Stephanie Nakasian is an exciting, well-seasoned vocalist and master of innovative jazz improvisation, completely authentic with a fresh and vibrant sound all her own. Bringing high energy to every performance, Stephanie enthralls listeners with her pure tones and a flawless delivery, engaging them on a personal level with a love for the music that is playful, electric and spontaneous in story and song.
Then & Now: Stephanie came to international attention in the mid-80s when she sang and toured with the vocal jazz master Jon Hendricks and Company – what she considers her “vocal jazz apprenticeship.” She continues to tour and record as a vocal leader.
Recordings: An active and prolific recording artist, Stephanie's debut CD “Comin’Alive” (V.S.O.P.) featuring legendary saxophonist Phil Woods received four stars from critic Leonard Feather. “French Cookin’” (V.S.O.P.) spotlights the beautiful combination of Stephanie’s voice with virtuoso French hornist Bobby Routch. Her “Bitter Sweet” CD (JazzMania) is highly lauded along with “Escapade” as she takes the audience on a fantasy swing voyage and her “Lullaby in Rhythm” in tribute to Kenton singer June Christy featuring saxophonist Harry Allen. In 2006 two CDs were released: “Thrush Hour” (VSOP), a tribute to 20 great jazz singers including a 20 page booklet co-authored by Scott Yanow with pictures, bios and educational tips as to how to listen to each singer to hear the nuances of style and phrasing and “I Love You” (Spice of Life) was released in Japan to rave reviews including a full article in “Swing Journal” in which they called Stephanie “the perfect jazz singer.” Additional recordings include "Billie Remembered," "Dedicated to Lee Wiley" and "If I Ruled the World," in addition to three karaoke - You Sing The Hits features: "Great Ladies of Jazz Vol.1," "Great Ladies of Jazz Vol. 2" and "You Sing Billie Holiday." In 2012 she released her highly acclaimed CD “Show Me the Way” with Capri Records.
Tributes& Education: Stephanie’s original concert revues and composer and singer tributes have been favorites with concert audiences, schools and universities. Her “Great Ladies” revue tracing the development of jazz singing has also been offered as an academic course at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where Stephanie is currently on faculty as a vocal instructor and coaches students on jazz phrasing, listening, improvisation and repertoire preparation for performance. She has directed and coached numerous vocal jazz ensembles and is a regular workshop presenter at schools and conferences each year.
New York Beat
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“Vocal virtuosity…broad range of material that showed her assurance on easygoing ballads, soft, Brazilian scat singing, and punchy pep songs.” - John S. Wilson, The New York Times
“She has all the feel and charm of an early Ella Fitzgerald.” - Tempo, New Orleans, LA
“For Stephanie Nakasian it’s all about Swing” - Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Swings and scats with authority“… “Evokes Ella and Sarah without sounding overly derivative“… “Sensuous” Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
“…one of the important jazz singers in the world today.” New Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Oxford Press)