Janetís passion for the music is shaped by a lifetime of listening and performing. Born into a musical family, she credits her sense of swing, great ears and pitch to her father, a jazz drummer. Growing up hearing live jazz played by her father and his friends every Sunday afternoon at home, she was exposed to her father's collection of records and jazz radio. Artists with diverse styles, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, influenced her love for the music.
She began dance lessons at the tender age of 2, learned to sing in church and elementary school, and by age 18, she was singing and dancing in local musical theatre productions. Janet began playing piano at age 6, and one of her piano teachers was a classical piano virtuoso from Austria. She later studied jazz piano with jazz musician Cyndi Landers and music theory with Hampton Reese, arranger for B. B. King. In the 1990s, she took a course in Music Technology at UAB, learning to use computers to create her own notation and backing tracks. Janet also has a B.A. in Journalism and a Master of Library Science from the University of Alabama.
Janet's talent for singing jazz was first recognized by world-renowned bassist Cleveland ("Cleve") Eaton, and she began singing regularly both with Eaton's band and with other jazz musicians in Birmingham, Alabama. She credits vocalists Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae as major musical influences.
In addition to leading her own jazz quartet, she has performed with many notable jazz musicians, including Cleve Eaton, (former bassist with The Count Basie Orchestra and the Ramsey Lewis Trio). She also appeared in the musical "Tuxedo Junction", with bandleader and trumpeter Erskine Hawkins.
Janet studied jazz vocals with Anita Wardell (winner, BBC Best of Jazz), Sandy Cressman, Judy Niemack, and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Janet Lawson. She has also studied with Barry Harris, Ellis Marsalis, and David Amram. Janet is a member of the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and the Jazz Education Network and is dedicated to the cause of jazz education.
She currently resides in Florida, having recently relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, where she was the founder of the Dunwoody Jazz Society.
© Copyright 2012 Janet Stevenson
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