Vaughnette Bigford

Trinidad / Tobago

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Jazz Vocalist living and working in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago

t isn’t hard to believe how quickly audiences sit up and take notice whenever Vaughnette takes centre stage and starts to sing. Her rich, warm, earthy tones caressingly draw you in, as she delivers effortlessly on some of the most timeless standards and ballads. So when it comes to jazz, Vaughnette fits right into the groove… it is, after all, the music that deeply inspires her. Hailing from La Brea in the south of Trinidad, Vaughnette debuted on the jazz circuit at the Steelpan & Jazz Festival (2004), performing as a guest vocalist with virtuoso pannist Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe. She next graced the stage later that same year, at the San Fernando Jazz Festival, appearing with visionary Carlton Alexander and the Coalpot Band. Audiences were also treated at the “Sando” Jazz (2005, 2006) to her performances alongside Botswanan flugel horn player Socca Moruakgomo. While gradually fashioning a musical presence on the local landscape, Vaughnette collaborated with some of Trinidad & Tobago’s most celebrated jazz musicians: Theron Shaw, Sean Thomas, Ray Holman, Raf Robertson, and Boston-based Ron Reid. Many still recall her smoldering solo act at YWCA’s ‘Sisters in Song…a Caribbean Jazz Concert’ (2007) featuring local greats Mavis John and Chantal Esdelle…or… her sunny session at ‘Jazz on the Beach’, Tobago (2008), which kept her audience buzzing long after she had left the stage. Clearly, this La Brea lady was developing an impressive fan base! Never one to take her talent and artistry for granted, Vaughnette continued to perfect her craft, studying voice and jazz performance with some of music’s finest. Notably among them are: Cristiana Balbosa and Jessel Murray (Trinidad), Howard Rees (Toronto), jazz luminaries Dr. Barry Harris and Hank Jones and the esteemed Donna Mc Elroy (Boston). Vaughnette’s focus and hard work paid “dividends” in 2008 when she became one of few Caribbean nationals ever, to be awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Programme! Fast forward to 2010, and Vaughnette is heaping praises on individuals like Gabrielle Goodman, Janice Pendarvis (Berklee College) and Dominique Eade (New England Conservatory) for guidance in taking her vocal abilities to the next level. Her list of appearances keeps growing as she showcases her vocal mettle: Jazz Artistes on the Greens, Trinidad; Earthsound CD Release Party, Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Berkelee Summer Concert Series, with Ron Reid and Sunsteel, the Louis Armstrong Birthday Jazz Concert, with jazz singer Gwyn Jay Allen and the Beantown Jazz Festival with Gabrielle Goodman and Nona Hendryx. With vocals evoking a distinct Caribbean charisma and a personality that embraces you like a long time friend, Vaughnette continues to charm her listeners wherever she performs.

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