Beth Duncan - Jazz Vocalist
Beth Duncan – Bio
“As a little kid, my older brother loved jazz. He painted his room black, banged on bongos, and I could hear Brubeck, Davis, Getz, Tormé wafting down the hall from his room. That music was a siren song that eventually led me to the path I'm on, singing what I was born to sing: jazz.”
Beth Duncan is an American jazz singer from Sacramento, California.
She sang early and often: school singing club, musical theater, church choir. From the beginning, though, she knew she was destined to be a solo artist. In her 20s, through a chance encounter, Beth was offered the opportunity to work with one of the best vocal coaches in the biz, Judy Davis. Ms. Davis not only imparted technique but also instilled in Beth the conviction that for her, it was all about music.
During her twenties and early thirties, Beth honed her chops as lead singer in a number of successful cover bands, belting out Rock and Roll, R&B & and top-40. It was a blast, yes, but something was missing. Expected to sing the same tunes, in the same way, night after night did not leave her an opening to expand, to improvise, to find her unique voice.
Duncan developed nodes and life took a minor detour. A jazz drummer friend brought her into a local radio station where he worked as a programmer. Beth’s rich voice lent itself well to reading the news, and eventually, a career in radio blossomed, covering the spectrum of broadcast journalism, including stints as a reporter, anchor, news director, and managing editor.
In 2001 Beth plunged back into the music scene. She hired a band – the best musicians around – and put on a concert to celebrate her 50th birthday. The program was jazz and only jazz. And the response from her friends, family, and co-workers was so positive, it sealed the deal. Beth was on track. In 2005 she put out her first album, Orange Color Sky (2005), a collection of standards sung with passion and style.
Duncan followed it up with a second album, Comes The Fall (2012) and with it established herself as a first-rate jazz vocalist. The album debuted at #26 on CMJ’s jazz top 40 charts, just below Diana Krall, and received top honors in the 12th annual Independent Music Awards. It enjoyed extensive airplay on over a hundred stations nationally and internationally. The album’s mix of inventively reworked standards and several new originals by composer, Martine Tabilio, struck a chord with jazz audiences around the world. Beth’s gorgeous voice, confident interpretation, her wide range and ability to nail each interval, are matched by her finely honed sensitivity to lyrics, constant creativity, and swinging style.
The success of Comes The Fall led to Beth's latest album, I'm All Yours, which is due for release this summer. The album will be the result of what Duncan views as a three-way collaboration. The entire album is comprised of originals – music and lyrics – by Martine Tabilio, arranged with originality, wit and exquisite musicality by sought out composer/arranger/sax player and educator, Jacam Manricks.
The project is one of the last albums recorded at the iconic Fantasy Recording Studios in Berkeley.
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