Lynn Ray Pardo

Lynn Ray’s Contributions

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About Lynn Ray Pardo


Lynn Ray's voice is American roots gone soulfully freestyle. Jazz is the perfect idiom for those of us lucky enough to experience her unabashed take on interpreting songs we thought we knew.
Asked to describe her sound, she says think Ralph Stanley meets Sam Cooke sung by Eva Cassidy with a smokin’ fusion guitar quartet led by her partner, guitarist Brian Pardo.
Ask her where she was born and she'll tell you South America. Wait a beat and she'll clarify her birth place as Biloxi, MS. Raised in MA, TX and CA, Ray was influenced and blessed by the great American south, east and west coast music traditions and education programs.

As a child, Ray's family departed east central TX and landed in the San Francisco Bay Area just as the 70's inter-racial funk, explosion hit. She'd already been listening to her older brother's Sly and The Family Stone 8-track tape back in TX mixed in with the solid country, r&b and rock radio played on the wide ranging Houston music stations. But actually living where the Berkeley student riots, Black Panthers, hot tubs, West Coast gospel music and The Grateful Dead thrived amidst folk, Irish and bluegrass musicians, who came to Northern California to record, brought a whole new musical freedom stew to the party.

Ray credits her first "serious" voice teacher, Cathy Hudnal, for turning her onto Joni Mitchel and Ella Fitzgerald and expanding her fondness for all things roots music into the realm of jazz musicianship. Already a concert band clarinet player, Ray was familiar with the importance of being an ensemble player, but studying the serious jazz musician phrasing of Ella and Joni while being steeped in the improvisational black gospel music tradition of Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, Mahalia Jackson and Dorothy Love Coates and working in multiple bands in multiple genres to support her breadth of musical espression makes it obvious why Ray is truly a vocal free stylist.

Lynn Ray Pardo joined the JazzTimes community on Nov 24, 2010