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Michelle Walker

Bending the Lines between Swing, Soul, Blues and Bebop

About Me

Biography:

Michelle Walker, jazz vocalist, arranger and educator, is currently based out of New York City. Michelle has compiled a musical resume of international concert and festival performances, including a recent 10 day tour of Israel 7 tours of Russia, club performances in London and Amsterdam as well as a showcase at the Lincoln Center-Women in Jazz Festival to name a few.

Michelle studied music and vocal performance at University of Maryland where she developed a deeper love for jazz vocal improvisation. She continued her studies privately with jazz vocal legends Mark Murphy, Better Carter, Rhiannon, and Jay Clayton.

Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. She has opened in concert for Wynton Marsalis at the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, Rene Marie, Terrell Stafford, Chris Botti, George Benson and has performed in concert with Mark Murphy.

Her arrangements of straight-ahead standards and contemporary pop tunes blend genres effortlessly and with a undeniable level of originality that is solidifying her own distinctive sound. Dave Nathan at AllAboutJazz.com says, Walker demonstrates an extraordinary degree of musicality. According to Mike Joyce of the Washington Post, the hypnotic, sexy, deep tone of Michelle's voice has a soul-comforting allure”.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because...It feels like home. I was first exposed to jazz...When I was about 5-6 years old by my parents playing old records of vocalists. (Nancy Wilson, Sarah, Dinah) I met [musician name]...Betty Carter when I was in the music program at Univ of Maryland. She changed and helped shape my view of how to hear music. The best show I ever attended was...Hard to say but I think hearing Dave Liebman at Birdland a few years back was quite transformative. It was the first time I truly saw and grasped how vast this musical sphere was and realized I have only begun to scratch the surface. He leaves you in a state of feeling very daunted. The first jazz record I bought was...That I paid money for....That Manhattan Transfer album that was an ode to Jon Hendricks....I made my poor little brother John sit, learn all the words and practice "Drip, Drop Blues" with me all summer long when I was 13 and he was 11. My advice to new listeners...Listen with an open mind and critical ear. Or whatever else you have in mind.

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