Al Jarreau, Janis Siegel, Gretchen Parlato, WBGO’s Gary Walker and Larry Rosen to Choose Winner of the SASSY Award
Newark, NJ: In 1942, a teenage Sarah Vaughan won the Apollo Theater’s amateur singing competition in a performance that was a launching pad for a career that transformed one of America’s original art forms and elevated the craft of jazz vocal music. Last year, Cyrille Aimee focused the world on vocal jazz in Newark again as the first-ever winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, part of the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival. For the second installment of the awards, a distinguished panel of musicians, music industry executives, NJPAC leadership and online voters culled through hundreds of submissions from the around the globe, including United States, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Luxembourg, Belgium, Hungary and Canada, to choose five finalists and a “Rising Star” for the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, the largest competition of its kind in the world.
Online voters listened to songs submitted to the contest over 100, 000 times. Today, NJPAC, JAZZ ROOTS™ and WBGO Jazz 88.3 announced the five competition finalists who will perform in front of an iconic panel of judges and a live NJPAC Victoria Theater audience on November 10, 2013 at 3pm. The finalists are competing for a chance to win the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition SASSY AWARD, a $5, 000 prize. The first runner-up will win $1, 500, the second runner-up $500. The Competition and final performance are produced by award-winning producer Larry Rosen and powered by Indaba Music (IndabaMusic.com), the leading online community of musicians and marketplace for music opportunities.
Judging the finals at the performance will be seven-time GRAMMY Award-winner Al Jarreau, GRAMMY Award-winning singer with the Manhattan Transfer Janis Siegel, Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition-winner Gretchen Parlato, WBGO Jazz 88.3FM music director Gary Walker, and producer of JAZZ ROOTS and co-founder of GRP Records, Larry Rosen.
Through three preliminary rounds, public voting on the IndabaMusic.com website (with nearly 2, 500 votes cast), jazz vocalists, members of the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and Larry Rosen narrowed down the field to five finalists in an effort to discover vocalists who embody Sarah Vaughan with swinging, thought-provoking and inspiring performances reflecting their own understanding of the work. Contestants were judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation and ability to swing.
The finalists: Teira Church, a native of Los Angeles, is a senior at UCLA, where she studies jazz voice in the Herb Alpert School of Music's ethnomusicology department. In 2007, she placed second in the National Association for Negro Musicians' Scholarship Competition, and the following year enrolled at Hamilton High School's Music Academy where she joined its award-winning vocal jazz ensemble. Teira was the only female popular music vocalist in the nation selected for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts' Young Artist 2010 competition. She received the Bronze medal in the popular voice category and was a semi-finalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts
Lydia Harrell (aka The Lovely Singer) has performed with the Boston Pops and sang the National Anthem for the Boston Celtics. Consistently singing in more than 150 shows a year, this Bostonian sings in all different styles and settings. In addition to her own bands, Lovely Singer and Platinum, Lydia provides back-up vocals for the Steely Dan tribute band No Static. In 2011, she was selected over 200 talented singers by Sony Music Latin to provide lead vocals for the Bob Marley tribute album, “One Love.” In 2012, she released her EP “The Way.”
Jazzmeia Horn was last year’s “Rising Star” winner of Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. From Dallas, Texas, she attended the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She currently attends The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City and has performed with artists such as Ali Jackson, Vincent Gardner and NEA Jazz Masters Jon Hendricks, Ellis Marsalis, and Delfeayo Marsalis. Her soulful sound and understanding of the jazz idiom has earned her comparisons of classic vocalists, like Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, and Teri Thornton.
Barbra Lica was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She discovered jazz for the first time at the age of six while shuffling through her dad’s CD collection and immediately began to sing along to the music of Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. In 2012, Barbra's debut album, “That's What I Do, ” was released with a live-to-air concert celebration on Toronto’s Jazz.FM91. She performs regularly in the Greater Toronto area, presenting a wide repertoire of both jazz standards and original music, and was recently named one of Canada’s top five female jazz singers by CBC radio.
Camille Thurman is a saxophonist, flutist, vocalist, composer and educator. She has performed with jazz and R&B greats such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Chaka Khan, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Stephanie Mills, Russell Malone, Nicholas Payton, George Benson, Yolanda Adams, Bebe Winans, Lew Tabackin, Alicia Keys, India Arie, Dave Valentin, Anthony Hamilton, Eric Benet, Brandy, Missy Elliot and others. Camille leads her own quartet, which has performed at The Kennedy Center, the International Women in Jazz Festival, the Super Jazz Ashdod Israel Festival, The Jazz Gallery and other jazz venues around the world.
Rising Star Award
Each year one outstanding young artist is chosen as a Rising Star. The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition Rising Star award was created for the purpose of discovering young talented jazz vocal artists that deserve wider recognition and mentoring in their career as a jazz singer, while keeping in the tradition of Sarah Vaughan.
Kate Davis is originally from Portland, OR, where she received national recognition in high school for bass and singing through the National Young Arts Program. She is a recipient of four Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, a double invitee to the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, and bassist in the Grammy Jazz Ensemble. In 2009, she was selected as a Presidential Scholar of the Arts. ASCAP selected Kate to attend the prestigious 2012 ASCAP Foundation Paul Cunningham writing workshop, where she was the recipient of the Robert Allen award for her original song, “Movie.”
NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber, who presented Vaughan at dozens of domestic and international jazz festivals through the years, said: “Sarah Vaughan was nothing less than a game changer for jazz vocalists. What better place than Newark, N.J., Sarah Vaughan's hometown, to find the next game changer? We are proud to be hosting and presenting this competition that will give up-and-coming talents a world-class showcase.”
The Sarah Vaughan vocal competition now known as the SASSY AWARD is a one of a kind competition that has as its core the mission to find the greatest female jazz vocalists in the world, said producer Larry Rosen. Last year our winner, Cyrille Aimee, emerged as a world class artist. This year we have an equally exciting group of finalists and I'm sure that a future jazz star will be discovered."
“Connecting this competition to one of the most influential vocalists of our genre, especially given that she is from the very city that we also call home, is very meaningful to WBGO” said Amy Niles, Acting President and CEO of WBGO. “Sarah Vaughan always places among the top of our listener’s choice polls and we look forward to the day when a winner of this competition might also become a mainstay of our programming.”
Sarah Vaughan Vocal Scholarship Residency
Sarah Vaughan is known around the world as the songstress who transformed America’s original art form, elevated the craft of jazz vocal music and garnered the respect and adoration of millions. But once upon a time, she was just another high school student, walking the halls of Arts High School in Newark, NJ.
In tribute to that girl and her legendary contributions to jazz, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce it will continue the Sarah Vaughan Vocal Scholarship Residency, a six-week program to take place this spring at Arts High School. Sixteen “Sarah Vaughan Vocal Scholars” will be chosen from among Arts High vocal students to participate in this 12-session residency, where they will conduct an in-depth study of Vaughan's unique talent, style and legacy.
Participating students will study vocal technique and interpretation as well as song styling and piano. The residency will also include and exploration of jazz history through listening, video, lecture, and special guests.
The competition is part of The TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival, a celebration of jazz and the musical legacy of longtime Newarker and beloved jazz saxophonist and composer James Moody. Presented by NJPAC and WBGO Jazz88.3FM, the Moody Festival will run from November 4-10th at NJPAC and in other venues around the region.
The Festival’s centerpiece events include two star-studded concerts: An evening of hot samba, smooth bossa nova and more of the very best Latin jazz with Brazilian music legend Sérgio Mendes and special guests Eliane Elias, Lee Ritenour, Marivaldo Dos Santos, and Joe Lovano (Nov. 8) and Sing, Swing, Sing featuring Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Jeffrey Osborne, Gerald Albright, Cyrille Aimee, the Christian McBride Big Band and vocalist Melissa Walker.
The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition is presented as part of NJPAC’s JAZZ ROOTS series with producer Larry Rosen. The TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival’s title sponsor is TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, and is sponsored, in part, by The Prudential Foundation, Verizon, Audible.com, The Women’s Association of NJPAC, PSEG and Whole Foods.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over 6 million visitors (more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.
JAZZ ROOTS - A Larry Rosen Jazz Series is a concert and educational program created for performing arts centers across America. The JAZZ ROOTS series, now celebrating its 5th Anniversary, was first launched in 2008 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, the series debuted in 2009 in Dallas at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, in 2010 in Carmel, IN. at the Center for the Performing Arts, and in 2012 debuts in Las Vegas at the Smith Center, in Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Centre, and in New Jersey at NJPAC, with additional PACs to be announced. Artists presented include: Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Keith Jarrett, Bobby McFerrin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Al Di Meola, Ramsey Lewis, Sergio Mendes, Michael Feinstein, Terence Blanchard, David Sanborn, Paquito D'Rivera, John McLaughlin, Patti Austin, Count Basie Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentin, The Machito Orchestra, Ivan Lins, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Manhattan Transfer, Jon Hendricks, Dave Grusin, Jon Secada, Eddie Palmieri, Michel Camilo, and many more. The JAZZ ROOTS series includes educational and outreach programs that organically connect to local community groups, art centers, and the local board of education. Mr. Rosen, co-founder of GRP Records is the award-winning producer of the PBS TV Series LEGENDS OF JAZZ, producer of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, and is the creator and producer of RECORDING: The History of Recorded Music with hosts, Quincy Jones and Phil Ramone.
Indaba Media, LLC is an entertainment technology and marketing services company. Established in 2005, the company operates Indaba Music (www.indabamusic.com), a musician community and contest platform with over 750, 000 independent artists, as well as Indaba Sync (www.indabasync.com), a portal for licensing the best emerging content from the Indaba Music community. Indaba Music pioneered the online music collaboration and community space when it launched in 2007, enabling anyone with internet access to create, edit and mix studio-quality music online. Indaba Music now provides musicians with opportunities ranging from remix contests to sync and licensing opportunities to branded marketing programs. Indaba Music currently boasts musicians from 205 countries and territories. To date, Indaba Music contests have featured artists and brands including Daft Punk, Red Bull, Snoop Dogg, Peter Gabriel, Linkin Park, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, Foster The People, Bacardi and Usher.
Jazz Education Network (JEN)
The Jazz Education Network (JEN) is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. With a home base in the United States and members in more than 20 countries, this thriving organization hosts a popular annual conference that serves teachers, students, artists, performing arts presenters, music industry partners, and more. It runs ongoing programs of scholarships for students and educators, student composition showcases, community outreach, music and instrument donations to schools in need, and mentoring between jazz pros and students. www.jazzednet.org/