Janet's talent for singing jazz was first recognized by world-renowned bassist Cleveland ("Cleve") Eaton, who immediately hired her as a singer after his wife Myra handed him her demo. She credits vocalists Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae as major musical influences.  

Janet has studied music and dance throughout life, starting jazz and ballet lessons at the age of 2, classical piano at age 6, and singing by age 10. Her father, a jazz drummer, provided elementary drum lessons. By age 17, she landed her first role in community musical theatre. In her 20s she took up jazz piano, learning music theory. She also studied theory with Hampton Reese, arranger for B. B. King.  Since the 90s, Janet has used music technology extensively, especially Finale and Band in a Box.     

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.  Eaton provided valuable mentorship, as he has accompanied jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and many others.  She also appeared in the premiere production of the musical "Tuxedo Junction", with bandleader and trumpeter Erskine Hawkins.   

Janet has 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 Jazz Education Network (JEN) and is dedicated to the cause of jazz education.   

Janet’s 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's influence.  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, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, influenced her love for the music. 

Janet has a B.A. in Journalism and a Master of Library Science from the University of Alabama and has taken graduate level courses in law and education. She enjoys her retirement, as it gives her an opportunity to continue learning and teaching others.

Janet Stevenson

Janet Stevenson