Jeri Brown

Jeri Brown was born in Missouri, and has been singing publicly from the age of six. It was in Iowa, on a four-year scholarship, that she studied classical voice under the direction of Frank Summerside. As a result of student performances in the mid-western U.S. and Europe, (Sweden, Germany, Norway and Holland), her voice caught the attention of musical directors and composers looking for an imaginative voice with incredible range effortlessly creating aesthetic touches to their contemporary or avant-garde works. Along with performances with the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Jeri began performing more stylistic renditions of standards from theatre, film and pop culture. Drummer and renowned bandleader Bob McKee, former percussionist on the successful Mike Douglas television series, invited Jeri to become lead singer in several of his combos in Ohio. This exposure and training led to performances with many renowned artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Billy Taylor and Dizzy Gillespie. Jeri Brown then rapidly moved into the front rank of jazz vocalists from the Cleveland area. Besides focusing on classic jazz standards, she developed as an accomplished lyricist, recitalist, concert soloist and recording artist, and has become one of the world's most respected jazz vocalists. She has written and recorded lyrics in collaboration with such composers as Henry Butler, Kenny Wheeler, Cyrus Chestnut, Avery Sharpe and Greg Carter. Her first-rate recorded vocal improvisations of contemporary jazz with Kenny Wheeler, Fred Hersch and D.D. Jackson, as well as her choral arrangements of Abdullah Ibrahim and Jimmy Rowles compositions have won Jeri special recognition as an arranger. A familiar figure in Europe these days, Jeri Brown performs a large repertoire of classic jazz selections including those of Ellington, Gershwin, Legrand and Porter. On the concert platform, she appears frequently with her own European trio, featuring pianists Alain Jean-Marie or Moncef Genoud, on stages throughout Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. She is as comfortable in front of the camera as she is in the recording studio, thereby bringing her music to significant audiences both in and outside the perimeters of jazz. Jeri's voice can be described as three-dimensional. To the up and down (a four octave range), she adds an in and out, a plasticity of dynamics stretched and deepened by changes of vowel and tonal color, from breathy contralto to high flute-like tones. Jeri has received four stars, the highest rating, to both Unfolding: The Peacocks and A Timeless Place from the Penguin Guide to Jazz. Beyond the realm of music, Jeri Brown holds several degrees in such fields as Counseling, Education and English. Such diversity of studies, along with a growing performance record, has led Jeri into many different teaching opportunities, including the Oberlin Conservatory Of Music, Cleveland State University and The University Of Akron - all in Ohio. Jeri has also taught at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and has held several teaching positions in Canada, including Concordia University, where she is a tenured faculty member, and McGill University, both in Montreal, Québec, and at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University. Quotes "Jeri Brown has a unique and definitive interpretation of vocal jazz music. Feelings produced while performing with Jeri were extremely rewarding." - Avery Sharpe "Jeri Brown is a rare breed, who can not only produce a wonderful sound, which is expected from a singer, but can also be extremely creative and has the audacity to musically understand all that she is doing." - Rufus Reid "She is a hard worker, destined for great things in the future." - Ellis Marsalis "Jeri Brown has it all - adventurous spirit, superb musicianship, and technique to spare." - Fred Hersch "Jeri is a singer of remarkable range - she can negotiate four octaves effortlessly, most singers work with an octave and a half or two at the most - and inventive ingenuity...a gifted singer." - Gene Lees "Jeri Brown is a great musician. Like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, she uses her voice with great imagination and creativity. Her expertise and training have helped her shape a personal style that is passionate and exciting." - Dr. Billy Taylor "She's outstanding...she has a really pretty voice...I don't normally like scat singers, those scooby-doo people, but she does something different with it." - Jimmy Rowles