Born: January 16 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Andrea Wolper has been described as a giant singer (In Tune International) with an inventive, thrilling, appealing musical vision (Blogcritics) who “brings songs to life, whatever their source, working in a milieu that begins with jazz and reaches out to embrace an expressive area that is uniquely her own (International Review of Music). Mixing genres, crossing boundaries, as accomplished and at home with the Great American Songbook as she is with spontaneous improvisation, Andrea approaches all her music with an adventurous, open spirit. Her original songs, as well as her unusual arrangements of standards and music from a variety of genres and sources, reveal a dynamic, singular musical sensibility that reaches audiences beyond category.
Andrea's quintet CD, Parallel Lives (Jazzed Media) received stellar reviews upon its release in late 2011, and was included in three end-of- year critics' lists; her 2005 release, The Small Hours (VarisOne.Jazz), also earned high critical praise. Andrea leads The Andrea Wolper Trio/Qt., appearing in her New York home base and touring nationally and internationally. She's also a member of TranceFormation (with Connie Crothers and Ken Filiano), is a member of The Heavenly Big Band, and has appeared as a guest artist with numerous other jazz and improvising ensembles. She teaches vocal technique, and leads workshops for vocalists and for all musicians on using improvisation as a tool for releasing music with spontaneity and freedom. She is a former president of International Women in Jazz and was on the Advisory Board of the Jazz Vocal Coalition. She is listed as one of The 521 Great Jazz Singers in Scott Yanow's The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide.
photo by Michael Keel Andrea appears in clubs, festivals and concert halls in the U.S. and internationally. New York performance credits include Dizzy's Club Coca- Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center), JVC New York Jazz Festival, Kitano, Sweet Rhythm, 55 Bar, Cornelia Street Café, Zinc Bar, Makor, The Stone, Iridium, and more; she appeared by special invitation in A Singers Celebration at the Blue Note in New York, joining an impressive roster of jazz vocalists. Appearances across the U.S. and abroad include yearly tours in Germany, Donne in Musica Festival (Italy), Centro Cultural de Belem (Portugal), Jazz at the Cape (South Africa), Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, Jazz on the Plazz (CA), Dizzy's (San Diego), and performances on numerous other concert and festival stages.
Parallel Lives, Andrea's newest recording (Jazzed Media) features her working group with guitarist Michael Howell, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Ken Filiano, and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson. Her 2005 CD, The Small Hours (VarisOne.Jazz), built around her trio with guitarist Ron Affif and bassist Ken Filiano, was produced by Todd Barkan, and features drummers Victor Lewis and Jamey Haddad, and guest artists Lou Marini (flute) and Frank London (trumpet and flugelhorn). One of her original songs from that album, Not Sleeping in Your Arms, is the 3rd-most downloaded track of all time at AllAboutJazz.com. Andrea's 1998 self- titled debut CD was also praised in music industry journals and has been the subject of radio feature presentations.
Andrea is one third of the improvising trio TranceFormation, with Filiano and renowned pianist Connie Crothers; the trio's live concert CD will be released in 2012. Objects in Mirror, with Adam Caine (guitar), Fung Chern Hwei (violin), and Ken Yamazaki (percussion), is a quartet blending improvisation, compositions, and text. Andrea has been a featured vocalist in Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band for ten years, and has appeared as a guest artist with numerous other small and large ensembles.
Andrea loves teaching. She offers private singing lessons in her studio, as well as clinics in essentials/coaching for jazz vocalists and on releasing music with freedom and spontaneity. She is a past President of International Women in Jazz, and served on the Advisory Board of the Jazz Vocal Coalition.
She is also an accomplished writer whose journalism and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. Among her works are two books, Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives (with Julie S. Peters: Routledge) and The Actor's City Sourcebook (Watson-Guptill). In addition, Andrea has spent time on the stage, and first came to New York from her native California to attend the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Andrea earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate. She is a human rights activist, and an advisor to Women Mentor Women.
Refusing, in utterly refreshing ways, to follow each song's furrowed emotional path, she instead opens them up for wider examination, demonstrating that for each yin there is a yang. . . . the album's finest evocation of dichotomous sentiments is Wolper's own aThe Girls in Their Dresses,a where the arrogance of youthful infallibility crashes against the reality of fear, dissillusonment and underachievement. . . --Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
. . . what a delivery! Wolper sounds as if she's singing just for you . . . she's come up with one of the strongest and most interesting vocal efforts of the year. --Dan McClenaghan, AllAboutJazz.com
I can’t begin to count the number of 'girl singer' discs that arrive here during a typical month. . . Andrea Wolper’s standout set is a disc everyone should hear. She’s got a warm and versatile voice . . . she’s a terrific arranger, taking new paths rather than expected ones. . . and she’s a composer as well. . . Moreover, she’s a talented program builder, picking good but not overexposed tunes. . . Her band is tight, consisting of musicians who can be part of the whole or set out in a blaze of glory on a solo riff. The sound that conveys all of this talent is warm and focused, and it presents a stage that has appealing depth. . . This one’s a winner; don’t let it pass you by. --Rad Bennett, GoodSound.com
Andrea Wolper takes risky, but worthy shots at amping up the entire experience, without taking away from the emotional curiosity and thrill that are intrinsically her landscape. . . She has the captivating energy and chops necessary to keep up the pace, be it low and slow, quick- fire, or all emotive points in between. And then some. --Carol Banks Weber, Examiner.com
'Not Sleeping in Your Arms' is quite striking. It's [a] Wolper original, one that succeeds on the strength of its ambiguously constrained sexuality (It was lovely not sleeping in your arms), suggesting, perhaps, a lack of constraint to come. Strong contributions from both Affif and Filiano on the track. 'Moanin'' is, perhaps, the program's most drastic revision. Wolper slows it down to a bluesy crawl and exlores its possibilities as an anguished plaint. --Alan Bargebuhr, Cadence
The Small Hours (VarisOne.Jazz, 2005)
Andrea Wolper (1998)
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact email@example.com. Thank you.
Willing to teach:
I do coaching and teach vocal technique in my home studio in Brooklyn (or can travel to your home or studio, by arrangement). Lessons are tailored to meet the specific needs of each student, from beginner to advanced. Lessons in vocal technique focus on healthy singing, developing a natural sound, building range, etc. Coaching helps you develop your performance and interpretive abilities, and can also include focus on repertoire, finding keys, arrangements, leading a band, etc. My approach is always supportive, encouraging, and non-judgmental. Singing is a joyful act! www.andreawolper.com/teaching "Andrea is a complete professional with the pipes to back it up. She has the gift of voice and a even greater gift for being able to share that gift with others through her teaching techniques. What a wonderful experience to work with her!! " - Tia
Our musical journeys are lifelong opportunities to learn and develop. As long as we're making music we're improving technique and adding to a storehouse of musical knowledge. Yet sometimes we find ourselves so concerned about "correctness" that our musical expression becomes constricted. We want to stretch, yet when we try something new or challenging we may become inhibited by the fear of making mistakes or being embarrassed. When this happens, we lose the vital connection with our musicality. It's hard to express oneself through music if one is thinking about technique, "right notes," sounding "good," making an impression. Two clinics (elements of which can be combined, where appropriate) help participants recapture their joy in music making, all the while asking them to stretch beyond what they already know they can do. We work hard, yet have plenty of room for laughter. Here are brief descriptions; for additional details and participant feedback, please contact me at Music@AndreaWolper.com. 1) Coaching/Essentials for Jazz Vocalists Ideal for high school and college level vocal students, this clinic can be tailored to meet the needs of the students, their level(s) of experience, and the particulars of the program in which they’re enrolled. It may include some or all of the following: • Exercises for strengthening essentials like time, harmony, jazz “vocabulary,” etc. • Working with a band: i.e. determining and communicating rhythmic feel, counting off, cuing, intros and endings, jam session etiquette. • Interpretation and performance: Vocalists sing with accompaniment and receive suggestions they can implement immediately to enhance communication and creative expression, individual sound, and interpretation. This is very hands-on clinic leaves students feeling not only inspired and encouraged but also more in command of themselves as leaders and interpreters of song. 2) Goin' Out of My Head: Releasing Your Inner Music with Spontaneity and Freedom For musicians (instrumentalists and vocalists, improvising or not) who would like to gain greater access to their intuitive musical source, this participatory clinic uses a two-fold approach to help participants get out of their heads and into their bodies/ears so that they can access and release music with greater spontaneity, relaxation, and joy. We explore the relationship between technical knowledge, skill, and creative expression, learn exercises for internalizing and strengthening basics, and utilize spontaneous music-making as a tool for increasing relaxation and opening up creativity. All the exercises are appropriate for musicians at any level and can be repeated by participants on their own or in groups. Incorporated into ongoing practice, these exercises can lead to the surprising discovery that we can do more with our voices/instruments than we imagined. www.andreawolper.com/teaching "I'm amazed at how much I've learned in these workshops. I came to the first one very shy and hesitant but I'm gaining more and more confidence under Andrea's watchful eyes and ears. Her comments and suggestions are very inspirational. Don't know how she does it but she can "zero in" on some aspect of my performance and offer insight into what could make it more meaningful. Forget the saying "Those who can do; those who can't teach," as Andrea can do both and much, much more! " - Diana "I learned much more and a bigger variety of things than I expected. This was a great, comprehensive workshop." -Vanessa "Andrea Wolper’s musical and interpersonal skills are immense and I highly recommend her workshops. I make my living as a music educator and I’ve discovered that one of the biggest challenges is teaching a group of people who have different skill-sets and different expectations. . . . The participants were varied in terms of experience, confidence, goals and musical literacy, yet Andrea managed to accommodate everybody without any perceptible compromise while creating a genuine and lovely sense of community." -Noah