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BIO

Janet's talent for singing jazz was first recognized over 25 years ago by world-renowned bassist Cleveland ("Cleve") Eaton, who immediately hired her as a singer after his wife Myra handed him her demo. 


Born into a musical family, Janet began  jazz and ballet lessons at the age of 2, classical piano at age 6, and singing by age 10.  She credits her sense of swing, great ears and pitch to her father, a jazz drummer, who also provided elementary drum lessons.  She grew up hearing live jazz played by her father and his musician friends at gigs (and on Sunday afternoon at home!) As a child, she sharpened her singing skills by singing in church choir. Artists with diverse styles, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, influenced her early love for the music.  By age 17, she had landed her first role in community musical theatre. In her 20s she took up jazz piano, learning music theory.  In her 30s, she realized that singing jazz had been her calling all along.  Along the way on this journey, she was fortunate to hear live performances by jazz masters such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Oscar Peterson. 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.  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.  She studied music theory with Hampton Reese, arranger for B. B. King.    Janet is a member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and is dedicated to the cause of jazz education.   Through JEN she maintains friendships with a network of jazz artists worldwide and benefits from continuing musical education.  


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