Jessica Lá Rel is a recording artist, songwriter and storyteller from Chicago. Her “cinematic soul” sound can be likened to an orchestra traveling from the south side of Chicago to Ghana. Known for her soaring vocals and thrilling live performances, Lá Rel releases her LP, War Love, later this year.
Just out of her teens when first introduced to the jazz world, warm-toned vocalist Jane Monheit can toggle between that early innocence and a time-crafted maturity. Those qualities alone make her an ideal artist to explore some of Ella Fitzgerald’s lesser-known repertoire at 2018 Summer Fest.
Los Angeles native Jimetta Rose has become a mainstay in the independent music scene while digging firm roots into LA’s burgeoning creative renaissance. Her music is not constrained by an expectation of what qualifies as art; instead she draws inspiration from jazz, R&B and hip-hop. She’s even been known to spit a verse or two.
Listeners can’t help but be wrapped up in and in awe of vocalist / songwriter / producer Lalah Hathaway’s tremendous singing and borderless, cross-genre musical concepts. Her infectious blend of R&B, gospel, jazz, pop and rock has, in turn, been embraced by multiple generations.
Bay Area vocalist and songwriter Jessica Johnson captivates audiences from the moment she walks on stage, engaging listeners with her rich, sultry voice and R&B stylings.
Whether from his time as the singer for Young-Holt Unlimited or as half of The Valentine Brothers, Billy Valentine’s distinct voice is recognizable to generations. Valentine’s singing was featured in the series Sons of Anarchy and Boston Legal, and his crooning is timeless.
The Monterey Jazz Festival High School Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble represents a top-flight cross-section of some of Monterey County’s finest young vocalists.
Sacramento native Made By Crooks combines the influences of soul, funk and hip-hop with a dynamic stage presence and a gift for storytelling. Now based in Los Angeles, he and his band Grooveliners have built up a loyal California fan base from San Diego to Rocklin.
From Perth and Melbourne to Boston and Paris, swinging vocalist / pianist Sarah McKenzie’s geographic journey reflects the international nature of jazz. After graduating from Perth’s West Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz, she toured as a backing vocalist on Michael Bublé’s Irresponsible Tour from 2007–2008.
As house organist for the Stax Records label in the ’60s and leader of the MG’s, keyboardist, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger Booker T. Jones is familiar to countless music fans for his own hit “Green Onions” as well as his support for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Bill Withers.
Bassist Nick Panoutsos has become an increasingly prominent voice in the Bay Area jazz scene, with a rapidly growing freelance career in New York. His quartet features a mix of original music and re-imagined arrangements of jazz standards, drawing inspiration from the post-bop era of the 1960s.
Called by Billboard Magazine a group “that should be on your radar,” YASSOU is an indie art pop band that bridges the worlds of pop and classical art. Anchored by the mesmerizing vocals of Lilie Hoy, their multimedia productions are bold and emotional.
Vocalist Barbara Morrison was voted one of the 50 Greatest Jazz Vocalists by NPR in 2010, an achievement she upholds with every performance. Her soulful interpretations of jazz and blues classics are backed by a masterful quintet, pairing Morrison’s astounding three-and-a-half octave range with tenor sax and a swinging rhythm section.
Blessed with abundant soul and fluent in hip-hop’s rhythms and flows, singer-songwriter-producer Goapele’s warm singing captures listeners’ hearts like a fond childhood memory. Since Closer, her debut release from 2001, the Oakland native has been known as a wise storyteller as well as an imparter of wisdom.
With a velvet voice rich as smooth wine, Jackie Gage possesses a musical grace that channels torch singers of decades past, mixing elements of jazz, soul and R&B into her music, which nods to the future of jazz.
Eugenie Jones is a Seattle-based jazz vocalist, songwriter and producer. Described as a performer that makes audiences feel jazz, Jones possess “a voice that covers words like pieces of silk covering precious stones.” (The Stranger)
Multi-platinum R&B icon Johnny Gill has dazzled listeners worldwide for over three decades. From his solo career to his spotlight role in New Edition, Gill’s soul-stirring vocal performances have stood the test of time, and continue to grow stronger with his latest album and national tour.
From its origins combining African rhythms and European harmonies, jazz has thrived through addition. Kat Parra brings Ladino—Judeo-Esponyol from the Sephardic Diaspora—as well as Portuguese, Spanish and English to her linguistic palette and emotive singing to her pan-American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern songbook.
Stylisically eclectic singer/songwriter Kat Edmonson has a compelling backstory for her latest album, Old Fashioned Gal. The creative jazz-rooted artist explains how the 11 originals on her fourth and most recent album make up the components of a proper movie musical that she first concocted while under the weather: