Down Beat's Student Music Awards are 25 years old. That's more than one-fourth the time that jazz has been tickling eardrums. For 25 years the awards have honored and acknowledged the students and teachers that have cultivated and nurtured the growth of jazz education. For the first time, a student at Woodside School has been honored with this prestigious award for her jazz vocals.
Seventh grader Haley (Hale) Baskin has not been singing jazz for years as one might expect. This 12 year old only sounds like she's been singing for years. Hale's tantalizing mix of youthful exuberance and world-weary charm is a winning combination. Toying playfully with standards, Hale displays both a solid command of the genre and a childlike innocence as she seemingly discovers the endless possibilities that the material offers.
Hale recorded her Downbeat magazine vocal submission with local jazz greats Larry Dunlap on piano, Seward McCain, on bass, Jim Zimmerman on drums and of course her dad, Bill Baskin played guitar.
Hale submitted her CD never expecting to win, but really how could she lose with the unequaled jazz support she had backing her? "One of the best things to come out of making the CD in the studio was learning how much fun it is to sing with great players. They were so patient with me. They taught me all sorts of jazz terms. Seward told me I had big ears! I didn't know what to think. Now I know what it means. It’s a compliment to have big ears." Hale's experience in the studio brought another gift. Vocal coach Wendy McCain has taken Hale under her wing and is busy molding Hale into an unforgettable jazz vocalist. "Wendy makes every experience I have a positive one." I look forward to singing with her every week."
Congratulations Hale Baskin! We look forward to watching you blossom in the world of jazz.