Whitney James - Tribute to Gershwin

The Lake Wales Arts Council is excited to kick off our 2019-2020 Concert Series with jazz vocalist extraordinaire Whitney James and her all-star jazz band for her tribute to George and Ira Gershwin. The concert will take place on Saturday, October 12th at 6 PM at the Lake Wales Arts Center. We hope to see you there for an incredible evening of Gershwin’s greatest hits.

Jazz Vocalist Whitney James pairs incredible vocal skill with intimate, meaningful interpretations.  She brings flawless intonation, a broad range of colors and an instrumentalist’s sensibility to the bandstand.  Her polished musicianship, sense of phrasing and time make her a consummate musician’s singer—she knows how to work with a band, instead of asking it to merely back her. 

Music has been a part of Whitney’s life since she was a little girl growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It started with family musicals she staged with her sister, then dance lessons, acting, musical theatre and eventually classical voice lessons.  After hearing recordings of Sarah Vaughan, James got hooked jazz.  Her interest in jazz singing led her to Seattle to study at Cornish College of the Arts.  It was at Cornish where she completed her Bachelor Degree in Music.  She also had the opportunity to work with master jazz vocalists Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Nancy King.  While in Seattle, Whitney worked in a number of rewarding and exciting musical settings.  She opened for jazz legends Nina Simone and Betty Carter and pop giants Earth Wind & Fire and Macy Gray.  She was also the voice of numerous radio station jingles and commercials that aired all over Europe and The United States.   

In 2007, Whitney made the move to the East Coast, splitting her time between New York City and Florida.  Her 2010 debut CD — The Nature of Love — featuring trumpet great Ingrid Jensen, received rave reviews from US and International Jazz Press and spent 16 weeks on the Jazz Radio Charts.  In 2012, James was chosen by pianist and jazz legend Marian McPartland as one of the top twelve rising stars in the world of jazz.  She was featured on Marian McPartland’s radio show Piano Jazz Rising Stars on NPR hosted by Jon Weber.  In recent years, she has had the pleasure to perform at The Clearwater Jazz Holiday, numerous sold out shows at The Palladium and as a lead singer for The Florida Bjorkestra.  Most notably she opened for jazz great Kurt Elling and performed in a joint-lead concert with jazz legend Dick Hyman. 

Whitney joined NPR Station WUSF in 2014 as the first woman to work as an on-air DJ for All Night Jazz.  Whitney is constantly trying to better herself, deepen her musical understanding and enrich her work as a musician and singer.  To this end, this fall Whitney began pursuing a Masters Degree in Music and Vocal Jazz Performance at the University of North Texas.  Whatever the setting, Whitney James brings pure jazz and pure joy to her listening audience.