JEN & JAZZ
"I. LOVE. JAZZ. I've always loved jazz. I can't help myself."
Jen began her musical training in classical piano as a youngster and then on to choral groups in Vancouver, WA where she grew up. Once she heard the Mountain View High School vocal jazz ensemble, the Mountain Express, that was it - she was hooked on jazz and determined to become a part of the highly respected choral group led by Janet Reiter. There, she began laying a foundation for jazz appreciation, performance, and life-long learning through festivals, workshops, and tours with the Mountain Express.
At the University of Washington, Jen had the privilege of singing with the University Chorale under the direction of Joan Conlon, where she further developed skills as a classical vocalist. The jazz bug never went away, though! Years later, she auditioned for a place in the Alto section with BlueStreet Jazz Voices, directed by Ken Wilson and band director Andy Carr, where her journey with jazz music continued, to her delight, tackling the most challenging and widely varied choral arrangements she had ever seen from sublime standards to pop, Broadway, and a host of other musical influences.
The BlueStreet experience challenged her to become a more nuanced and sophisticated jazz vocalist, and she made it her goal to always attempt to put forth something unique, to move beyond simply performing tunes or covers the way she had always heard them done by other artists and create something she could truly call her own. Now, she enjoys not only honoring a jazz standard, but interweaving other influences such as current pop hits, Broadway, 70's disco (yes, really) and more in unexpected yet tasteful ways to provide her listeners a diverse musical experience, while retaining the elements found in great jazz - SWING!, time, spontaneity, discipline, complexity, emotion...and fun.
As time goes on, Jen is adding more and more original arrangements to her book of music - but she will always surround these newfangled pieces with the rich heritage of jazz classics that stand the test of time. As a wise piano player once said to her,
"There's nothin' wrong with just killing a standard."