“Jazz is my go-to music; my comfort food,” says Isabel Stover. “As vocal artists there is a need to bear our souls to the world, but at the same time make our music accessible to people. Which is why all these other musical influences that I bring to the table must inform what I do, from my choice in songs to how I sing a particular lyric.” Anyone who listens to Stover’s recording, Her Own Sweet World, released in 2012 would agree. The debut CD is a carousel of jazz standards serving up original arrangements of samba, swing and waltz with a side of blues and pop. Stover’s perfectly balanced tone and mastery of phrasing is the icing. In fearlessly deconstructing musical compositions to their emotional core, Stover’s indelible presence shines through regardless of genre or style.
Her willingness to explore and pursue the various offshoots of traditional jazz is a reflection of her own personal journey, which led her from musical theater performance and a funk/r&b band to classical opera study. Her passion for jazz was ignited after landing a spot in the Oakland Jazz Choir, a 30-voice vocal big band in the San Francisco Bay Area, with whom she regularly performed at the venerable Yoshi’s San Francisco, and many California jazz festivals. She began taking classes at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, and from there had the opportunity to study with many acclaimed vocalists and educators such as Madeline Eastman, Kitty Margolis, Art Lande, and Ledisi, to name a few. Her steadily developing chops took her to many of the great San Francisco music venues such as Anna’s Jazz Island and Avonova. Stover’s musical skills were carefully honed under the direct mentoring of Laurie Antonioli, Pamela Rose and jazz vocalist and composer Stephanie Bruce. Of Stover’s music Bruce says, “It is carefully crafted, and shows both the art and the craft of good singing.”