A QUICK HERSTORY: Belinda Underwood's
first exposures to music occurred five nights a week while she was captive in her jazz-pianist-mother's womb. With birth, the nightly exposure continued while she napped under the piano in a car seat.
After a childhood of violin lessons, harp lessons, orchestras and choirs, music became her choice when she fell in love with the upright bass at age sixteen. In high school she traveled as a bass player (on scholarship) to Australia with the Monterey Jazz Festival Honor Band, and in college she played and traveled with the UC Berkeley Wednesday Band. Singing professionally didn't occur to her until years later when she was playing the bass at the Jazzschool in Berkeley.
At the Jazzschool, Belinda studied with Mark Levine, Ledisi, Raz Kennedy, Stephanie Bruce, Brian Pardo, Glenn Richman, and Frank Martin. It was there that she met David Friesen during a workshop and decided to go to Portland for bass lessons (after a quick trip to Cuba to study music and dance at the University of Havana). When asked what she valued most from her lessons with Friesen, she replied, "He encouraged me to write songs."
Her debut album was launched nationally in 2005. Underwood Uncurling features David Friesen, Airto Moreira, John Gross, Dan Balmer, Clay Giberson, Chad Wagner, Jason Levis, and Pink Martini members Phil Baker and Martin Zarzar. She sings (and plays some bass too) on the album, which is comprised of her original compositions and jazz standards.
"Underwood Uncurling" has been played on over 150 radio stations across the USA,C anada, and Europe. It has been reviewed by LA Times, Jazz Improv Magazine, and about 30 other publications. Reviews are posted at Belinda's website.
Belinda is currently singing and playing around Portland with Beliss (a sister duo), Underwood and Friends, Pachamanca (Latin), and Sarab (Middle Eastern music). She has also been touring recently with Benny Green playing accompanying on the piano.