Chilean musician Melissa Aldana has taken center stage as one of the most invigorating and talented saxophonist on the jazz scene today. At only 25 years old her star shines brightly. The daughter of the renowned Chilean sax player Enrique Aldana she is the first woman ever to win the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.
By the age of 16 she was a headliner at Santiago clubs in Chile but after a week at the Village Vanguard in New York there was no doubt that there was a new face in town ready to take her place at the head of the sax table. She started out on alto sax but said that after hearing Sonny Rollins she was moved to switch to tenor.
- In June of 2014 she released her first CD, Melissa Aldana and the Crash Trio.
- On this video she appears with her trio at the Berkelee School of Music is 2013.
Perla Batalla performed at the 2014 Palm Springs Women Jazz Festival. She is a Mexican-American artist from L.A. She was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for her highly acclaimed CD Bird on the Wire. She sings in both English and Spanish and mixes her own compositions with traditional Spanish language classics. Her latest CD is Love is Everything where she is joined by jazz great Karen Hammock on piano.
In this video she sings a haunting version of the song "Dance Me to the End of Love" recorded in Barcelona.
Cindy Bradley performed at the 2014 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She is one of the most recognizable female names in jazz today. She is a native of upstate New York and is a perennial favorite on the smooth jazz charts. She was voted the American Smooth Jazz Award Best New Artist in 2011. She played the piano as a child but said she had to choose another instrument in order to join the school band. She randomly picked the trumpet. There is nothing random about her music today. She is a favorite among festival goers and always manages to take it up a notch.
Her latest CD is called Unscripted.
Here she performs at the Dubai International Jazz Festival.
Jane Bunnett, while she has been nominated twice for a Grammy for best Latin Jazz recording is not a household name on the U.S. music scene. She is, however, one of the foremost jazz musicians in Canada. She is a soprano saxophonist who has built a formidable jazz career around Cuban Music. She spent a summer in Cuba in the 80's with her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer, which she said changed her life. While she has dedicated her career to Latin music she names U.S. jazz greats Charlie Mingus and Rahsaan Roland Kirk as the source of her musical inspiration.
Her latest CD is called Jane Bunnett + Maqueque, an all-female Cuban band. On this video she performs with the band Spirits of Havana at the Registry Theater in Kitchener, Ontario.
Terri Lyne Carrington Drummer, Terri Lyne Carrington, appeared at the 2013 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She was a musical prodigy who by the time she was 11 years old, had played professionally with jazz great Clark Terry and was attending the Berklee School of Music. She has recorded 5 CD's, one of which, Mosaic Project, won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album in 2012. She is considered by some to be the best drummer of this decade.
- Her current CD is Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.
- On this video she does a tribute to fellow drummer Roy Haynes.
Regina Carter is a violin virtuosa, it's simple as that. She is a classical trained violinist who today is considered the master of the jazz violin. In 2001 She was invited to play a concert in Genoa, Italy using a 1743 violin that had belonged to Niccolo Paganini. In 2006 she was awarded a half-million dollar "genius grant" by the MacArthur Foundation. She is without a doubt "the real deal."
She hails from Detroit and began playing the violin at 4 years old. She emerged on the jazz scene in the 80's with the all-female quintet, Straight Ahead. By 1991 she had left the band and was living in New York working with R&B superstars Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige.
- In 1995 she recorded her first solo album called, Regina Carter. Her latest CD recorded in 2014 is Southern Comfort.
- On this video she puts a jazz twist on the popular old school R&B hit Ain't NoBody.
Anat Cohen THE CLARINET IS NO LONGER FOR SQUARES
According to a recent article in the New York Times, that old school favorite, the clarinet, is back and not since the days of Benny Goodman has there been so much to do about a clarinet player. Her name is Anat Cohen, an Israeli living in New York who is also a well known sax player. Ms. Cohen said she started out on tenor sax wanting to be like Coltrane but, "when I play the clarinet I am 100 percent myself."
- Her latest CD is, Claroscuro.
Hear her distinct sound on a haunting version of "Cry Me A River."
L.A. based pianist Kait Dunton has been around awhile but just in the past few years has begun to get the recognition she deserves. Jazz.com voted her one of the "10 Future Jazz Stars" in 2012 and her first CD Real and Imagined got rave reviews from critics who called it "a stunning showcase of a jazz newcomer holding her own." Dunton appeared at the 2014 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival as part of a salute to the great Marian McPartland.
- Her latest CD is called Mountain Suite.
- On this video, she performs a captivating version of the old standard "The Way you Look Tonight" in a performance at the Carson Sound Stage on the campus of the University of Southern California.
Guitarist Mimi Fox appeared at the 2014 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She lives in Berkeley, California and has been called one of the most eloquent guitarists on the scene today. Six times she has been honored by the Downbeat Magazine International Critics Poll. She has played with everyone from Terri Lyne Carrington to Branton Marsalis to Stevie Wonder. She has recorded 10 CDs, the most popular being Perpetually Hip in 2006. Her most recent CD is called Standards, Old and New.
Here she performs "Lullaby of the Leaves."
Tia Fuller appeared at the 2013 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. The saxophonist regularly performs as part of a powerful all female jazz quartet that includes Grammy winners Terri Lyne Carrington on drums and Esperanza Spalding on bass. She is also a member of Beyonce's all-female touring band. She is one of the most dynamic female sax players on the scene today. In her performances you can clearly hear the influences of the old-school greats like Charlie Parker. Her current CD is called Decisive Steps.
Here she leads a quartet at the University of California at Davis with the remarkable Mimi Jones, in the background on bass.
Nona Hendryx is scheduled to appear at the Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival in 2015 as part of an evening called Jazz + Blues = Soul that mixes jazz and blues. Since her days with LaBelle Hendryx has become an artist who easily moves from the music of LaBelle to Blues and Jazz. As a jazz artist she has toured with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and appears on her 2013 Grammy-winning CD Mosaic.
Her expansive career includes eight albums and working with major musicians from Prince to Bono. Hendryx calls herself the "Queen of Transformation" because of her unique ability to cross-over many musical genres.
Ever since Etta James died Blues fans have been looking for the next great Blues singer to come along. She has arrived, Brittany Howard, from the group Alabama Shake. They are called a rock group but a better description is probably a country/blues group. Whatever you want to call them Brittany Howard is the real deal.
The group come out of the local music scene in Athens, Ga. where they met at teenagers. When asked about the music that inspired them they named everyone from Missy Elliott to Led Zeppelin. Howard does not come to the Blues from the traditional juke joint tradition but she is going to rule the roost.
Here she sings their hit song, "Hold On" from there first CD in 2011. Their third CD, Sound of Color, comes out in April of 2015.
Lindsey Hundley is best known as a regular in California jazz clubs. She is a versatile and talented pianist and composer who moves easily from straight-ahead jazz to smooth jazz to Latin music. She has played with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Herbie Hancock and Barbara Streisand. She is representative of the growing number of outstanding women musicians setting the tone for jazz in the 21st century.
Here she appears with her group Lady Jazz showing her Latin side on a song called Movimiento.
Sweet Baby Jai
Sweet Baby J'ai is the Artistic Director of the Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She is an award-winning, critically acclaimed vocalist/composer/arranger/writer and educator. She tours the world with her genre-defying work, which both embraces and expands jazz tradition. Whether singing a ballad or the blues she always weaves her special magic into the songs she sings.
- On this video she sings, "Perpetrating Freak" at a concert at the John Hanson Ford Theater in Los Angeles.
- Here latest CD is called J'ai Michel.
Johnaye Kendrick, a 20's some vocalist from Seattle has released her first CD of 12 original songs called Here. While Kendrick is not a household name among jazz vocalists she is clearly on her way. She has big-time credentials having graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and appearing on a Grammy-winning album with the Ellis Marsalis Quartet. She has worked with Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
- On her new CD, Here, she moves easily from modern jazz to bossa nova to ballads. She appears with her quartet that includes the incredible pianist Dawn Clement.
- Take a look at this video where she performs at the Chega de Saudade Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru singing in both Spanish and English with Clement on piano.
Rene Marie comes from Warrington, Va., the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her voice is as beautiful as the countryside she calls home. In the music business she is a late bloomer, not signing her first record contract until she was 42, after she was spotted at Washington DC's iconic jazz club, Blues Alley. Her music often reflects her political activism. In 2008 in Denver, she sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the Negro National Anthem, at a civic event when she had been asked to sing the "Star Spangled Banner."
- Here she is at her best singing a love song called "Thanks, but I don't dance."
- Her latest album is called, I Wanna be Evil.
Drummer Allison Miller performed at the City of Angels Festival in LA in September 2014 and put on a performance that reminded the audience that there is more than one outstanding female jazz drummer. Mostly unknown to casual jazz fans, she is often overshadowed by the more popular, Grammy-winning drummer, Teri Lynn Carrington.
Miller began her career in Washington DC in the early 90's where she was a local favorite. By the end of the decade she had moved on to New York where she established herself as a serious part of the cities jazz scene. Miller is a talented and skillful drummer who brings joy to the audience.
- Her latest CD is called "No Morophine, No Lilies."
When you talk about the early women pioneers of jazz no list is complete without alto sax player, Vi Redd. Redd was born in Los Angeles in the late 20's to a famous father, Alton Redd, who was a major player in the Central Avenue jazz scene in L.A.
She was also a singer and on this video with the Count Basie Band she is doing the vocals to Stormy Monday Blues and playing the sax. She was a true devotee of be-bop and played with all the greats from Dizzy Gillespie to Dexter Gordon. Her first CD was called Bird Call in 1962. She is clearly, "the real deal."
Cecile McLorin Salvant
This 24 year old French/Haitian vocalist from Miami is one of the hottest artist on the jazz scene today. She moves across the musical landscape from old standards to original music with equal ease giving it all the same urgency and appeal. Even at 24, there are clear signs that a new major jazz singer is in our midst.
- She has recorded 4 CD's. Her most recent is called, Woman Child.
- Here she takes your breathe away with a song made famous by the Black comic, Bert Williams, at the turn of the last century.
There are few living jazz vocalists whom you can mention in the same sentence with Sarah, Dinah and Ella. Diane Schuur, however, can take her place among the best. A fixture on the jazz scene for more than 20 years Schuur has consistently delivered with 2 Grammy's and 3 Grammy nominations to prove it. Born blind but with perfect musical pitch she claims as her major influence Dinah Washington and said she was singing "What a Difference a Day Makes" as a small child. She has played with everyone from Basie to BB King and everywhere from the Kennedy Center to the White House.
She will headline the 2015 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival in October. Her latest CD is called, "I Remember You (with love to Stan and Frank)," a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz.
Among those artists whose star shines brightest is bassist Esperanza Spalding. Not yet 30, the Portland born musician, who also plays the cello and sings, has won four Grammy's and is the only jazz artist to ever win the Best New Artist Award. In 2014 she won again for Best Instrumental Arrangement of a work called "Swing Low." She said she knew she wanted to be a musician when she saw the cellist Yo Yo Ma on Mister Roger's Neighborhood when she was 4 years old.
- Her latest CD is called Radio Music Society.
Helen Sung performed at the 2014 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. From Houston, she is a pianist with stellar credentials and major reviews. She attended the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and is a winner of the Kennedy Center Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition. She is a regular in jazz clubs in New York.
- Her latest CD is Helen Sung Anthem for a Day.
- Here she performs an original composition, "Shall we Dance," at a concert in Poland at the Kalize Jazz Festival.
Pamela Williams - The Saxtress
Pamela Williams appeared at the 2014 Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival. She is a smooth jazz artist who was influenced by musicians of that genre like Grover Washington, Jr. Her first album in 1996, "The Saxtress," went to the top of the Billboard charts. Since then she has been a steady presence on the smooth jazz scene recording more than
8 CD's. Her latest CD is Chameleon.
- Here she appears Live at the Platinum Stage.