"For an R&B vocalist to capture your attention even before you capture the melody is a testament to the strength and full bodied presence of that vocalist. Newcomer Gianna Welling, aka Gianna is such a vocalist" is what Ronald Jackson of smoothvibes.com says of this Tulsa, Oklahoma native. The daughter of a professional bass player and arranger, Gianna has always had music pumping through her veins. She was raised on the sweet and smooth sounds of Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Roberta Flack. This girl has soul in her soul!
Educated at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Gianna quickly became a hot item as a session singer for some of the top recording artists and producers (Wynona Judd, Dolly Parton, Disney Productions). After spending time in Nashville, Gianna had the opportunity to move to Houston, TX to begin working as a session and jingle singer. She quickly became one of the most recognized and sought after Jazz /Soul/R&B vocalists in the Houston area. The Houston Chronicle described Gianna as having "the look of a star in the making". High praise indeed.
In 2007, Gianna was turned on to the sound of brothers Kendall and Kelvis Duffie, the Soul/R&B duo Kloud 9. Their music and Kendall’s formidable credentials and track record as a producer(Incognito, The Isley Brothers, Maysa, Vickie Yohe) paralleled with Gianna’s musical aspirations. Immediately a meeting was set and this fateful meeting began the collaboration of Gianna’s first full record, "Something True", (Expansion Records, London) co written and produced by Kendall Duffie. The acclaimed album debuted in 2009 at #12 on the UK soul chart and quickly rose to #5. By the end of the year, "Something True" and 2 singles from the album ended up on 3 of the UK's "best of 2009" charts. Songs from the album are still in heavy rotation and the remixes continue to be dance floor fillers. "Something True has unquestionably emerged as one of 2009's best received releases within today's ever discerning modern soul fraternity", Peter Lewis, Blues and Soul Magazine
More recently, Gianna has unplugged and stripped down on a new acoustic soul/jazz/folk project. She is collaborating with song writer guitarist Kenny Cordray (Jaco Pastorius, David Foster, Jerry Lee Lewis, and writer of the ZZ Top smash hit "Francine") and song writer drummer/percussionist/guitarist Todd Harrison (Kirk Whalum, Joshua Redman, Clark Terry, and drummer for the US Army Jazz Ambassadors). Gianna's thought provoking lyrics, paired with the contemplative melodies and stellar grooves of Harrison and Cordray, are proving to be her most innovative songwriting thus far. This group has a sound that truly sets them above the rest. In the end, however, there is no denying that it is Gianna's superb vocal performances that move audiences of all ages and stages of life.
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The Jazz Network is exactly what the title suggests, a place where you get to mix and mingle with those who have not only an appreciation for Jazz but a forum to hear new up and coming artists as well. I've hooked up with so many of my old friends that I've lost contact with over the years here and it's been a great place to meet folk, appreciate good music and Musicianship. What an incredible idea!!
The great composer and bandleader was distraught over the 1967 death of Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years. But Ellington took Strayhorn's passing as an impetus, born of necessity, to increase his own productivity. Here are five examples.
At the Village Vanguard, one flight down from the hubbub of New York City, in a tight space packed with people, we're about to embark on a musical odyssey by sea. Our captain is saxophonist Chris Potter, who's launching his Odyssey-inspired album The Sirens.
Divine: The Jazz Albums, 1954-1958 packs four CDs with Vaughan's music, recorded live or in the studio with bands big and small. Two live albums from Chicago nightclubs are standouts, partly when a performance threatens to slide off the rails.