Joan Watson-Jones describes herself as an expressive storyteller. She only sings songs that mean a lot to her and she gives each one her own fresh interpretation filled with sincere emotions and understanding.
Born in New York, she grew up around music and had extensive tap dancing and piano lessons. "I taught school for years, first and second grade. Then after I earned a Masters in music education, I became a music teacher. I used to say that I did nine shows a day, going from room to room while giving private lessons. During that period I learned guitar and decided to return to my first love and work as a singer which is my third and longest career." Living in New Hampshire since she got married, Joan Watson-Jones has become an important part of the local jazz scene. During 1996-98 she hosted Joan's Jazz Jam, 30 half-hour television shows for Media One cable that are still being aired. She currently conducts a weekly half-hour radio show on the internet called The Jazz Room.
And most importantly, she sings regularly in a variety of settings. Following up on her previous recording One More Year, I Thought About You is a collection of ten of her favorite standards. "In players, I look for the sensitivity to be with a vocalist and for very good listeners." She has known pianist Frank Wilkins since 2001. "He gives everything he's got in every performance and is very sensitive to singers." Bassist Ron Mahdi and drummer Alvin Terry, regular members of Wilkins' trio, work very well with both the pianist and the singer. Jim Bridges gives Joan the type of guitar sound she wants, in the vein of George Van Eps and Bucky Pizzarelli. Tenor-saxophonist Fred Haas and trombonist Larry McClellan (a dean at Berklee) are strong assets during their appearances as is Mike Turk on harmonica. "When I heard that David Eure played jazz violin, I invited him to sit in with my group and I fell in love with his playing. I decided that he will be on every recording project I ever make."
The fun project begins with a high-energy version of "It's All Right With Me." "My Funny Valentine" is taken as a romantic waltz with a prominent spot for the violinist. "I Thought About You" is a bit reminiscent in its initial wistful mood of Shirley Horn before Haas takes a cooking tenor solo. "I have a love for Duke Ellington songs and 'I'm Beginning To See The Light' has a wink to it, not taking itself too seriously." "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" in particular means a lot to Joan because it was her solo with her college choir at a time then she met her future husband. The harmonica and guitar perfectly accompany her emotional vocal.
Fred Haas' soulful tenor is one of the highlights of "Since I Fell For You"; Joan sings the rarely heard verse. Joan captures the sadness of "Sophisticated Lady," showing empathy for its subject while she describes "Shiny Stockings," which gives several of the musicians opportunities to stretch out, as "absolute fun." "Come Rain Or Come Shine" has been a favorite of the singer since she used to listen to Pearl Bailey's version all the time when she was five, followed by Ray Charles' recording years later. The enjoyable program concludes with a joyful rendition of Ellington's "Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'."
For the future, Joan Watson-Jones has plans to relocate to New York and to gain a higher profile performing the music she loves. "My goal is to continue to grow as a singer, to bare my soul and to be able to touch more people through my music." She succeeds throughout
I Thought About You, a giant step forward for Joan Watson-Jones.
Author of nine books including
Jazz On Film, Trumpet Kings
and Jazz On Record 1917-76