Primary Instrument: Vocalist
It is undeniable that some voices were simply made for jazz, and Pamela Joy has one of those voices. Like some of the genre’s most beloved and beguiling singers, she combines a velvety sound with a gift for understatement.
It’s that pleasing combination - a warm, intimate sound and cool, unpretentious style - that has won Pamela fans among a notoriously hard to please group: jazz musicians. They praise her hip approach to timing, her intimate way with lyrics, and her innate ability to swing with the best of them.
A longtime San Francisco resident, Pamela Joy made her public singing debut in the San Francisco Cabaret Competition. Though new to the stage, she charmed the crowd and the judges, advancing through two rounds into the finals.
Formal jazz studies followed, primarily at The Jazzschool in Berkeley, where she took classes and workshops from the likes of Kurt Elling, Tierney Sutton, Mimi Fox, Sheila Jordan and Wesla Whitfield.
Any emerging vocalist is bound to draw comparisons to other singers. Pamela inevitably brings to mind the old-school vocalists. She sings with a graceful simplicity reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto, Chet Baker, or even Blossom Dearie. Her honeyed sound recalls the sensuousness of Peggy Lee or Julie London. Stylistically, she has much in common with June Christy and Anita O’Day.
Pamela has performed at some of the Bay Area’s premier music venues, including The Plush Room, the Herbst Theatre, Jazz at Pearl’s and The Jazzschool. Her CD I Thought About You, dubbed “a very fine debut album” by KCSM’s Jesse “Chuy” Varela, was recently repackaged for release in Japan by Vivid Sound, and two of the CD’s tracks were picked up for a new High Note compilation called Late Afternoon Jazz Voices.