Lauren Hooker's critically acclaimed debut CD "Right Where I Belong" with Rufus Reid on the bass, www.rufusreid.com, Allen Farnham on piano and Tim Horner on drums and percussion, features jazz standards, original compositions, as well as her own lyrics set to Monk, Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Fats Waller and Mal Waldron. (read over twenty reviews below including rave reviews from Jazz Times Magazine, Jazz Imrpov NY and All About Jazz NYC and LA)
Within the third week of radio airplay, Lauren was at the top of the “chartbound” list of jazz CD’s played across the nation and in Canada according to jazzweek.com. A featured guest on WKCR's "Jazz Alternatives" 89.9 FM NYC with Host Sharif Abdus-Salaam, Marc Copland's show "Jazz Influences" on WFDU, and WRSU 88.7 FM out of Rutgers University with host Richard Skelly, Lauren's debut CD continues to receive heavy airplay on radio stations and internet stations here and abroad.
Lauren is not just a singer. She is a consummate musician. Her unique and special talent was recognized early in life and it has developed into the sophisticated, hip vocalist, composer, lyricist and producer she is today. She came onto the jazz scene in the early 80's, fresh out of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in Music Education. Lauren continued post-graduate work in jazz theory with pianist Kenny Barron at Rutgers University, jazz voice with Sheila Jordan at the Manhattan School of Music, private studies in jazz piano with Keith McDonald and vocal coach Paul Gallagher, and most recently, a jazz vocal workshop with Bobby McFerrin and his "Voicestras" vocal ensemble.
She has been featured in many major venues in the New York metropolitan area including Sweetwaters, the West End Café, The 55 Bar, Trumpets, Lounge Zen, the Angry Squire, the Dewar's Jazz Festival, Greenwich Village Jazz Festival and most recently at the International Women in Jazz Festival at St. Peter's Church in NYC as well as a featured performer in the Jerzey Jazz Girlz Series at the Barron Art Center in NJ and Edgewater's Art and Jazz Festival hosted by WBGO's Sheila Anderson.
Her show, "Jazz Expressions", a multi-media experience combining original music, dance, poetry and photography was premiered in 1997 at New Jersey's Puffin Cultural Forum with bassist Calvin Hill and pianist Tomoko Ohno. She has appeared on a variety of television shows such as "Broadway to Business," "For Arts Sake," "Life of the Music" and TV 35's “Night Owls”.
One of the highlights of Lauren's career occurred in 1989 when she recorded (yet never released) with legendary pianist/composer Mal Waldron (Billie Holiday's former pianist), singing her original lyrics set to Mal's composition, "The Seagulls of Kristiansund." (cut #8 on "Right Where I Belong")
Lauren also performs regularly in her Arts in Education Company: Musical Legends, turning kids onto jazz and African and Native American cultures with her shows "Jazz 4 Kids", "Rainbow Crow" and "The Fire Children". (www.musicallegends.biz)
"I was born into music ... as early as in the womb (kicking to the beat - my mother tells me)... hearing my dad jam with his fellow jazz musicians in the basement ... starting piano lessons at age four ... meeting Bill Evans at the Vanguard whom my father recorded with in college ... being exposed to and singing most of the major classical oratorios with full orchestra ...shaking hands with Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck whose sacred works the New Jersey Schola Cantorum, (my dad's chorus) performed...reaching for Sarah Vaughan's range, Ella's scat, Miles Davis' tone and Coltrane's intention. I was not only encouraged, but expected to be a musician, and a well-rounded one at that ... one who could play, sing, compose, arrange and educate."
PERFORMED AND/OR RECORDED WITH:
John Bianculli, Ted Branchato, Belden Bullock, Rahn Burton, Michael Cochrane, Roy Cumming, Loren Daniels, Glenn Davis, Santi Debriano, Dena DeRose, Bob Devos, John DiMartino, Leon Dorsey, Vince Ector, Allen Farnham, Pat Firth, Mac Goldsberry, John Hart, Freddie Hendrix, Calvin Hill, Tim Horner, Bertha Hope, Chip Jackson, Vic Juris, Dave Kikoski, Andy McCloud, Cecil McBee, Maryanne McSweeney, Paul Meyers, Allison Miller, Bill Moring, Steve Nelson, Tomoko Ohno, Rufus Reid, Ed Schuller, Warren Smith, Christopher Dean Sullivan, Frederick Waites, Mal Waldron, Bobby Watson and Reggie Workman
Read more on her website www.laurenhooker.com and join her myspace page at www.myspace.com/laurenhookerjazz