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Nanette Natal

A delicious New York sound that is marinated in Jazz. A socially conscious singer, always with a message in her music, be it touring around college campuses in the 70s or talking about small personal and social revolutions of today's time, Nanette's music has always defied categories. In 1980 while singing Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" during a pop recording session at Columbia Records, she changed the phrasing dramatically and subsequently was told by a prominent engineer (who had previously worked with some famous jazz artists for Columbia) that she had a soul of a jazz singer. This moment was a turning point in Nanette's musical life. That inspiration and the big record companies then, stifling her creativity, led to dissolving of her recording contracts and set her on a path of developing her musical expression. Since then her commitment to her music and sound has been stoic. She is a dedicated, true jazz singer, having complete mastery over scatting, phrasing or complicated chord changes. Her live performances always have a strong element of pure improvisation, that can also dip into soul and blues.

Her increasing notoriety in the field of jazz is reflected in Bruce Crowther's and Mike Pinfold's 'Singing Jazz: The Singers and Their Styles' where she is praised for her style and teaching practices. She teaches with the same dedication and vigor, as displayed in her live performances. (Check 'Creative Fire' on teaching)

Nanette musical career began in 1962 as a classical singer with the Helen Hayes Young People's Theater Guild with whom she performed numerous concerts at Judson and Cami Hall in New York. She then went on to work the Bitter End Coffee House Circuit, performing her own material, which developed into blues and rock, singing and playing guitar and performing at universities and concert halls throughout the country. In the '70s, she recorded for Vanguard and later for Evolution Records.

During this period, she also worked with several notable contemporary artists including Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Bonnie Raitt and Rick Nelson along with several TV appearances including one with Barbara Walters on The Today Show. Always active on the club circuit playing such venues as the Gaslight, The Orpheum Theatre, Bottom Line and the Cafe Au Go Go. From 1977 to the mid-'80s, she became a strong influence on the downtown jazz loft scene, with long stints at the Tin Palace and Seventh Avenue South, in New York City.

Simultaneously her own production company and label, Benyo Music Productions was launched, and has released six albums: My Song of Something (1980), Wild in Reverie (1982), Hi Fi Baby (1986), Stairway to the Stars (1992), Lose Control (1999), and her latest Is Love Enough? (2001). Natal continues to perform and teach in New York and work on interesting and daring projects like a one-voice jazz opera. She also writes a monthly column "Creative Fire" which expresses her views on the art of singing, creative development and vocal techniques. Billy Holiday, Besse Smith, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and Duke Ellington have contributed to her musicianship. She is a singer, who believes the voice to be an instrument. She is a composer of considerable merit. With a remarkable repertoire of engineers and featured musicians on the credits of her albums. The measure of success to her, has always been about the integrity of the art. We have as a result, a singer that is marinated in jazz, seasoned in blues who always gives a delicious, seductive and wonderful performance.

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  • Artist / Group Name: Nanette Natal
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