Vocal Performance and Projects
Denine sings jazz and other musical styles in the Seattle area, and has performed with a variety of instrumentation, from vocal/guitar duos to swinging quintets. She also performs on flute, often including Will Flash on saxophone. For her original music, she accompanies herself on piano. She has performed on live radio, in studio settings and at venues such as the Plush Room and Ritz in S.F., the San Jose International Jazz Festival, Bad Alberts, Crown Plaza, and Village Wines with the Steve Jones’ Trio in the Seattle area. She has also performed live with internationally recognized musicians such as Frank Martin, Peter Barshay, Josh Jones, Smith Dobson, and Weber Iago, and in the studio, for the Ladybird CD, with Will Kennedy and Russell Ferrante, of the Yellow Jackets. She has also sung for various recording projects, including writing vocal scores for award-winning digital media.
…Monet was daring, diverse, and deliciously cool. Shifting from gentle balladry to ‘vocalese’ excursions and angular mystery grooves, Monet and her fine sextet kept coming up with new ways to surprise, although most of the set’s tunes can also be found on Monet’s Lady Bird CD (on Shotzi Records). Monet shone brightest on ballads and the more adventurous tunes: the almost completely improvised takes on ‘Lazy Afternoon’ and Monet’s own ‘Mystery’ were utterly captivating.»
– Forrest Bryant, AllAboutJazz.com
Lady Bird Bio
Close to the midway point on her debut CD, Lady Bird, jazz vocalist Denine Monet interrupts her superb song-set to reflect for a spell. On the short (:52) spoken-word piece “Steal Away,” she muses, “These are moments worth stealing/So take a pause and make the time to listen to the rhythm of life sublime.” While the poetry offers sound advice for healthy living, the sentiment also stands as the centerpiece of Ms. Monet’s impressive premiere that melds beauty with moving reflection. The album is produced by pianist Frank Martin (a veteran with a stellar resume recording/performing with the likes of Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, John Handy) who proved to be a simpatico support for the vocalist. It was Martin who brought aboard much of the top-notch team of backing musicians, including Yellowjackets pianist Russell Ferrante, former Yellowjackets drummer Will Kennedy, guitarists Steve Erquiaga and Mimi Fox, violinist Darol Anger, flutist Mary Fettig and trombonist Wayne Wallace. “Frank and I worked as a team putting this CD together,” says Ms. Monet. “We discussed each song and focused on what we felt the tune needed. Then we talked about who would be best to play on the songs. For the song ‘Fly, Lady Bird/Half Nelson’, I brought in Paul Potyen, who’s arrangement and instrument recommendations were also right on target.” In the last decade, Ms. Monet has been performing in venues throughout the Bay Area, as a solo act as well as a guest member of both the Usual Suspects and the Alan Early Quartet. Monet’s studio work includes writing and recording a project with violinist Sarah Bernstein, singing lead vocals on a track for David Berson’s CD, Bay Moods, contributing to a project for the Barefoot record label, singing an occasional radio jingle, and composing/recording the a cappella score for an award-winning multimedia presentation. She has sung at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA and has taught voice at the Acappellafest in Santa Cruz, CA as well as participated in Rhythmic Concept’s Jazz Camp WEST. Ms. Monet traces her love for jazz back to a young age when she used to stand in front of her parents’ stereo and listen and dance to the music of such musicians and singers as Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Sergio Mendes’ Brasil 66, June Christie, and Peggy Lee. She began playing the piano at an early age and took classical lessons until she was 12. She also began songwriting when she was young: “I still have a composition I wrote when I was 12,” she says. “And at 17, I partnered with our family’s foreign exchange student who wrote lyrics; we wrote pop songs and performed at talent shows.” Ms. Monet says she initially focused on the music, but in her mid-twenties began experimenting with writing song lyrics. It was around this time that she caught Shirley Horn and Carmen McRae performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, which helped to rekindle her interest in jazz. Ella Fitzgerald was also an inspiration then; Cassandra Wilson and Nnenna Freelon are now. “For many years, I’ve followed Dianne Reeves and the way she mixes a lot of different styles in her music,” Ms. Monet says. “That inspiration came through in the creation of Lady Bird, which has a lot of stylistic variety.” All of which adds up to an auspicious recording event–which introduces not only a fine singing talent but also a talented songwriter/arranger. So, welcome Denine Monet, the latest member in fine standing in the San Francisco Bay Area jazz vocalist community.
« San Jose native Denine Monet…has the rich and sensuous voice of a Carmen McRae. But it’s not just the voice you’ll remember. Along with handling the standards, she also writes original music. In this era when many vocalists –even the most famous– tend to reprise jazz classics, Monet is willing to take chances. I particularly liked her original composition “Mystery.” »
– Reese Erlich, Special to BayArea.com