Katy Free is an incredibly busy jazz artist who hosts Katy Free’s weekly Singers Series at The Red Piano Lounge in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her multifaceted musical experience and versatile voice make her well equipped for many types of music and performance. Her specialty is taking songs from every genre and creating jazz stylings with her velvet voice that will reach out and wrap itself around you.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Jeanine Fuller is a transplant to Knoxville, Tennessee. She is a seasoned and versatile vocalist in many genres, with Jazz being her great love. In previous years past, she worked mostly as a touring vocalist, including the opportunity to work with long time idol, 5 time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves. Knoxville has provided a “re-invention” of sorts for Jeanine and you can find her performing around town in local venues like The Red Piano Lounge with very accomplished local artists and musicians.
Lettie Andrade De La Torre is a classical and jazz singer from Niceville, Florida, who landed in Knoxville to complete her dual Masters degree in music at The University of Tennessee. Her professional career singing Jazz began when she joined The Ensemble Swing Time (EST) in 2011. She continues to sing with the EST regularly and occasionally appears as a guest singer with The Oak Ridge Community Concert Band, The Maryville Concert Band, and the Scruffy City Jazz Band. Solo performances include the CCA Music Festival at the Clayton Center in Maryville and most recently The Mighty Musical Monday at the Tennessee Theater. Her desire is not only to bring jazz music to large events like the Rossini Festival but also to serve her community at smaller venues. She sings regularly at Assisted Living Communities around Knoxville and Maryville as well as non-profits like Lost Sheep Ministries.
Knoxville jazz guitarist, singer and band leader Kukuly Uriarte performs Hot Jazz inspired by the legendary French guitarist Django Reinhardt. Her band Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego have gained much notoriety performing at numerous events and venues in the Knoxville area. In addition she also performs South American folk music and engages on teaching children about Hispanic culture through music and song.
Sarah Clapp’s professional vocal career began in 1998, at the Knoxville Museum of Art’s cabaret shows, including “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “Sophisticated Ladies: A Duke Ellington Review.” Since that time, Sarah has performed regularly at Knoxville area jazz clubs combining jazz, pop, soul, and original compositions. Notable performing endeavors include: featured performer in the “Cotton Patch Gospel” at the Bijou Theater; the role of Audrey in Pellissippi State’s “Little Shop of Horrors”; former member of the bands Same As It Ever Was and Pulse; appearances on the WDVX “Tennessee Shines” radio program; winner of the 2012 Mountain Soul Vocal Competition in Sevierville; performer in the 2013 KJO Jazz Lunch Series featuring Ella Fitzgerald; guest on WUOT’s “The Flipside”; 2015 headliner at the Square Room performing her original compositions along with a Valentine’s show co-headlining with Robinella Bailey. All the while Sarah has been a part of the Cokesbury United Methodist Church contemporary band and songwriting team for nearly 20 years. She has her Masters Degree in Counseling, and lives in Fountain City with her rockin’ New York husband, astute 6 year-old son, brazen two-year-old daughter, and tolerant smoky gray cat.
Knoxville native and UT School of Music alum Yasameen Hoffman Shahin has been wowing audiences with her unique brand of sass and soul for her entire life. Whether enthralling a crowd with a powerful mezzo, making them dance as the new age embodiment of ’70s funk, or by simply charming them with a smile, Yaz has lent her talents to some of Knoxville’s most popular acts. An expert musician with an ear for harmony she also commands the stage with a larger than life presence that has endeared her to fans from all walks of life. As the frontwoman and lead vocalist for Electric Darling she has quickly built a name for herself as a musical force in the southeast, and one to be reckoned with both home and abroad.
Deidre Ford is a freelance woodwind and vocal performer from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She is the director of the Ensemble Swing Time, a seventeen piece big band from Knoxville with which she also sings and plays bari sax. She regularly performs in local pit orchestras as a woodwind doubler and appears as a featured vocalist with other local swing and jazz bands.
With a rich and emphatic voice that is instantly recognizable, Dara Tucker has managed to catch the ear of several prominent figures in music such as Grammy Award Winning Vocalist Cassandra Wilson and master organist and bandleader Dr. Lonnie Smith. Tucker’s current CD The Sun Season and forthcoming 2016 project Oklahoma Rain showcase unique originals that blend the roots music tradition of jazz. singer songwriter, gospel, and Americana. Dara Tucker made her national television debut in July of 2015 on “The Tavis Smiley Show” on PBS and has won over audiences in the U.S. on such stages as The Blue Note (NYC), Smoke (NYC), San Jose Jazz Festival, The International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, CT) Snug Harbor (New Orleans) and Scullers (Boston.) In his description of Dara Tucker, The Wall Street Journal’s Marc Myers said, “I can’t remember the last time I heard a new vocalist who impressed me so completely as Tucker. She has a beautiful, soulful voice, and her original songs are honest and innocent personal expressions backed by languid arrangements and skilled playing.”
Evelyn Jack is the annual soloist for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (original Song by Hallerin H.Hill), the Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir, and the Rossini Festival. Her acting credits include productions by the Oak Ridge Playhouse, “Hairspray,” “The Wiz,” and The Wordplayers “A Woman Called Truth.” She is the first winner of The Annual George Spelvin,”Georgie”Award. Her jazz standards include: “When I Look in Your Eyes,” “Peel Me A Grape,” “Can’t Help Loving that Man Of Mine,” “Cry Me a River,” and “All of Me.”
Maria Williams is an amateur of music in the truest sense: a love for exploring music of all kinds has kept her occupied for nearly two decades on the Knoxville performing scene. As a musician, vocalist, and writer, she has taken part in projects including musical theatre, workshops for children, radio and television performances, and festivals throughout the region, in genres from bluegrass, old-time, and folk to blues, R&B, and alternative rock. Performing regularly with the LoneTones and the John Myers Band, Maria always strives to make room for new and stimulating musical experiences such as this project.
Christina Watson is a versatile vocalist and vocal coach based in Nashville, Tennessee. She is highly-trained and performs all genres, but she has always been enamored by America’s only true art form: jazz. She brings her quartet of world-class musicians to events in Nashville and beyond. Christina first thought of teaching French as a career, so she earned her BA (Centre College, 1995) and MA (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1998) in French Literature before deciding to follow her heart’s path. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2001 with a 4-year Professional Diploma in Vocal Performance (Magna Cum Laude) and went straight to Nashville to begin her life in music.
Vocalist Kelle Jolly is one of East Tennessee’s most celebrated jazz musicians. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan, as Knoxville’s Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events. Kelle Jolly is the host of Knoxville’s newest radio show on WUOT 91.9FM, “Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly,” an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz.
Consisting of five ladies, Venus was formed in 2009 while touring with Grammy-nominated artist Musiq Soulchild. On the rise to being Atlanta’s most popular female band, the ladies decided to take things a step further. They released the first single from their debut EP, Do You Hear, in 2013. This project included various styles ranging from R&B, gospel, and jazz. It was also arranged, produced by VENUS. Members of the band include: Tina Rose (Vox), Téja Veal (bass), Jennifer Bliss (guitar), J LaToiya (drums), and Tracyan Martin (keys). Collectively these ladies have honed their skills and developed an undeniable chemistry causing them to be internationally recognized.
Individually, the ladies have worked with various artists from Janelle Monae, Melanie Fiona, T-Pain, Kandi Burruss, Chandra Currelley, Canton Jones, Rizen, Frank McComb, and Syleena Johnson to name a few. Ultimately their goal is to inspire all aspiring women musicians and be the true testament that it’s possible to be relevant and respected in this industry by sheer hard work.