Vocal Jazz Camp Gives Singers Chance to Fine-Tune Performances

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Murphy Daily Herald Staff Writer

Janice Borla brings a two-part agenda to the vocal jazz camp she holds each summer.

The first item on the agenda is to make sure the students keep coming up with innovative ways to perform their songs, so they always sound fresh and original.

The other part of the agenda is to make sure the public gets a chance to hear the instructors each evening as they demonstrate in concert the techniques they teach during the day.

"The fact is, there are people - even singers - who think all a jazz vocalist does is sing Ellington vocal tunes and the American songbook," Borla said. "I'm sorry, but there's a huge array of approaches to jazz vocals. A lot of what I'm trying to do with this whole event is to say 'look, you don't have to stop with those (standard approaches).'"

Borla encourages jazz vocalists to investigate and perform instrumental jazz, even though it has no lyrics.

"For years, vocalists assumed that was something they couldn't tackle," she said. "Now more adventurous vocalists are saying, yeah, let me at 'em - bebop, blues Brazilian tunes. This will appeal to the traditional jazz fan as well as to those who like to hear vocalists."

To demonstrate the array of styles available to singers, Borla and the vocalists who teach at her vocal jazz camp will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7, and Aug. 9 through 12 in the Heininger Auditorium of the Larrance Academic Center on the campus of North Central College in Naperville.

Joining Borla, who recently released a new CD titled "Lunar Octave," will be two other successful female jazz vocalists.

Kitty Margolis, whose current CD is "Straight Up With a Twist," has been named by Downbeat magazine the singer most deserving of wider recognition. And Judy Niemack, whose current CD is "Night and the Music," has come from Berlin, where she teaches, for the vocal jazz camp.

Trumpeter/vocalist Floyd Standifer ("How Do You Keep the Music Playing?"), a former member of the Quincy Jones Orchestra and another teacher at the camp, also will participate.

In addition, on opening night, Aug. 6, Polish-born singer Grazyna Auguscik, a rising star on the international vocal jazz scene, also will perform. …