American Songbook comes to the Michener

Master interpreter of the Great American Songbook Joanna Pascale will be the featured performer at the James A. Michener Art Museum’s February 26 Jazz Night.

Here’s what people are saying about her:

 “Stunning, sophisticated and extremely soulful.” The Philadelphia Weekly.

“When I happen on a new discovery, I just can’t wait to shout out my secret to the world. From seemingly nowhere comes… Joanna… and I’m absolutely like putty in her able hands.” In Tune International Magazine

“She not only has solid vocal chops: she has soul.” All Music Guide

“Joanna Pascale is one of the new rising stars of her generation. With her vast knowledge of the Great American Songbook, she exudes a musical elegance very reminiscent of many past legends in the jazz vocal tradition, embracing an idea not exemplified by many of her contemporaries. Quite clearly she is not just another chick singer, but rather a jazz vocalist whose level of musicality acutely defines who she is stylistically.” Tim Warfield

Since emerging onto Philadelphia’s jazz scene, Pascale has established herself as a compelling and skilled vocalist. With a working repertoire of more than 400 songs, she has appeared and recorded with jazz giants such as trumpeter and Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University Terrell Stafford; sax pyrotechnic and critic’s rave Tim Warfield; legendary drummer Mickey Roker; and piano virtuoso Cyrus Chestnut. 

Pascale began her musical education as a listener. “I grew up listening to old vinyl albums of Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole,” recalls Pascale. “I memorized these songs as if they were a part of my generation’s popular music.”

At Philadelphia’s  Performing Arts High School, she began to develop her unique repertoire. At Temple University, she studied music with Terell Stafford and Bruce Barth.

“When I started going to jam sessions, singers would always perform the same couple of songs,” she says. “It would amaze me that gems like ‘Serenade in Blue’ or ‘Once in a While,’ for example, would fall through the cracks. I made it my mission to learn these under-performed standards, and to search for other songs that I felt should be remembered.”

Other influences include Jimmy Scott, Shirley Horn and Chris Connor.

Firmly rooted in the tradition of jazz, Pascale has emerged as one of the premiere vocalists on the East Coast, and has been hailed as a “rising star” by fans and critics alike. She is a master interpreter of the Great American Songbook and has three recordings as a leader on her label, Stiletto Records.  Her 2004 release When Lights are Low,  2008 release Through My Eyes, and her latest release Joanna Pascale and Anthony Wonsey Play the Great American Songbook  have all met critical acclaim. 

On top of a busy performing schedule, Pascale is a voice instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and also a member of the vocal faculty at Temple University where she teaches private voice lessons, coaches ensembles, and conducts master classes.  

“Joanna is a great storyteller,” says University of the Arts jazz faculty member Chris Farr. “Along with her excellent musicianship, she shows great respect for the lyrics. She swings like crazy, and it’s a pleasure to listen to her.”

Jazz Nights are all-inclusive evenings featuring hearty appetizers and desserts by Havana Catering and refreshments from River Horse Brewing Company and Sand Castle Winery from 8 to 10 p.m., with music from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Museum galleries are open until 10 p.m.

Advance tickets are required for Jazz Night. General admission seating may be purchased online at http://www.MichenerArtMuseum.org or by phone at 215-340-9800. Tickets cost $40, $34 for Museum members, $20 for students accompanied by a ticketed adult (must be purchased by phone). Reserved table seating for four or six people is $48 ($42 for Museum members). The reception and general Museum admission is included in the price.

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