The California Jazz Arts Society
Claremont Presbyterian Performing Arts Series
Former Vocalist with Sergio Mendez
1111 NORTH MOUNTAIN AVE. CLAREMONT, CA 91711
THE CALIFORNIA JAZZ ARTS SOCIETY
Sunday, April 14
7:00 to 9:30
ALL ABOUT ANDY
Music has been coursing through smoldering jazz vocalist Andy James’ being since she was a little girl. Twice blessed as a gifted singer and dancer, Andy decided her showbiz act one would be a career as a world-class Flamenco dancer, collaborating with the milieu’s most exceptional. Now, she announces, act two, a career as a stunning jazz singer with an irresistible 40s swing-style debut album, Caravan.
“My father loved dancing, my mother love singing, and I loved my father,” says the Las Vegas and LA-based singer, laughing playfully, acknowledging her respect and affection for both her parents. “I sang as a child, but I went back and forth between singing and dance. Both my parents were always encouraging. My mother was a jazz singer, so that was close to her heart.”
Despite stints singing in a rock band (The Late Late Show), and playing bass professionally (the Australian Tour production of The Rocky Horror Picture), it’s Andy’s gifts as a dancer that first thrust her into the public spotlight. In this realm, she had an inter-continental career, first dancing Flamenco in Australia, and, later, in Madrid, alongside the greatest Flamenco artists of the day, including Antonio Canales, Rafael Amargo, and Paco de Lucia. “Flamenco is based on feeling complex offbeat and synchronized rhythms, and I think that prepared me for singing jazz melodies,”
With the release of her first CD, Caravan, Andy emerged a fully formed artist and, on the strength of her talents, has been able to work with a diverse list of industry heavyweights, including mix and mastering engineer Josh Connolly (Justin Bieber, Santana, Pharell Williams); platinum mastering engineer Bernie Grundman (Carol King, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Prince); in-demand producer Piero Pata; noted vocal producer Zeffin Quinn Hollis ( Les Misérables, The Fantasticks, and Company); and big band jazz icon, Grammy Award-winner and Emmy-nominee Bill Cunliffe.
Charles McNeal, alto
Bruce Lett, bass
Larry’s accomplishments include two award-winning, world jazz releases First Move and View From Afar (LarrySteen.com) – solo projects which feature Ernie Watts, Dave Weckl, Robben Ford and Russell Ferrante. He has also recorded on a plethora of other artists’ albums, as well as for film, TV and radio, including the nationally syndicated, radio show Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. In addition, he has performed with world-renown artists Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester and Jimmy Buffet, among others. Larry’s formal education includes a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS), as well as a Bachelor of Music from the University of Miami after attending the Berklee College of Music. He is a first place winner of the esteemed International Society of Bassists’ Jazz Competition.
Nikki has contributed lead and background vocals for countless bands and productions – both live and in studio settings, has sung and danced in many large-scale musical theater productions, performed in multiple lounges, restaurants and private parties locally, and has toured Europe, the South Pacific and the Caribbean making music. Her career evolved out of extensive training and work not only as a vocalist, but as an actress and dancer in Los Angeles. She is a long-time member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity with numerous film and television credits, earned a scholarship from the popular and prestigious Duprée Dance Academy in Los Angeles and has segued that expertise and other training into work in the fitness industry (Steenfit.me). Sip of Soul is her first self-produced project, and she is thrilled to collaborate with her husband, bassist Larry Steen, arranging, writing and making music that comes from the “soul.”