Endowed with the kind of liquid phrasing and sheer wisdom that comes from depth of experience on the jazz performance campaign trail, Vanessa Rubin is an ever-evolving classic singer. The development of a true jazz singer is a long-range prospect, laden with learning experiences that forge the voice into a true instrument, rich with passion, deeply invested in living through life’s joys and perils; such is the journey of Vanessa Rubin, jazz singer extraordinaire. Capable of employing the gamut of emotions, the mature Ms. Rubin can range from whisper to shout in the blink of an eye; from honey-laden ballads purring like a kitten, to up tempo swinging and scatting like a fluent saxophone, she delivers the goods.
One of the surest tests of a jazz singer is her acceptance by skilled players; the relationship between instrumentalist and vocalist is so often fraught with distrust. Vanessa Rubin has never experienced such travails. From the time she joined the New York jazz community in the early 80s, under the guidance of such grandmasters as Barry Harris and Frank Foster, Rubin’s acceptance has been universal. Instrumentalists have always been impressed by her way around a song, her willingness to flow with their muse, and her innate ability to swing that music.
The list of great musicians who have graced her recordings and bandstands is quite impressive: Monty Alexander, Cecil Bridgewater, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, Billy Higgins, Etta Jones, Lewis Nash, Houston Person, Patience Higgins, Don Braden, Toots Thielemans, Steve Turre, Cedar Walton, Grover Washington, Jr., and James Williams are just a few of the masters who’ve lent their skills to support Ms. Rubin’s artistry. More recently she has completed auspicious global tours with Herbie Hancock, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Jazz Crusaders.