Primary Instrument: Vocal
With her thick, low alto tone and heavy swing rhythm, Aubrey Parasolle’s voice emotes a quality akin to jazz singers who have been singing for decades. However, once one sees her edgy hair, petite stature, and hears her thick Jersey accent, they know that this 24 year-old is not the average jazz performer.
“Jazz, by most standards, is an older genre of music, and I have definitely been inspired by jazz artists of the past,” Aubrey said. “But I think my youth and vitality add a modern edge to the music. I approach it with a different background, and I bring fresh interpretations of classic standards that an older artist just couldn’t illustrate on stage. A lot of times, with their maturity, brings a harsher, more cynical outlook on life and love, and while I have experienced my share of hardships, I’m still relatively unaffected and optimistic. I think that shows through in my performances.”
Though barely into her twenties, Aubrey is hardly an amateur to performing and to jazz. Her family raised Aubrey on a steady diet of jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, and Clifford Brown. Those complex rhythms and harmonies implanted themselves in Aubrey’s ear and before long, she was taking jazz voice lessons and participating in several high school choirs and musicals. In her four years at Roxbury High School, Aubrey performed in the elite jazz choir, honor choir, madrigal ensemble, and was selected for regional and all-state choirs, as well as snatching the lead, Adelaide, in Guys and Dolls. At Roxbury, she was also given the opportunity to take private lessons and receive clinics from New York Voices members, Kim Nazarian and Darmon Meader.
Those successes in high school brought her to the University of Miami Vocal Jazz program, where she received a half-tuition scholarship to study under noted professors such as Larry Lapin, Whit Sidener, and Kevin Mahogany. While in Miami, Aubrey snagged steady jazz gigs at Books & Books and at Café Luna and continued to work in New Jersey during school breaks, performing at Patricia's in Randolph, Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, Bruschetta’s in Fairfield, Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange, and Ken's Trackside Restaurant with bands such as City Rhythm, The Gentle Winds Orchestra, and The Tony Nervine Big Band.
“I love jazz because it is the musical style that can be interpreted most freely,” Aubrey said. “In classical music as well as theater, often interpretation of a song is limited to what can fit into the music or what the composer specified to be done. In jazz anything goes! New arrangements, tunes, and styles are coming out all the time and it is how you put your spin on the standards that makes you unique. That freedom for expression and experimentation is what makes jazz the ever changing and always growing art form that it is.”
Since graduation in May 2004, Aubrey has moved back to New Jersey and continued performing in the area, while pressing her debut album, “No Moon At All”, with her quintet. She has been and can be seen at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, the Mohawk House in Sparta, Colors Restaurant & Lounge in West Caldwell, the Boathouse Tavern on Lake Hopatcong, the Tapestry Café in Netcong, Ellias in Blairstown, the Gristmill Café in Andover, Milan Restaurant and Lounge in Pinebrook, The Priory in Newark, The Sidebar in Morristown, the Savoy Grill in Newark, an American Grill in Randolph, and Ora Restaurant in Morristown.
In the summer months she can be seen at the Netcong Park Concert Series, the Mt. Olive Park Concert Series, and The Roxbury Arts Alliance Concert Series by the Lake as well as the Chester Music Festival. In addition to promoting her own group, she performs monthly with the Jazz Players Anonymous Big Band at the Mohawk House in Sparta. Articles have been written about her in numerous papers including the Daily Record, the Star Ledger, the Roxbury Register, and the Montclair Times. She also has performed live on WNTI radio out of Centenary College.
“My biggest goal is just to be successful and respected within the jazz community,” Aubrey said. “True fame may elude me, as it does for most musicians, but I couldn’t fathom my life without performing. Music is such an emotional escape for me, and I love being on stage to watch the faces of my audience. It’s amazing to see how the music I make affects them as much as it affects me.”