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Janis Siegel: Answering the Calling of Vocal Jazz

A conversation with the renowned vocalist and member of the Manhattan Transfer

Janis Siegel
Janis Siegel

At first glimpse, this petite songbird easily blends into almost any scene comfortably, always aware of her surroundings, quietly observing. You wouldn’t know you’re chatting with one of the most recognizable voices in vocal jazz/pop history. She sings with laser precision when softly purring a classic ballad. When it’s time to rock in her upper register or swing out, she blows your mind, then casually slips into scatting a bass line or solo, always offering thoughtful improvisation.

In an industry not known for longevity, Janis Siegel has defied the odds, spanning decades as a highly skilled performance artist in one of the most celebrated vocal jazz groups in the world today: the Manhattan Transfer. She applies intellect and heart through her voice and arranging capabilities, weaving sonic beauty while navigating a world of different styles in music through the prism of her vision, an inner knowing. At this stage in her illustrious career, you might find her performing with her Requinte group or leading one of the hottest singing shows, Vocal Mania, along with gal-pal, Lauren Kinhan of the New York Voices.

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Roseanna Vitro

Roseanna Vitro is a jazz vocalist who has released 14 albums on the Concord, Telarc, Challenge, and Motéma labels—achieving a Grammy nomination in 2010 for The Music of Randy Newman—and has toured as a featured artist on every continent but Antarctica, including two tours as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Also an educator, she taught college-level courses for New Jersey City University, SUNY Purchase, and NJPAC over the course of 20 years. As a jazz advocate, she has produced records for fellow musicians, chaired seminars, lectured and presented clinics globally, and regularly interviews other singers for JazzTimes; a full list of her JT columns is here. Contact her at