the scene ever since, leading groups filled with New Orleans' finest. Chase is also an adjunct professor at Loyola and Tulane universities and the University of New Orleans, as well as being involved with Delfeayo Marsalis' children's theatre program.
Leah is a staple of the New Orleans music fabric, performing with such luminaries as Michael Pellera, Philip Manuel, Harry Shearer, Jesse Boyd, Larry Sieberth, Matt Lemmler, and Ed Petersen. She can be heard at the Windsor Court Hotel, Sweet Lorraine's, Snug Harbor, and notable festivals such as the French Quarter Fest and the Jazz and Heritage Festival.
After Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures, she, along with pianists David Torkanowski and Tom McDermott and clarinetist Evan Christopher were invited by the French Ministry of Culture to perform in Paris and throughout France. Leah can be heard on her CD entitled "At Last" and also on the Matt Lemmier CD "Portraits of Wonder".
Her sense of humor blends with her inimitable stagecraft and vocal skills, rending her one of jazz's most sought-after vocalists.
Lady B.J. Crosby (In Loving Memory)
By Geraldine Wyckoff, OffBeat
She went from a little New Orleans girl to a Broadway star," says Vernel Bagneris of Lady B.J. Crosby, his lifelong friend and musical and theatrical cohort.
Born Joanne Clayton, the vocalist and actress gained national acclaim in the Tony-nominated production of "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller." She was also nominated as the musical's Best Featured Actress. Lady B.J. Crosby died on Monday, March 27, 2015, at the age of 62.
Pianist/vocalist Henry Butler explains that he gave Crosby the title Lady B.J. in the early 1970s when she was working at Mason's on South Claiborne Avenue under the moniker Black Jack. Interested in taking her beyond the small, black neighborhood clubs to bigger spots on "the other side of town," Butler realized that her nickname wouldn't work. "I talked to her about it and said I would call her Lady B.J.-and it stuck," Butler says. The duo soon began working at Lu & Charlie's and branched out to play French Quarter spots.
Crosby began singing in the Baptist church and was a featured soloist with the Gospel Soul Children. Her talents as an actress gained attention in the late 1970s for her work in Bagneris' musical, "One Mo' Time."
Crosby was teamed with the Ellis Marsalis Quartet on the 1988 Rounder Records release The New New Orleans Music and at shows at Snug Harbor.
"It was fun to work with B.J.," Marsalis says. "Like any singer, when they're really good at what they do, it's fun."
The word "fun" pops up often when people speak of the spirited Lady B.J. "B.J. was a very fun-loving person and enjoyed life to the fullest," says her good friend and frequent collaborator vocalist Charmaine Neville. "She was crazy when she needed to be."
In 1987, Crosby headed to Los Angles to further her career. It was her move in 1995 to New York that resulted in her great success.
Her stage credits include the aforementioned "Smokey Joe's Cafe," the cast album of which won a Grammy, "Dreamgirls," "Staggerlee," "Chicago," and "Harlem Song."
"Everybody in New York knew her as a Broadway star," says Bagneris, who calls her "hard-working" and her talent "stupendous."
"She had a great mothering, nurturing spirit," says pianist/vocalist Davell Crawford, who knew Lady B.J. his entire life. "She wanted and demanded the best from everybody around her. She demanded that from the musicians that she worked with and even from the audience that came to see her."
Crosby returned to her hometown in 2007 and recorded her debut album as a leader, Best of Your Heart. Often performing at Jazz Fest, her last appearance there was in 2014 at the Gospel Tent as one of the guest vocalists on Jo "Cool" Davis' set.
Nayo Jones (pronounced Nīyō) was born in Chicago, Illinois into a family of musicians and destined to be in show business. Her parents noticed her musical gift at an early age. As an accomplished jazz musician and music educator, her father William "Doc" Jones groomed and nurtured her natural ability from the very beginning. Thanks to her father's love of jazz, Ms. Jones grew up listening to standards that proved to be a solid foundation and would later become a signature in her own show. Though she doesn't play much anymore, Nayo Jones is a classically trained flutist. She'd go on to compete on a state level throughout high school on into her college years. Growing up Nayo Jones would even join her dad on stage to play with him and his jazz band. Additionally, at her mother's insistence, Jones sang in the gospel choir at church but would never take solos since she was and still is ironically very shy.
A graduate of Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia, Nayo Jones though still in love with music focused her life on the corporate world not realizing music was still her in destiny. On a whim, Nayo Jones found herself back on her musical journey. No longer able to ignore her calling, Ms. Jones sang for an event to help her dad raise funds benefiting his non-profit music organization in Phoenix, Arizona. The audience received Ms. Jones with joy and jubilation; stage fright aside, she enjoyed singing for them as much as they loved having her. Ms. Jones didn't realize it then but that day was the beginning of her-story. To date, Nayo Jones wows her audiences (large and small) and consistently gains loyal fans with her sultry voice and her obvious passion for every note she sings. Nayo Jones debuted at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2012 where she has appeared annually since then. Ms. Jones has opened for such greats as Chris Botti, Otis & the Temptations, The Whispers & Lakeside. In addition to her own show, Ms. Jones currently tours alongside New Orleans' iconic jazz trumpeter, Kermit Ruffins. Though still a babe in the music industry she already has the savvy of some of the most classic female artists and has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Ms. Jones has an extraordinary ability to capture her audience and keep them in a trance every time she hits the stage. Nayo Jones continues to cherish those classic tunes she heard growing up and is committed to bringing back the "authenticity of music" each time she performs. Her fans have compared her to the likes of Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack and even Billy Holiday as she belts out tunes from jazz standards to adult R&B.
Nayo Jones is featured on the latest album release by Kermit Ruffins, #imsoneworleans. Her body of work also includes her first original album "My Name is Nayo Jones", a "Holiday Collection" and her EP simply titled "Nayo". Jones is currently in the studio working on her first Jazz album. Stay tuned...
Jazz at Lincoln Center notes, "every so often a new voice stands up and proclaims itself, but few do so with such supreme depth and understated soul...."
Stephanie Jordan's current show continues her signature trademark of singing jazz standards from the Big Band era, including highlights from her "Stephanie Jordan Sings A Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne" CD which honors the legendary Grammy Award winner.
is consistently praised for her poise, elegance, and soulful articulation. She draws frequent comparisons to her mentor-the legendary jazz chanteuse Shirley Horn-as well as Abbey Lincoln, and Carmen McRae. Critics have also likened Ms. Jordan to jazz stars Diana Krall and Nancy Wilson. As a late minute replacement for Grammy Award-winning singer Leis, Chicago Tribune's leading art critic Howard Reich was led to proclaim, "The woman can sing ...
The Washington Post
boasts of her Kennedy Center performance, "A poised, soulfully articulate vocalist, Stephanie Jordan turned in a performance that warmly evoked the influence of Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae and other jazz greats." JazzTimes Magazine wrote "Stephanie Jordan, a standout here, was the real discovery of the evening... Singing with a clarity of diction that recalled Nat "King" Cole. The London Monthly Herald declares, "Ms. Stephanie Jordan reminds me of the flashy dashy days of Josephine Baker at the Lido in Paris". Recognized internationally, the Sud Ouest French publication calls her "unbelievably superb."
Just as she had ten years ago at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Stephanie Jordan Big helped frame the moment of the evening at "The Power of Community: Katrina 10 Commemoration" on August 29, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Jordan said "I am honored to have been asked by Mayor Landrieu to sing the classic tune "Home" from the Broadway musical "The Wiz" during the commemoration"
Stephanie Jordan has performed before such dignitaries as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Susan Taylor and a national PBS NPR televised audience. Jordan whose musical career began in the DC area has performed on such stellar stages as the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the NBA All-Star Game, Chicago's Harris Theater, the Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland, and the inaugural International Jazz Day which was celebrated by millions worldwide.
Jordan has appears live on NPR's Talk of the Nation, the Kennedy Center, Jazz Standard, Club Dizzy's, Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland, St. Croix Blue Bay Jazz Fest, The Setai - South Beach Miami, Manship Theatre, Takoma Station, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Duke Ellington Festival, Chicago JazzFest Heritage, Glenwood Springs, Co., Adagio's Jazz Club, Hayti Heritage Center, Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club and is a regular at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The Washingtonian Magazine labeled her "JAZZHOT." Audix Microphones has dubbed her "Lady Jazz!"
Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians. As the daughter of saxophonist Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Stephanie's musical roots run deep; siblings include flutist Kent, trumpeter Marlon, and classical violinist Rachel Jordan. A graduate of Howard University, Stephanie is also a certified fitness instructor and creator of Jazz Pilates which is offered free to the public every Wednesday in partnership with the French Market Corporation and the New Orleans Jazz National Park Visitors Center.
What makes a voice unique and entertaining is surely exemplified in the ever-changing expression of the singer of songs and the teller of musical tales. In New Orleans, that mistress of coal soul is none other than Sharon Martin, a petite frame that carries one of the most powerfully soulful voices around.
Martin is a deft performer, navigating her Billie Holiday through stages of disintegration onstage - but more to the point, her vocal mimicry of Holiday's distinct style is spot on," writes Gambit magazine. Martin appeared in two episodes of the HBO production of "Treme" as well as in T.D. Jakes' movie "On the 7th Day". Sharon Martin has been serving up exciting music not only to her loyal fans in New Orleans but also around the world, including a tour of Japan with the legendary Joe Sample. Her performance in the Republic of Georgia has earned her the respect and admiration of audiences everywhere.
Her versatility as a vocalist and an entertainer has garnered her many spots as an opening act for major artists such as Roy Ayers, Gill Scott Heron, Nagee, Ronnie Laws, Buddy Guy, and Boz Scaggs. In New Orleans, Martin helped to establish the once thriving Showcase Lounge as one of the city's most exciting addresses for Jazz and Blues. Her talents are unlimited. As Program Director for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation she furthered showcased her talents producing many of concerts for the NOJHF programs.
Voted as one of the best vocalists by her peers in the OffBeat magazine, Martin has shared the stage with some of the finest musical talents the music world has to offer including Grammy winners; Ray Parker, Jr., Benny Carter, Nicholas Payton, Alonzo Bowens, Donald Harrison Jr and Dave Bartholomew. She has worked with New Orleans legends, Wilson "Willie T" Turbinton, Deacon John, Ellis Marsalis, Walter Payton, Michael Ward, Herman Ernest and The House of Blues All Stars, The Carl LeBlanc Group, Donald Harrison, Jr., and a host of others.
"There is a rare musical triple point where talent, vision, and a wicked sense-of-humor meet. Damn few artists ever make it there. I believe it must be the address of one Sasha Masakowski."- All About Jazz, 2015
Sasha Masakowski was born into a family of musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana and has been a leading voice on the New Orleans music scene since 2009, when she was awarded "Best Emerging Artist" by the Big Easy Association.
"A charismatic performer and one of the brightest young talents in the Big Easy" - Offbeat Magazine, 2011
She has since performed major clubs and festivals across the United States and abroad, and leads three bands of her own that range from traditional New Orleans jazz (Sidewalk Strutters) to contemporary jazz and world music (Musical Playground) to experimental electronic art-rock (Hildegard).
"Her material choice shows a daring disregard for the commercial mainstream and a courage to step out and do something different...very successfully"- All About Jazz
"Masakowski's marvelous voice can be sly, sexy, exotic and arresting as she works her way through an incredibly diverse array of music that crosses cultural and stylistic lines in interesting ways" - All About Jazz
"The young singer makes it clear that this is high-fashion music that lives beyond the borders of the Big Easy.." - All About Jazz
Lena Prima is a New Orleans based singer, recording artist, songwriter, artist and author. She is also the youngest daughter of music legend, Louis Prima. Born in Las Vegas, Lena grew up in two exciting cities, Las Vegas and her father's hometown of New Orleans. Her childhood was spent on the road with her father, where he would frequently have her come out to sing with him on stage, delighting the audiences.
Her musical influences come from her adoration of the sheer joy of her father's exciting, raucous swing as well as the rock and funk artists she loved listening to as a teenager.
Lena created her own production show in 2000 titled "Louis Prima That's My Dad" which headlined to rave reviews throughout the country at theaters, festivals and showrooms, also enjoying a wildly successful two year run at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas where her Dad had once ruled.
After moving back in 2011, Lena has become a beloved member of the community, actively supporting the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Italian Heritage Organizations and gladly donating her performances to worthy charities.
Lena, an avid supporter of Italian American causes both locally and nationally, was recently the Grand Marshal of the St. Josephs Day Italian Parade in New Orleans and has headlined over 50 Italian American festivals around the country. She has received several awards and honors including the American Italian Cultural Roundtable, Inc. Distinctive Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding achievement and contribution to the development of Jazz by Jazz Italo Americano New York.
Her recordings and her show today reflect all these influences, featuring her own wonderful songs, beautiful ballads, jazz standards, rock and roll and, of course, a healthy dose of her father's hits. Over the years Lena's show has grown into a rousing, highly acclaimed celebration of her musical roots as well as her musical journey, never failing to leave audiences smiling.
Lena currently performs regularly at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, has four albums to her credit and travels frequently with her highly acclaimed show. She is proudly continuing an amazing musical legacy with quality and love.
Wanda Rouzan, THE SWEETHEART OF NEW ORLEANS MUSIC, is best known as one of the crescent city's premier musical ambassadors. Wanda is usually seen leading her band, "A Taste of New Orleans", as well as singing with other bands and orchestras, performing at night clubs, festivals, conventions, casinos, river boats and cruise ships. She has toured the United States, Australia, Europe, Brazil and Japan, taking her music all over the world. Wanda fuses Blues and Jazz, Gospel and Soul, into a 'Jump on your feet and sing along' music revival. Ms. Rouzan's performances will fill your heart and spirit. Her show business career has been greatly influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Irma Thomas, Mahalia Jackson and Ellyna Tatum, New Orleans' First Female Grand Marshal. She carries on the New Orleans Tradition of leading Jazz Funerals and parades and Wanda is one the few females to do so. Rouzan was honored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival when her Grand Marshall portrait graced the 1999 promotional poster and program book commemorating its 30th anniversary.
Her show business career spans nearly fifty years. She appears regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Tulane University's Commencement, and as a regular in HBO's "Treme". Wanda has four recordings; Mama Roux, A Taste of New Orleans, It's What I Do, and Where Ya' At?! She fuses jazz and blues, funk and soul, R&B, second line, spiritual and show into a 'Jump on your feet and sing along' music revival.
Ms. Rouzan has a Master's Degree and teaches Theatre Arts at Audubon Charter School. Musical Theater plays a prominent part in Wanda's career. She's a veteran performer in Tours of Vernel Bagneris' Musical "One Mo' Time". She was also recognized for performances in "A...My Name Is Alice", and the CAC's 1960's hit musical, "Where the Girls Were", where she regularly received standing ovations for her portrayal of Tina Turner. The ovations continued for her brilliant performance as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" with Ellis Marsalis for which she received the Gambit's 'Big Easy' Best Actress Award. She has also received a 'Big Easy' award for Best Female Performer and continues to be recognized as one of New Orleans' Treasures. Wanda served as honorary music chair for the 2000 Gambit Big Easy Entertainment Awards.
Critical acclaim says that Ms. Wanda Rouzan is not just a "Taste of New Orleans", but, a "Whole Meal".
Jazz Vocalist extraordinaire, artist and teacher Betty Shirley has come full circle in her life and is now reaping the benefits of her hard-earned endeavors. The Times Picayune declares "...her range and command of the stage make Shirley's a voice that should be heard round the world."
Blessed with all the range and tonal control one might expect from a first-class Jazz singer, Shirley can scat, propel, coax and hang on to a note. She improvises with unerring instincts and delivers exactly what a song needs, spinning notes like silk. Michael 'Mr. Jazz' Gourrier (of WRIR-FM, Richmond Virginia) says about Betty, "One of the top female vocalists on the New Orleans scene. sensitive, sassy, coy and a great interpreter."
Betty Shirley says, "most of my singing is a natural expression, the voice is an instrument and to be able to sing illuminates the entire world, it has given me a chance to express my sincere devotion to this music." Shirley's extensive repertoire ranges from original compositions, Jazz (modern and traditional), and Blues to R&B, and Bossa Nova. Lucy Galliher, Musician and former East Coast Editor - Jazz Now Magazine writes "... her songs are alive, mixing vocalizing, talking and scanting into a wonderful blend of colors..."
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Shirley spent her childhood in Chicago, and "ran off" to study music and art in New York City at the age of 16. Betty Shirley honed her skills on the New York scene making use of Jazz Mobile, and performing in such clubs as Birdland, Green Street Café and the Village Gate. In the early 1990's she followed her muse and settled in the great Jazz city of New Orleans where she has continued to perform at such clubs as Snug Harbor, Royal Sonesta and Donna's.
She has sung with some of the best Jazz musicians in the world: Ellis Marsalis, Art Blakey Jr., Benny Green and Bross Townsend, to name a few and her tours have included Europe and Brazil. Her credits include the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Pensacola Jazz Festival, Essence Fest and the Women in Jazz Series.
Betty Shirley most recent award was being named and honored as a 2007 Jazz All-star by New Orleans Magazine. Her other awards received included Best Jazz Vocalist, Gambit Magazine's Big Easy Awards and Duke Ellington Concerts Award.
As a recording artist, Shirley has 3 critically acclaimed CDs to her credit as a leader. Unveiled (1995), Betty Shirley Sings (with the Chuck Chaplin Trio, 2002), and Close Your Eyes (released March 2007). Unveiled was described by Offbeat Magazine as "not another album of tired standards. Shirley works the songs into new forms and lets them fly into unaccustomed orbits." Her latest work "Close Your Eyes," was completed just at the time Hurricane Katrina was rolling in. Other collaborations include working with pianist Betty List to write the lyrics for the song Jazz Waltz that appears on the CD Unveiled.
Judy Spellman (In Loving Memory)
A New Orleans native born into a family of music with a BA and MA in the visual arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY and Tulane University's Newcomb School of Art. Judy's father the legendary NO R&B; singer Mr. Benny "Lipsticktraces" Spellman made a significant contribution to New Orleans music and of course developed a hugh international following due to his work with the likes of Paul Mccartney, Allen Toussaint, Earl King and many others that re-recorded his original songs. Judy's mom has also been a gospel pianist/vocalist for greater than 69 years in New Orleans and still going strong.
Judy's vibrant personality and Ecclectic musical sound allows her the flexibility to move fluidly across many genres of music styles, from Jazz to Blues, and standards to Gospel, which of course is where she started and still intimately involved with her church choir.
Judy has performed over the years at multiple Jazz Festivals in New Orleans, and is now sought after not only by local establishments, but regionally as well as cities across the US and Europe! In her first international collaboration, during the fall of 2012 Judy toured several European countries with the German based band, "Phavior Adelic".
"Judy's life motto is...."If I Can Help Somebody As I Pass Along This Way, Then My Living Is Not In Vain"!
Anais St. John
Elegant and seductive, Anaïs St. John is a singer whose daunting stage presence sends sensual shivers up the spines of audiences in venues both intimate and grand. A native New Orleanian and daughter of jazz alto saxaphonist Marion Brown, this Creole songstress is a seasoned performer deft at jazz, opera and musical theater.
With a master's degree in vocal performance and years of experience as a music educator, Anaïs challenges her audience to sit up and take notice. Influenced by a wide variety of musical genres, Ms. St. John sets herself apart with a boundless hunger to use lyric, harmony and vocal power to weave a spell around audiences.
Her operatic and theatrical training is evident as she sings and purrs through a myriad of moods and vocal styles. In keeping with a classic cabaret tradition, she sprinkles her tunes with a bit of naughty and a whole lot of spice.
As voracious as she is versatile, Anaïs continues to expand her musical repertoire. In 2004 and 2007, she attended the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale University. She received an invitation in 2009 to participate in the Sarteano Choral Conducting Workshop in Tuscany and in 2011 was awarded the Iona Richardson Award for Excellence in Teaching at Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans.
Anaïs received a nomination for a Big Easy Award for her 2010 cabaret tribute, A Purrfect Evening... The Songs of Eartha Kitt. Named one of New Orleans Magazine's"People to Watch," she has also been honored by Gambit Weekly with its coveted L'Image award.
A longtime headliner at the Polo Lounge at the Windsor Court Hotel, Anaïs has graced the stages at some of New Orleans's most revered jazz clubs including Snug Harbor, D.B.A. and Le Chat Noir. As alluring on the big stage as in those intimate settings, she has been a staple at the annual French Quarter Festival as well as at Bayou Boogaloo and the steamy summer Satchmo Fest.
ANAïS, her first C.D., was released to critical acclaim in 2012. With 14 standards to showcase her talent, the collection combines St. John's skill and sensuality with an uncanny blend of lusty earthiness and elegant stylings. Terry McDermott, runner-up on The Voice, described "her remarkable voice... cradled by luxury and as warm as a single malt."
Summers and holidays send Anaïs to festivals far and wide. Most recently, she made her way across the Atlantic to take her place among the women in jazz featured at Switzerland's Jazz Ascona. In December, she helped ring in a sultry New Year at the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival in Orvieto, Italy.
Note: The referenced biographical information and images were compiled from each artist's official website, bio, or the artists themselves.
New Orleans Women in Music
Masters of Funk, Blues, Soul, Jazz and R&B
Tarriona "Tank" Ball (
Tank and The Bangas)
Tarriona "Tank" Ball leads Tank & the Bangas, a band fusing spoken word, R&B, hip-hop and New Orleans funk. Tank writes and sings straight from the heart and brings a one of a kind energy to her soulful sets. Her music is diverse and powerful and resists being put in a box, which is just what she intended.
Originating in New Orleans,
Tank and The Bangas have all the qualities that relates them, to the city that birth them but a flair that separates them as well. Their performances range from being "One of the most energetic shows you'll ever see" to "A gospel tent in Mississippi". Rummaging through their sound like a thrift store hippie, you'll find the Bangas to provoke a musical reference of Rhythmic Soul and Spoken word among other genres such as Rock, Gospel, Funk, and Folk. Combining the various musical techniques among the Bangas, coupled with the instilling play on lyrics from the lead vocalist; Tank and The Bangas have quilted a unique sound that singles them as one of the most distinctive groups to come out of New Orleans.
Tank and The Bangas has graced the cover of one of New Orleans most recognized magazines, "OffBeat" and recently won band of the year at the New Orleans Big Easy Awards. The group has opened for acts such as LiAnne LaHavas, PJ Morton, Galactic, Big Freedia, The Revivalist, and The Soul Rebels. Tank and The Bangas are sure to give you an experience you won't forget.
Mississippi-born, Louisiana-raised singer-songwriter and soul artist
is no stranger to the music scene. The daughter of a preacher, she has been singing since she was a child. Boyd-Cannon is a classically trained vocalist studying vocal performance in college. She says of her musical background, "I love to sing. Whether I'm singing jazz, funk, classical, rock, gospel, reggae or neo-soul, I perform like it's my last time. She states, "I am extremely excited and dedicated to music and musician-ship." As an artist, Boyd-Cannon plays piano, organ, drums and saxophone. She is featured on Hyundai and the Grammy's present Amplifier Center Stage, an innovative platform aimed to mentor emerging artists and provide them the opportunity to elevate their careers. Boyd-Cannon's professional career also includes work as a music vocal coach, educator, creative arts teacher and minister of music.
Boyd-Cannon's fairly rare contralto voice, almost identical to that of a countertenor, pushes the envelope with amazing musical arrangements and jazzy lyrical content. Her current single "No Approval" is the self-validating anthem for the new millennium. Boyd-Cannon states, "This is a song of self validation! I lived my life for everybody else. The decisions that I made were theirs, not my own and now I've found myself. I approved of myself and put the stamp of approval as Tonya Boyd-Cannon." Her international single "In New Orleans" captures the true heart of the city. The catchy chorus is in your head long after the song is over. Even if you have never visited New Orleans, Boyd-Cannon brings the personality of the city to life by using her sultry voice in every description.
Boyd-Cannon's delivery is sharp yet inspirational; "Music All Over the World" is the definition. Boyd-Cannon's combination of sounds and instruments is a kaleidoscope. She strategically blends creative vocals and instrumentation into a fusion of musical gumbo. In 2006, Boyd released her CD Rise My Child. The self-titled single is delivered with innocence and surrender. Boyd-Cannon shows her soulful vocal range, including fresh lyrics and robust harmonies. In 2010, She was crowned winner of "Budweiser's: Battle for the Crown" contest. This achievement, also catapulted her to national prominence. In 2011 and 2012, Boyd-Cannon performed in Alabama's BayFest, where she stopped the crowd in their tracks, when she belted Journey's ballad, "Lights." In 2012, she performed with the Stooges Brass Band at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Essence Music Festival.
Most recently, she returned home to New Orleans after ranking in the TOP 20 on NBC's Emmy-Award winning show, "The Voice, where she was on "Adam Levine's team. Not only did Tonya move the world with her voice, but she also wowed her coach, where he told others on her team to "Do what Tonya does!"
Today, she continues to bring her distinctive style to the stage as she shares her musical quest. She states, "Music is a healer. It can be the hardest metal rock to the most heart-wrenching ballad; with each...lyrical piece, I will find a peace in the music."
Gina is New Orleans' best kept secret....not anymore. Especially since she's become the new face and voice for Louisiana Lottery. She grew up in Mobile, Alabama. New Orleans has been her home base for the past 20 years.
She first started her career as a Radio announcer for WBLX-AM/FM in Mobile. That's where she started singing commercial jingles. From there her career as a vocalist took flight.
From family functions (which is where it really all started) to wedding ceremonies, underground jazz clubs, outdoor festivals, 5 star hotels and international tours.
On one of those tours she recorded her first CD while on tour in Bangkok in 2002. Self titled "Gina". Currently she has released a CD entitled "G's Spot"featuring her line dance hit the"G-Slide" and a Live CD with her band Anutha Level. She's on several compilation CD's like, Fulton St. Live, The Joints Jumpin, Treasures of New Orleans Christmas and recently finished 2 children's Cd "Grant the Red Bear" and more.
Gina's shared the stage with many artist like, Freddie Jackson, Gerald Levert, Etta James, Pattie Austin, Earl Turner, Fantasia and Ruben Studdard from American Idol.....and let's not forget her favorites, Maze, Bad Company, Roberta Flack, Jon B., Regina Belle, Ann Nesby, the legendary Billy Paul. Her musical style varies from Blues, Jazz, Motown, Pop, Oldies, Hip-hop, Funk, Southern Soul you name it.
Gina's exciting, exhilarating performance has been seen all over the world. Her travels include: Brazil, Taipei, Taiwan;Yokohama, Nagoya, Tokyo, Iwukuni, Japan; Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta, Indonesia and also a tour in the Middle East Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Her performance is guaranteed to be a memorable one for anyone who see her.
is a remarkably talented singer/songwriter dedicated to creating music that inspires the world to love more and that motivates people to be more. Her moving and powerful voice is featured on the YouTube video of the traditional spiritual "I Know I've Been Changed." The impromptu video, which debuted on YouTube's Top 100 music chart at #78, received over 1.1 million views in two weeks, and it was featured on AOL's "You've Got..." series.
Ms. Brown is also the vocalist for the Bridge the Gap ensemble that was recently selected as a finalist for the American Music Abroad program sponsored by the U. S. State Department. The American Music Abroad selects American singers and musicians to perform as cultural ambassadors to more than 40 countries around the world.
Ms. Brown has been a performer and cultural artist her entire life. At the age of 18, LaTosha and her high school jazz band won a contest that landed her first major performance in front of more than 40K people as the opening act for the Beach Boys. For more than 15 years she performed throughout the south as a vocalist with a cover band called Uneek. During her career she has opened for acts such as Millie Jackson, Roger and Zapp, Bobby Blue Bland, Lenny Williams, Tony Terry and many others.
In 2011, after a seven year hiatus from music, she reignited her desire to write, produce and perform music that reminds people about the extraordinary power of storytelling through song. Her goal is to help heal broken hearts, restore hope, connect people across the globe and spread love around the world.
In addition to her musical gifts and talents, Ms. Brown is also an award-winning community organizer, philanthropist and love activist. She is received numerous national awards for her social and environmental activism. In 2011, she was invited to the White House where she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for her rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.
A native to New Orleans and premier vocalist and entertainer, her eclectic performances evoke the colorful spirit of her hometown and mainstream influences. Her sound is reminiscent of such greats as Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline; touching the very heart of every music enthusiast. It also includes an array of today's hottest hits!
She has marqueed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage, French Quarter and Gentilly Festivals and to sellout crowds throughout Europe. She has become a perennial favorite and a must have for corporate events, conventions, private parties and wedding receptions.
Her performances are just short of brilliant as they engage guests and get them out of their seats. Her class and energy will leave you in love with her amazing sound. CoJoe boasts a voice centered in her low to mid-register, with the kind of color and tonal weight that lends credence to every song she sings. (Andrew Adler, Times Picayune.)
Erica Falls was exposed to a variety of musical genres at an early age by her parents in her hometown New Orleans. The unique sounds, sights and smells withn that home helped shape Erica and her unique soulful sound.
Erica's growth in music was stimulated and influenced by singers such as Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, Whitney Houston and of course her mother whose angelic soprano voice filled their 9th ward home. On stage her live shows are an unmatched spontaneous force that brings an exciting mix of fashion, sassiness, and vintage soul that keeps the crowds on their feet the entire show. "The stage is where I feed all of humanity a big ole pot of musical file gumbo and make sure they keep coming back for seconds," says Falls.
Erica has recorded and performed with the likes of Grammy Award Winning Allen Toussaint, Joe Sample, Dr. John, Sting, No Doubt, Jennifer Hudson and John Fogerty. On her debut CD "ME, MYSELF AND MUSIC" her singing, arrangements, and songwriting are on full artic display. The 2-time nominated Best Female Vocalist by Offbeat Magazine was also featured in Lee Daniels The Butler where she was hand picked by Lee Daniels himself for the lead singing role.
While touring with the nationally known funk band Galactic, Falls is writing and recording her sophomore project titled "Vintage Soul". The highly anticipated album is comprised of tracks that bring her live stage energy and New Orleans-vibe together perfectly in this 10 track masterpiece. "Vintage Soul is not about bringing the listener back to a time of authentic music, it's about reminding them that it never went anywhere," exclaims Erica.
Vintage Soul further exemplifies Erica's versatile and remarkable skill as a singer and
songwriter adept at extracting the most eloquent sounds within Soul, Funk and R&B creating a truly extraordinary experience for the listener.
"Music is a universal healer no matter the language barrier and I am privileged to be one of its messengers."
Venessa Joseph was born in New Orleans and her musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Venessa began singing at the tender age of 7 yrs old with New Orleans R&B Legend Tommy Ridgely. Her love of music led her to sing with many local bands at 13 at many favored establishments with the aid of her Mother who would allow this without Dad's permission. These little outings led to her receive her first paid gigs leaving her with the desire to further pursue the stage.
Some of her first paying gigs as a teenager took place singing at St. Augustine High School and singing a duet with the soulful Teddy Pendergrass at New Orleans premier performance theater, The Saenger Theatre. Venessa has also been on stage with New Orleans's musicians like Anders Osborne, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove, George Porter Jr., Charmaine Neville, and Dr. John as well as with her own band "Fleur de V". Williams. She has three Grammy credits, has recorded with various musicians and has performed at Jazz Fest for 15 years.
Venessa is married to New Orleans own Sousaphone player Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. She is the current president of New Orleans Women in Music, on the executive board of the famous New Orleans "Dew Drop Inn's" Purple Dog Foundation, and radio host for WWOZ Radio.
Her vivacious attitude and vocal talent has allowed her to be onstage with local, national and international acts, including with Cyril Neville and Tribe 13 performing live in Japan. Her affiliations with many of New Orleans music celebrities and life in the music world led her to join NOWIM (New Orleans Women in Music) in 2009, and in 2012 elected as President of the group.
Lilli Lewis is known for her powerful vocals and progressive message. The "folk-rock diva" is a sought after featured performer on mainstages across the United States and abroad.
A prolific writer, composer, pianist, and producer, Lilli has appeared as both artist and sideman with elites like Dr. John, Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove, Little Freddie King, Dash Rip Rock, Gina Forsyth, Sharon Martin, Betty Shirley, and Dr. James Walsh to mention a few.
Lewis and her band have been Regional Finalists for the Mountain Stage New Song Competition as well as Hard Rock Rising Global Band Battle. Notable festival appearances include the National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta's Music Midtown, the Southern Womyn's Music Festival, and various Pride festivals throughout the US.
The daughter of a southern minister and a Chicago reared civil rights activist, her bent towards social justice is reflected in her music and stage show. In keeping with the groundbreaking and pioneering spirit, Lewis is the only female artist on the Louisiana Red Hot Records emerging artist roster alongside Corey Henry, Colin Lake, and Jonathon Boogie Long. Louisiana Red Hot was OffBeat Magazine's 2015 Record Label of the Year and is known for launching and supporting the careers of southern favorites such as Trombone Shorty, Hunter Hayes, and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, among others.
Her voice and showmanship have been described as "Sister Rosetta Tharpe's virtuoso commitment to her instrument and Odetta's vocal power, creating a show that is a force of nature." Jamie Anderson, indie-music.com cited..."Makes you want to put your hands in the air, shout hallelujah and shake your booty for the rest of the night...enough energy to power a large city," with Radio Stonewall stating... "Lewis is the light at the end of the tunnel..."
2017 saw the release of Orange Music, Volumes I & II, and a national tour to support release for The Lilli Lewis Project planned Orange Music, Volume III: Materia. The Lilli Lewis Project can be heard weekly on Monday nights at the Banks Street Bar and Grill.
Many of the music lovers who visit the city of New Orleans come away with fond memories of being entertained by Charmaine Neville. She and her sidemen, Reggie Houston and Amasa Miller, have a regular gig at the premier contemporary jazz club in the city: Snug Harbor. Host to the hottest acts in the jazz idiom, Snug Harbor is the place to find Neville thrilling the crowd with her unique mix of music and comedy and audience participation. Guests are likely to end up sharing a microphone with the entertainer for one of her impromptu singalongs. Her contagious smile and enthusiastic personality help reluctant participants overcome any semblance of stage fright in the intimate club. Soon everyone has joined in the fun and laughter. The audience loves her because she helps them love themselves.
Nothing less could be expected from an entertainer who claims Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett as role models, and who says most of what she learned came from old cartoon shows with their swinging theme songs, like on The Flintstones. As a young girl, the New Orleans native took all that in while living in Austin, TX, where she later attended university. She started performing there when she was just 12 years old.
When she returned to New Orleans at age 16, she learned for the first time that she came by her musical inclination naturally: she is the daughter of Charles Neville, the horn man for the Neville Brothers. Charmaine Neville became acquainted with her father and began gigging with him and his brothers, displaying her talents at both song and dance.
But it is with her association with saxophonist Reggie Houston and pianist Amasa Miller that Charmaine Neville has established her reputation. The talented trio have a relaxed mix of familiarity and synergy. Good natured banter is interspersed with good jazz. During their shows, Neville teases Miller and refers to Houston as her "future ex-husband." The merriment is captured on a hard-to-find CD, Live at Snug Harbor, as well as on her 1998 release, Queen of the Mardi Gras. The latter contains an homage to the carnival music of the streets, with popular Mardi Gras Indian tunes such as "Iko Iko" and "Carnival Time," as well as the Mardi Gras theme song, "If Ever I Cease to Love."
Their brand of entertainment has made Neville and company popular at Snug Harbor, and at the Gazebo in the French Quarter. And the good hearted Neville can be counted upon to show up at any benefit for a worthy cause. Her song "Can You Tell Me How You Feel?" on the It's About Time CD sums up Neville's compassionate views about poverty, homelessness, and other social ills.
Neville's talents have not gone unnoticed. She and her band have performed all over Europe and Japan; she has been featured on PBS, in Vogue, and in a Levi's 501 ad. But Tuesday nights still find her down at Snug Harbor where the hard-working and exuberant diva keeps her fans singing along.
Margie Perez is a vivacious Singer and songwriter specializing in a versatile blend of Blues, Pop, and Latin with a New Orleans Funky touch. Dubbed by Offbeat Magazine as "One of the hardest working musicians in New Orleans" she performs in a wide range of musical acts, most importantly her own band that performs her original music. She is also leader of Muevelo, a hot Salsa band that performs Cuban music. She is one of The Honeypots, a dynamic harmonious girl group, as well as another female collective, The New Orleans Nightingales. She also lends her vocal talents to the Afro-Cuban Sacred music band Moyuba and with West African percussionist Seguenon Kone in Ensemble Fatien and Payo Afrobeat. She tours with The M&M's, a super group including Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio (of Galactic) and John Medeski (of Medeski Martin and Wood) and Papa Mali (7 Walkers).
She released her New Orleans debut CD, "Singing For My Supper" on Threadhead Records in 2010, which WhereYat Magazine called "a pleasing mix of styles and tempos". More recently with The Honeypots, their 2013 Threadhead CD, "Something Sweet" was nominated for Best Roots CD by "Offbeat" Magazine. She will soon be releasing her next record, "Love Is All", with songs performed with her band plus many other New Orleans musicians she plays well with.
She has a long list of Festival appearances such as The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The French Quarter Fest, Congo Square Rhythms Festival, The Freret street Festival, The Voice of the Wetlands Festival, Telluride Jazz Fest, High Sierra Music Fest, and The Radio Indigo Blues Festival in Bangalore India. She is excited to be performing with Meter's guitarist Leo Nocentelli at Jazz Fest this year.
Here's what New Orleans music legend Allen Toussaint had to say about Margie: "Not only is she a great singer, but she's also a great songwriter. She's taking New Orleans music in a direction I've never seen before." He invited her to sing backup for him at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. She also sang for the late, great Blues Queen of New Orleans, Marva Wright who said about her, "If you don't know her now, you will."
Dawn Richard, aka DAWN, evolved from her membership in Danity Kane to become one of the more progressive forces in artful left-field pop and R&B. Prior to mainstream visibility, the New Orleans, Louisiana native -- the daughter of Chocolate Milk percussionist and vocalist Frank Richard -- recorded as Dawn Angeliqué.
The independently released contemporary R&B album Been a While (2005), produced while the singer was attending the University of New Orleans and working as a cheerleader for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, was released around the time she made her first appearance on Making the Band 3.
The third edition of that reality series produced Danity Kane, a group that released two Billboard 200-topping albums, Danity Kane (2006) and Welcome to the Dollhouse (2008), prior to splitting. Then, along with Diddy and Kalenna Harper, Richard became one-third of Diddy-Dirty Money, a short-lived group that debuted in 2009, released an album (2010's Last Train to Paris), and then a mixtape (2011's Love Love vs. Hate Love) prior to ending in 2012.
Richard continued a solo career that developed during and after the split, reunion, and second split of Danity Kane. Her self-released material was progressive and often conceptual, willfully oblivious to genre restrictions as it twisted R&B, pop, and electronic music with emotive and frequently thrilling results. The Prelude to a Telltale Heart (2011), a mixtape, and Armor On (2012), an EP, preceded her second official album, Goldenheart (2013). Part two of her "heart" trilogy, Blackheart (2015), went farther out and topped Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart. Short-form releases for the Fade to Mind and Local Action labels preceded her fourth proper album, Redemption (2016). ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi
On August 10, 2016 Dawn made a cameo appearance on Season 2 of Rosewood (TV series) with Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Dennis. On September 15, 2016, Dawn began filming the lead role, Joyce, in the 2017 movie "Kinky" written by Jean-Claude Lamarre. In addition to Dawn in the lead starring role, the film also stars Robert Ri'chard, Gary Dourdan and Vivica A. Fox. November 10, 2016 Redemption was made available to stream exclusively on NPR one week ahead of its release. The album was officially released on November 18, 2016. Richard is the first artist to have a USB necklace album. She provides guest vocals on the song "Cool Your Heart" from Dirty Projectors' self-titled album, which was released February 21, 2017.
The unrivaled Soul Queen of New Orleans -- a title officially bestowed by local officials is New Orleans' most enduring musical ambassador. "She remains one of America's most distinctive and classic singers, a treasure from the golden age of soul music who remains as compelling and powerful as ever..." says Rounder Records.
HistoryMakers reports, "Blues vocalist Irma Thomas was born Irma Lee on February 18, 1941 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. She was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended New Orleans' McDonald 41 public school. Thomas displayed her early vocal talents as a teen. She sang with a Baptist church choir and a gospel quartet at Home Mission Baptist Church. Her very first recording was a school song, which was recorded at Cosmo's studio with fellow classmates. At the age of eleven, Thomas won The Ritz Theater's talent night and two years later, she auditioned for Specialty Records.
Her comeback as a recording artist started in 1986 when she produced an album, The New Rules, with Scott Billington of Rounder Records. Thomas received her first Grammy nomination in 1991. She received her second Grammy nomination in 1998 along with Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson. In 2006, she received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, forAfter the Rain, 2006; Blues Music Awards, Soul Blues Album of the Year, for After the Rain, 2007; recipient of numerous humanitarian awards for public service work in New Orleans. She has continued to maintain an active recording and touring schedule since.
Note: The referenced biographical information and images were compiled from each artist's official website, bio, or the artists themselves.
Meet Lady Jazz - Stephanie Jordan
AUDIX MICROPHONES (June 2015) - Stephanie Jordan is a powerhouse of dynamic musicality, a modern and unique voice shining through the long, storied history of jazz music. In performance as well as one-on-one she is humble but strong, gentle but full of power-a dichotomy that makes its way into her own performance, carefully crafted over many years of many audiences.
|Stephanie Jordan on the Audix OM6 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015 (Photo credit: Eric Waters).
Stephanie grew up in the rich musical environment of New Orleans, in a family who played a variety of instruments-yet she describes herself as an "accidental singer," someone who wanted to sing, but didn't think she could. That changed one night on her birthday, at a club where her brother was playing. He asked her to sing a song with him, and her career was born.
Her philosophy on singing comes from many hours of listening to the radio, when radio was great-singers like Chaka Kahn, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and many R&B groups in the 70s. "When I would listen to the radio," she says, "you had to really sing to be played. Nowadays, you can go record an album and they can doctor your voice up in the studio. Back in the day, that didn't happen-people had to sing." Though she loved R&B, she was surrounded by New Orleans jazz, and jazz is what got into her blood.
She is said to be true to the jazz tradition, but she is also willing to take chances. "It doesn't have to be a 'jazz song' for me to sing it. If I can hear jazz in a song-if it's a good song, and if I can feel it in my heart-I just want to sing it."
Stephanie has forged her path steadily, with a career spanning nearly 25 years. "When you're a jazz singer, it doesn't happen overnight. I've been a lot of places, I've done a lot of singing, but I had to grow up in the music." Her configuration has evolved along with her show, starting as a duo, then a trio, then with quartets and quintets behind her. Now she has an entire ensemble-a five-piece horn section, and a quartet of piano, bass, drums, and guitar.
Now, a few years after her latest release, Yesterday When I Was Young: A Tribute To Lena Horne, she's ready to head back to the studio again, this time with original music as well as interpreting other women composers such as Joni Mitchell, Abby Lincoln, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone. "I'm examining compositions by women because I think it's important that women's voices are heard and that we tell our own story. A lot of jazz songs, which are great songs, are really written by men. And women singers have made a lot of those songs really famous-like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, some of the greatest composers of jazz, their music would have been an obscurity because the songs really aren't that hip without the interpretation of those women. But I think right now, jazz today has to be about women writing their own songs."
She speaks of unique challenges in the world of jazz music that women face today. "Jazz is a very male-dominated industry.... But women have to understand that when you're a singer, you have to get out there and just create your own way."
A way that she chooses to keep fresh and relevant, finding the balance between pleasing a jazz audience with "jazz standards," but also reaching out and cultivating a new audience, drawing younger people into the music. "That's how the music is going to stay alive. You can't just keep doing the same old stuff in the same old way and expect your audience to grow."
Stephanie has been using the Audix OM6 for her vocals since she first was introduced to the mic at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans several years ago. "The first time I used an Audix mic, I immediately noticed-'Wow, something's different. What is this microphone?!'" After talking to her sound technician, she knew she had found the mic she had been waiting for. The issues she had run into before-feedback, lack of clarity-were not a problem with the OM6. "When I have my Audix mic, the show is just effortless. It picks up everything...I don't have to push. I even love what I hear in the monitor, and that makes a big difference in how you perform. Some microphones just have to do too much to get what you want...when I'm using my Audix, I get the sound I want."
In her performances, she ranges from very controlled, quiet notes, but her voice also grows to a powerful intensity. The OM6 can handle all of it. "I like a microphone that can really switch up and do that for me, and allow me to go from zero to 100 at any moment if I want to. I love the flexibility of this mic."
"As a singer, and as a human being, I just have a whole lot to do! It keeps you moving, always a new project. You gotta keep moving."
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SCENE by RHYS: Original Drawings of New Orleans musical performances
Original drawings by visual artist Emilie Rhys created during performances of music in New Orleans
|Above Image: Stephanie Jordan performing at Prime Example Jazz Club (Emilie Rhys).
Music and Art in New Orleans, 2011 - Present
About Emilie Rhys:
A sketchpad is well suited to the environment of music clubs. Often the light is low but I can see just enough to translate something of the scene to paper. All drawings are started with pencil, locating the preliminary image on the sheet of paper. Fountain pens are utilized to create the final drawing. Later in my studio, I might add watercolor or gouache.
I moved back to New Orleans in late 2011. I knew Preservation Hall and a few other places, and then a friend introduced me to Frenchmen Street and Palm Court Jazz Cafe and I started drawing musicians again. A lifelong fascination with music and the people who produce it is a strong motivation, and when the music begins I can no more not draw than not breathe....
Technical Specs on the Work
All my drawings start out in an Aquabee sketchbook, either 11"x14" with 60 pages or 14"x17" with 50 pages. The paper is 93 lb Archival Acid-free professional quality.
An H-lead pencil is what I start drawings with, and fountain pens filled with Noodler's ink are utilized soon after.
Watercolor and/or Gouache are added if I hear colors in a picture after the date of creation. That work is done in my French Quarter art studio.
Most drawings are sold unframed, packed in a Clear-Bag envelope with a stiff Acid-free backing board, but a few are available framed by the artist, as noted in the store.
All are created from life as the music is being performed in the venues.
I do not utilize photography in creating these images unless some aspect of a commission requires it., i.e. depicting historical subjects.
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