Stephanie Nakasian is listed in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz as one of the world’s leading jazz singers. She first came to international attention in the mid-80s when she sang and toured with the vocal jazz master Jon Hendricks and Company – her ‘vocal jazz apprenticeship.’ Since then, she has toured and recorded as a leader and with her partner and internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Hod O’Brien. Together with their daughter Veronica they make their home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since 1980 Ms. Nakasian has been actively recording. Her debut album featured legendary saxophonist Phil Woods and received four stars from critic Leonard Feather.
There are many jazz singers on the scene now. Hendricks chose her because of her hip, swinging rhythm. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band features her frequently on their internationally syndicated show “Riverwalk” portraying Lee Wiley, Peggy Lee, Helen Ward, Helen Humes, ‘20s singers and blues singers. Their reason – swing and authenticity. She portrayed herself on the show with Dick Hyman on tributes to composers Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Donaldson. The Richmond Times-Dispatch “compared her to Ella… and she deserves is.” In Europe they have heard similarities to Sarah Vaughn. In New York, they heard early Margaret Whiting. Her clean, clear lovely tone is another reason for her popularity.
Some of Ms. Nakasian’s concert appearances as a features performer include performances with Urbie Green, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Milt Hinton, Clary Terry, J.R. Monterose, Joe Temperly, Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen, Sheila Jordan, Bob Dorough, Valery Ponomarev and (with Hendricks) Red Mitchell, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, and Annie Ross to name a few.
The final element which makes all this so exciting is her electric and personal stage persona – she does a world class vocal trombone imitation and she’s fun to watch. It’s exciting to be part of the experiment and spontaneous creativity of her art.
This album is a sensational tribute to the great Lee Wiley, one of the mainstays of American vocal jazz. Nakasian is joined by an excellent combo including Hod O'Brien on piano, Dan Barrett on trombone, Spanky Davis on trumpet, Harry Allen on tenor sax, Allan Vache on clarinet, Michael Moore on bass, James Chirillo on guitar, and Jackie Williams on drums.