In 2011, Roseanna Vitro received her first Grammy Nomination for Best Vocal Jazz album titled: The Music of Randy Newman on the Motema Music label. Downbeat Magazine’s Kurt Silsbee honored the recording with a four and a half star review stating, “She’s a passionate, expressive singer whose emotional streak never overrides her musicality. Nor do her musical flights interfere with the story of a song. She’s a great jazz singer who brings a lot of heart to her craft.”
Today’s jazz singers don’t limit themselves to the classic American Songbook. If Vitro is turning on the jazz world to a body of work it’s been overlooking, her efforts include her vaunted skills as an educator. A respected professor and symposium director since the mid-1990s, Vitro is the director of vocal jazz studies at New Jersey City University, a program that she founded in 1998. As a mentor to some of the most creative young singers on the scene, she developed a four-year curriculum spanning the history of jazz vocalists, from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to the greatest contemporary stylists, most of whom she has interviewed about their approach and creative concepts. In 2009 she created the social networking site JVOICE for jazz singers, teachers, students, and others interested in technique and issues around jazz education. “I love what I’ve learned in this business,” Vitro says. “I want to be a great teacher, work on my improvisation, and write substantial music. I love to interview other singers. I still love to perform, but I also love to teach. I want to spread jazz everywhere and fulfill the role I was put here for.”
Vitro served as an official Jazz Ambassador, sponsored in 2009, for Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department and in 2004, for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the U.S. State Department. In 1998 Vitro was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame with Bob Dorough and John Stubblefield.
Ms. Vitro’s signature energy and grace can be heard on a host of recordings, notable among them, her breakout recording on Concord (Softly), featuring Fred Hersch and George Coleman, Telarc (Passion Dance), which featured Elvin Jones, Christian McBride and longtime musical partner, Kenny Werner, and compelling tributes to Ray Charles (Catchin’ Some Rays) featuring Fathead Newman, Bill Evans Tribute (Conviction), and Brazil (Tropical Postcards) and The Delirium Blues Project: Serve or Suffer on Half Note Records, recorded Live at New York’s own Blue Note Jazz Club in 2008 featuring Kenny Werner’s arrangements and an all-star band featuring greats James Carter and Randy Brecker.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjRKCd_atlg (“Last Night I Had a Dream”)
Willow Weep http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqwcDd6B3oc&feature=relmfu