2021 Clinician Bios
Jazz vocalist Alexis Cole is known for [BIO].
What critics say about Alexis Cole:
“Exquisite” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“One of the great voices of today." —Jonathan Schwartz
“A deep contralto as smooth and dark as the richest espresso.” — Jazz Times
"A rising star in the jazz world.” —Hot House Magazine.
“Cole’s easy sense of swing is strongly reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan.”
—Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
“Here is the supreme stylist at the height of her powers…. The search for the next great jazz singer is over.”
—Kevin Jones, Fine Music (AUS), May 2018
“…A beguiling voice and charming…stage manner.”
— Ralph Miriello, Notes on Jazz blog, March 2018
“Cole…displays an exuberant personality, outstanding diction, flawless pitch, and inspired scat technique, all qualities that should place her in the highest echelon of contemporary jazz singers… (She can)…communicate an intimate mood with great passion.”
— Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online, March 2018
“A positively talented artist without doubt."
—Brian Robinson, Jazz Journal International (UK), April 2018
“I cannot praise the vocal efforts of Ms. Cole highly enough. She is fearless!”
—Saul Levine, PD, KJZZ- FM
“… Alexis is one of the most underrated singers in jazz. Fantastic voice with great tone and pitch, a strong swing beat, interpretation skills, range, and pacing. The total package singer.”
—Jae Sinnett, PD, WHRV-FM
Award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to ever hold a top-secret military clearance. A dozen albums into her critically acclaimed career, she may also be the best-kept secret in jazz, a status that’s certain to change as more people are discovering her for themselves.
The year 2009 was a big one for Alexis: She released her first albums on both Motéma Music and Venus Records… and went to Basic Training to prepare for her new job as a jazz singer for the US Army.
During her seven years in the Army’s Big Band, Cole had the opportunity to grow as a musician and a person, sharing the stage with ensembles as diverse as the New York Philharmonic and Kool and the Gang. Alexis continued recording throughout her tour of duty, releasing a string of well-received albums, including four titles for Venus, two for Motema, and two on Chesky Records. She proved her versatility on everything from jazz standards to Paul Simon’s lesser known compositions, to Disney love songs to a project on which she teamed up with a fellow serviceman 50 years her senior, the legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.
Though Alexis transformed into an insightful interpreter of jazz during her Army years, understandably, her personal advancements and achievements had to take a back seat to her military responsibilities.
Alexis has blossomed since leaving the service in 2016, trading her uniforms and fatigues for sleek cocktail dresses and chic hats, and focusing fully on her art. The singer’s career has taken on exciting new momentum, with recent accomplishments including gigs at celebrated venues like The Carlyle, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note; and performances as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Boston Pops and the Detroit Symphony. Alexis also recently contributed a guest turn on pianist Harold Mabern’s star-studded album Afro Blue, alongside the likes of fellow guests Norah Jones, Gregory Porter, and Jane Monheit.
On the education front, Alexis Cole recently founded the website JazzVoice.com, an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development workshops and private lessons with some of the top names in vocal jazz. She is in her 7th year as the director of the vocal program at the renowned conservatory at SUNY Purchase, and is a Jamey Aebersold-sponsored clinician.
Alexis Cole’s freshly reclaimed civilian status has opened a new world where her profound experience can meld more completely with her worldview and personal expression. As the noted jazz journalist Scott Yanow points out, “Alexis Cole grows in power, maturity, and depth each year. She continues to have unlimited potential.” Whether you’re a long-time jazz fan or a newcomer to the art form, you won’t want to miss a single note from this icon in-the-making.
Vocalist / Voice Teacher & Voice Coach / Yoga & Chakra Toning Practitioner
Linda Lewellyn has been singing and teaching voice in Boulder, Colorado for 28 years. Her teaching style is rooted in classical Bel Canto technique, but also very much influenced by years of singing soul/rock/pop/jazz in front of a band at local concerts and clubs! Linda holds 2 Bachelor of Arts Degrees from Naropa University in Music and in The Psychology of Health & Healing. She loves to help others find the beauty in their own voices and discover how wonderfully fun singing can be.
Vocalist / Composer / Dancer / Vocal Empowerment Coach
Amy Biondo specializes in Latin, jazz, pop, French, Brazilian, and more. Amy currently performs with the bands Amy Biondo Ensemble, Los Bohemios, and Milestone. Her voice is featured on Los Bohemios’ self-titled album and on countless studio projects as a backing vocalist. Amy also writes custom love songs for special events such as weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, and memorial services.
Amy has trained extensively in music and improvisation with Art Lande, Rhiannon, Mark Miller, Barbara Dilley, and others, and she holds a Master of Arts degree from Naropa University. But her greatest teacher has been in her own personal journey to find her voice. As a child and teenager, Amy suffered from such acute stage fright that she almost gave up performing for good. Finally, through a 20+ year journey, she healed her relationship with her voice by learning everything she could about the physiological process of stage fright, understanding shame and how it manifests in the creative process, identifying and overcoming her own triggers and responses, and developing the strength and flexibility of her voice.
Amy's unique approach to training the voice, using contemplative practices and improvisation to unleash the full power of the body and emotions of the student and integrate them into the voice, has made her a go-to vocal coach for those seeking a more holistic approach to vocal training. More information about Amy, including her online course, The World Needs Your Voice, can be found at https://www.amybiondo.com
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Greg Tanner Harris
Percussionist / Marimba & Vibes Player / Musicologist / Educator
Greg Tanner Harris plays guitar, vibes, marimbas and drums of all kinds, and has no limits on his musical styles: jazz, R&B, soul, funk, bluegrass.
Greg earned his BA degree in Music Education and Music Performance at Fort Lewis College in Durango, then continued his music education at CU Boulder, where he earned a Master of Music in music performance and percussion. Greg earned his Doctorate in music at CU Boulder as well, studying with Jeff Jenkins and Doug Walter.
During his tenure in Boulder, Greg picked up the vibes, and had the unexpected great fortune to meet African scholar Kwasi Ampene, who became his mentor and brought Greg to West Africa for an entire summer. Under Ampene's guidance, Greg learned Kpan Logo (drums), Gyil (a xylophone), Dundun (drums), Kalimba, and other instruments; this experience led him to recognize African music as the root of all music.
One day while working as a professional vibes player, Greg got a call from Pete Wernick, who was looking for a vibes player to come to Ireland with his bluegrass group Flexigrass. Through that tour, Greg became a part of the group and continues to play 8-10 gigs a year with Flexigrass, 18 years later. Stream “Pete Wernick & Flexigrass” and give them a listen. You’ll have fun!
Greg has 5 CDs out in his name: Glass Gold, Frames (recorded live), Memory of Pilots (featuring Ron Miles), and Open Space, all with his Greg Harris Vibes Quintet; and World Citizen with West African master xylophonist Aaron Bebe Sukura.
Greg was also a regular with the band SuperCollider, and has played piano all over Europe and drums in Africa. Locally, he plays vibes for many combos in all the metro area jazz clubs.
In addition, Greg has taught jazz and percussion for ten years at the Denver School of the Arts and is the piano professor at Red Rocks Community College. At CU Denver he teaches music production and drum sets. He is also on the faculty at CCJA and Rocky Ridge Music Center. Greg chooses to stay in Colorado for the richness of the music scene here, the teaching, and his pure love of Colorado.
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