Darden Purcell

DARDEN PURCELL is a Washington D.C. based jazz vocalist. A multi-faceted musician, Ms. Purcell is an active featured soloist with symphony orchestras, big bands and small ensembles, band leader and vocal instructor. Ms. Purcell has shared the stage with many of the world's top jazz artists including Eric Alexander, Terell Stafford, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Chuchito Valdes, Dana Hall, Alan Baylock, Don Heitler, Glenn Wilson, Chip Stephens, Stockton Helbing, Joel Spencer, Darmon Meader, Jeff Helgesen, Jim Carroll, Charlie Young, Chris Vadala, Kenny Rittenhouse, Shawn Purcell, Steve Fidyk, Matt Niess, Dave Detwiler, Joe McCarthy, Wade Beach, Harold Summey, Tom Williams, The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, the Navy Commodores, the Airmen of Note and the American Festival Pops Orchestra (Tony Maiello) performing at concert halls and clubs throughout the nation, including Blues Alley (Washington DC), Pops for Champagne (Chicago), The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis), The Blue Wisp (Cincinnati), Sandler Center (back-up vocals for Ben Folds) Meyerhoff Center (BSO with Ben Folds), Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts (NSO with Ben Folds) and The Kennedy Center (back-up vocals for Mr. George Benson). Dr. Purcell is the Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Voice Instructor and Director of the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble at George Mason University.

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”Darden Purcell’s new recording, “Where the Blue Begins“ is an instant classic that will satisfy both the most sophisticated jazz fan as well as the casual listener. Whether deftly delivering lyrics, or joining the ensemble in intricate musical lines, Darden is completely at ease and in control. She floats effortlessly through a rich fabric of creative arrangements crafted by guitarist, Shawn Purcell. His genius is heard throughout the recording and is joined by an all-star cast of seasoned sidemen. This is music-making at the highest level!”

- Alan Baylock, American composer, arranger and director of the UNT One O'Clock Band

“Darden Purcell's latest CD release “Where the Blue Begins” is a masterful compendium of incredible vocal stylings (lovely lyric sensitivity and swinging vocal solis), wonderful playing from her husband Shawn Purcell on guitar as well as by the entire ensemble and imaginative arrangements that are full of fresh and inventive arrangement ideas! Upon listening to all the tracks I found myself constantly engaged by both the performances, arrangements and eagerly awaiting what was around the next musical turn.”

- Chip McNeill, Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Darden Purcell is clearly a totally hip jazz vocalist; it’s as simple as that! From the DC area, Darden’s vocal talent delivers just what you what to hear: style, interpretation, selection of songs, scatting chops, great vocal and instrumental solos throughout, and a superb instrumental ensemble supporting her with creative and interesting arrangements by Shawn Purcell

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Primary Instrument



Washington, DC

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Director Jazz Studies, Instructor of Jazz Voice and Director of the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble. George Mason University School of Music - Jazz Studies 4400 University Drive, MS 3E3 Fairfax, VA 22153

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