Originally from eastern Ontario, BRENDA LEWIS is what is known as a “natural singer”. For two decades, since moving “west” (near Toronto!) she has been singing professionally – 13 of those as a jazz vocalist, performing with some of Canada’s finest jazz musicians, including long-time music partners: guitarist MARGARET STOWE, guitarist and Juno Award-winning producer TONY QUARRINGTON, and, JOHN ZADRO (pianist).
In 2010, she released her new CD: “JAZZLIKE, a collection of cover songs by some of her favourite musicians whose compositions fit within the jazz idiom. Four of these songs are penned by celebrated CANADIAN songwriters: COLLEEN PETERSON, RICK FINES, CHRIS WHITELEY, and, NEIL YOUNG. Jazz guitarist extraordinaire MARGARET STOWE (http://www.margaretstowe.com ) joins Lewis on this recording – a recording which displays the versatility of both musicians and evidences their sheer joy of performing together. Lewis and Stowe (who have co-produced it together) have striven for a sound on the CD that represents well what you will hear at a LIVE concert with them.
Previous to jazz, Lewis’ background was in the folk/Americana/country blues genres – in acclaimed Guelph, Ontario eclectic duo: “LEWIS & MOLESWORTH” (aka “HURT & RUN”), along with R&B/funk/gospel/blues. She is also an adept harmony/backing vocalist and began her career singing in A CAPELLA trios (similar to “Sweet Honey in the Rock”). She still enjoys success performing in these genres – and their influences add diversity to her jazz standards repertoire. Soulful, bluesy Etta, Ray Charles or Patsy Cline renditions spice up the setlists in any of her shows, alongside swinging classics, caliente grooves, and, lesser known torch gems – all sung in the spare yet emotive traditions of Ella, Julie London and Marlene Dietrich. This versatile mix captivates both the jazz audience and her long-time folk/ R&B fans.
Lewis’ CDs have received radio airplay on the CBC, BBC and JAZZ-FM 91.1 TORONTO. Prior to her first jazz CD: “LEWIS, WILSON & SHAW: TRIO SESSIONS”, Brenda recorded three folk/roots CDs (with Lewis & Molesworth, and, with NONIE CRETE). As well, she has guested on many other artists’ CDs as a harmony/backing vocalist, and been a feature artist on 2 compilation tribute albums (Including the “One Voice” tribute to Norm Hacking, in duo with Tony Quarrington).
In live shows, she performs from duo, trio to full band or orchestra – in concert, or for “atmosphere”, or, dance band. She has been featured in numerous concert series (including Halton’s Jazz at the Museum, Kitchener’s Jazz at the Registry, Uptown Waterloo Concert Series, Waterloo Regional Arts Centre Jazz Series, Arkell Schoolhouse Gallery), and, festivals (including Guelph Jazz Festival, Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival, Uptown Oakville Jazz Festival, Hillside Festival, Festival of Friends), dinner/nightclubs, and corporate/private events across Ontario.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Brenda feels especially honoured to have been asked to sing in tribute concerts for two stellar Canadian artists who have deeply influenced her musically : “FESTIVAL OF FRIENDS” 2009’s “MEMORIES OF JACKIE WASHINGTON” and, the COLLEEN PETERSON MEMORIAL CONCERT (in vocal harmony quartet with Suzie Vinnick, Katherine Wheatley & Rebecca Campbell; alongside “Quartette”) at HUGH’S ROOM, Toronto.
“Her rich full-bodied voice is an elastic instrument, especially in songs that speak to the heart. Whether choosing a jazz standard or a song by a contemporary songwriter, Lewis has impeccable taste.” (ROBERT REID, ARTS, WATERLOO RECORD)
“She softly intoned a realm of yesterday’s duets with greats that are now on The Big Gig in The Sky and I was inspired.” (GRANGE “LADY HAIG” RUTAN”, AUTHOR: “DEATH OF A BEBOP WIFE”)
Full description / purchase new 2010 CD “JAZZLIKE”:
Full-length audio samples: http://www.reverbnation.com/brendalewisjazzrootsvocalist
Upcoming concerts: http://www.brendalewis.ca/shows.php
FACEBOOK Fan Page: www.fbook.me/brendalewisjazzvocalist
FREE MP3 http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/uboo8u