I had previously sung in a new wave band (Enigma) with my brother Richard back in the early ’80s, but for Laura—who had sung choral music in college—this was her first foray into the pop music scene. I soon discovered that my baby sister had a real talent, not just for singing, but also for composing innovative and melodious harmonies for the songs I wrote for the band.
The group eventually broke up, but the two of us continued singing—both joining the choruses of our local community colleges (Laura left Santa Cruz to pursue her masters in French at San Jose State). As regular readers of this blog know, I still sing alto with the Cabrillo Chorus. For several years, Laura too sang alto—with the De Anza chorus (where she now teaches)—but then a few years ago, she took a jazz singing class at De Anza.
She was hooked from day one.
Since that fateful day, jazz singing—both as a solo voice and as part of an ensemble—has become Laura’s passion and vocation. She has studied with the accomplished musician, clinician and instructor Roger Letson, has sung with the elite six-part ensemble Vocal Flight (which has garnered 10 DownBeat magazine student music awards), and has been a participant at jazz-singing clinics in France.
Laura in Paris, learning a chart with guitarist Aliocha Thévenet
(you can tell they're speaking French from the position of their mouths)
Several years ago, Laura started performing as a solo jazz vocalist around the Bay Area, including gigs at Tarragon in Sunnyvale, Sumika in Los Altos, and the Octavia Lounge in San Francisco.
I am so proud of my sister. She was always a terrific singer, and has a remarkable ear. But of late, I’m also noticing a level of nuance and control that only the best vocalists possess. Here are a couple of YouTube clips (from a recent concert at Sumika) of Laura singing “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry” (Styne-Cahn), and “Little Did I Dream” (Frishberg-Mandel).
And now the big news: Laura is going to record a CD! Robin and I (and no doubt other of her fans) are thrilled, as we have been encouraging her to do so for several years now. Her plan it to go into the studio after she gets back from a jazz clinic in Crest, France, late this summer.
Don’t worry: I’ll keep you updated, and when the CD is done, will give you info on how to purchase copies.