Bio - Jenifer French


Jenifer was raised in a music-loving family.  She and her sisters played the piano, guitar, sax, and flute; her mother played the clarinet; and her father "played" a lot of Jazz records in the house. Jenifer feels very fortunate to have been exposed to and raised on great music from such an early age - from the Big Band sounds of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman to the crooning vocals of Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee to the fabulous Broadway musical scores of The Music Man and Hello Dolly - for these great recordings laid the foundation for her ear for great music, composers, and most importantly her extensive repertoire of jazz and blues music.


Such musical influences "struck a chord" early on and have contributed to the very musical and theatrical approachJenifer takes to performing Jazz standards and connecting with  her  audience. Jenifer first debuted on stage in Columbus, Ohio in 1977, appearing in the children's musical "The Clown and  His  Circus" in which  she  cast in the comedic role of Fluffy. The audience's reaction - laughter, applause, requests for autographs - was enough to hook  her  on the pursuit of a career as an Entertainer.
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After having lived, traveled, and performed in many parts of the world, including London and Tokyo, Jenifer moved to Chicago in 1996 and has since considered it  her  "Sweet Home Chicago.
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The school's saying of "Life Gets Better with Jazz" has definitely rung true for Jenifer as her repertoire of 300+ Jazz Standards has expanded and been influenced through studying and listening to the works of such Jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Mel Torme, and Ella Fitzgerald.
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The Vocalists who have influenced Jenifer and her style the most include: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, and Al Jolson.
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Since 1999, Jenifer has been gigging steadily on the local Chicago Jazz circuit, as well as appearing in Columbus, Ohio and New York. In 2000,  she  made  her  first recording of Jazz standards with the Jo Ann Daugherty Trio. That same year, she  also made  her  New York debut at Don't Tell Mama's, performing a variety of Jazz standards by Gershwin, Porter, and Mercer. Musical projects currently underway for 2001 include a Duets show of Jazz standards to be premiered in New York with Jazz vocalist KJ; a Cabaret show paying homage to women of the musical stage during the 1930's; and an upcoming full-length Jazz CD to be release at the end of the year.  She  has also been invited by several overseas festivals and venues to perform with Jazz combos, such as in Hong Kong and Indonesia.
 
Since embarking on her Jazz Singing career, Jenifer has had the pleasure of working with many wonderful and talented Jazz musicians, including the Steve Million Trio, the Ryan Cohan Trio, the Jo Ann Daugherty Trio, New York-based pianist Joe Cross, The Sound and the Fury Swing Band, saxophonist Rich Faludi, bassist Mike Maretia, and drummer Michael Marotta.
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And as a member of the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) and IWJ (International Women in Jazz),Jenifer had the pleasure of attending the prestigious 28th Annual IAJE Conference held this year in NY and attended by over 8,000 Jazz musicians/aficionados from around the world. Some of the Jazz luminaries  she  interacted with and heard from include: Wynton Marsalis, Quincy Jones, Dr. Billy Taylor, Randy Weston, Jackie McLean, John Lewis, Randy Brecker, John McNeil, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Janis Siegel, and Cassandra Wilson. This continues to be an excellent forum for world-class Jazz musicians to meet, exchange ideas, and jam!
 
Jenifer has proven herself to have a keen ear for great Jazz music. And through  her  relentless listening to as many different interpretations as possible of great Jazz recordings, she  has developed a knack for unearthing relatively unknown and underappreciated Jazz tunes - ones that keep the Jazz musicians  she  works with delightfully challenged!  Her performances are filled with emotional warmth and depth, intelligence, and a spontaneous sense of humor, through carefully chosen songs spanning a wide variety of moods, grooves, and tempos. These songs are pulled not only from the great traditional American Songbook, but also from the Blues, Latin Jazz, and most recently French and German cabaret.
 
But moreover, Jenifer has a very deep respect and love for America's purely indigenous art form - Jazz - and likes to consider herself an Ambassador of the traditional Jazz standard - wanting to share with others these great songs that capture the heart and spirit, or "Body and Soul" if you will, of the human experience

Bio - Jenifer French

Jenifer was raised in a music-loving family.  She and her sisters played the piano, guitar, sax, and flute; her mother played the clarinet; and her father played - a lot of Jazz records in the house! Jenifer feels very fortunate to have been exposed to and raised on great music from such an early age - from the Big Band sounds of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman to the crooning vocals of Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee to the fabulous Broadway musical scores of The Music Man and Hello Dolly - it's these great recordings that laid the foundation for her ear for great music, composers, and most importantly her extensive repertoire of jazz and blues music.

Since 1999, Jenifer has been gigging on the local Chicago Jazz circuit, as well as appearing in New York, LA, and London. In 2000,  she  made  her  first recording of Jazz standards with the Jo Ann Daugherty Trio. That same year, she  also made  her  New York debut at Don't Tell Mama's, performing a variety of Jazz standards by Gershwin, Porter, and Mercer. In 2001, Jenifer and Jazz vocalist Jordan von Haslow returned to Don't Tell Mama's to perform an eclectic duets show called "Bosom Buddies" which was filled with duets from the great American Musical Theatre songbook. 

In July 2001, she had the pleasure to meet and perform with the following Jazz Masters at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop: pianist Phil DeGreg, bassist John Goldsby, and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis. That same year Jenifer became a band leader and formed her own jazz combo (vocals, piano, bass, guitar and drums), Jenifer French & the Jazz Daddies, with Mike Frisch on piano, Mark Kluemper on drums, Adam Haus on guitar, and Matt Fisher on bass.

In 2002, Jenifer created and debuted a new cabaret show called "Outrageous Broads: The Lives and Music of Marlene Dietrich, Ethel Merman, and Beatrice Lillie" - with Musical Director Dan Stetzel and Director Daryl Nitz - and performed it in Chicago's premiere cabaret room, Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret. 

In 2002, Jenifer made her second recording of jazz standards inspired by and in homage to jazz legend Peggy Lee  Entitled "Things Are Swingin'," Jenifer recorded a set of 12 swinging tunes accompanied by Bradley Williams on piano, Rich Faludi on sax, Dan DeLorenzo on bass, and Michael Schick on drums.

In August of 2004, Jenifer went to London and performed some Sinatra tunes with the Jazzwise Student Big Band Orchestra at the Parkshot Centre's Queen Charlotte Hall in Richmond, England.

After a haitus to start a family, with occasional singing engagements, Jenifer returned full force to the stage in 2014 after spending nearly a year in lovingly creating a tribute show to a couple composers she has long admired, the Sherman Brothers of the Walt Disney Studios.  Entitled "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" it's a show that debuted at Davenport's and highlights some of the best songs from the Sherman Brothers' 1,000+ song repertoire featuring a swingin' jazz band composed of George Howe on piano, Jim Cox on bass, Adam Haus on guitar & ukulele, and Phil Gratteau on drums.  (Musical Direction by George Howe and Direction by Daryl Nitz.)  The show was a sold-out success in Sept 2014 and Jenifer & Friends are looking forward to doing an Encore performance of the show in June 2015.

In addition to her own Jazz combo, Jenifer has had the pleasure of working with many wonderful and talented Jazz musicians, including the Steve Million Trio, the Ryan Cohan Trio, the Jo Ann Daugherty Trio, pianist Mike Frisch, bassist Matt Fisher, drummer Mike Marotta, New York-based pianist Joe Cross, pianist Phil DeGreg, bassist John Goldsby, drummer Steve Barnes, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, pianist Tom Hope, pianist Tommy Muellner, bassist Jim Cox, drummer Phil Gratteau, The Sound and the Fury Swing Band, the OTS Electric Blues Band, saxophonist Rich Faludi, bassist Mike Maretia, and pianist Dan Merrigan.


 
Some of the other venues Jenifer French has performed at include: Andy's Jazz Club, Buddy Guy's Legends, Rosa's Lounge, Lush Life, Rumors Jazz, Bluepoint Oyster Bar, House of Blues (in Chicago), the Pump Room (of the Ambassador East Hotel), Gentry's, Palettes, Don't Tell Mama, Davenports, Pheasant Run Resort, and the Chicago Folks and Roots Festival.

Jenifer's previous cabaret shows include:

***"Outrageous Broads: The Lives & Music of Marlene Dietrich, Ethel Merman, and Beatrice Lillie" - starring Jenifer French (Musical Director Dan Stetzel; Director Daryl Nitz) - Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret (Chicago)

***"Bosom Buddies, The Duets Show" co-starring Jenifer French and Jordan Von Haslow (Musical Director Joe Cross; Director Denise Maynard) - Don't Tell Mama (NYC)

***"Fever! The Peggy Lee Tribute Show" starring Jenifer French and the Jazz Daddies (Mike Frisch - piano; Adam Haus - guitar; Ed Sullivan - bass; John Alderson - sax; and Mike Marotta - drums) - Rumor's Jazz (Chicago)

***"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" - a loving tribute to The Sherman Brothers starring Jenifer French & Friends (Jim Cox - bass; Phil Gratteau- drums; Adam Haus - guitar/ukulele; George Howe - vocals/piano/Musical Director; and Daryl Nitz - vocals/Director) - Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret (Chicago)

For bookings:

P: 312-925-4222

E: jeniferfrench@yahoo.com