All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » John Vance

John Vance John Vance

It could be said that there are two types of jazz singers. Some function as instrumentalists, using the melody and lyrics as mere points of departure before they create abstract improvisations. The other type are those who are storytellers, digging deep into the meaning of the words they sing, paying respect to the composers’ melodies while still making each song their own. John Vance falls into the latter category.

Dreamsville features John’s interpretations of a dozen mostly vintage standards and “If You Go,” a haunting song that he co-wrote with pianist Jeff Colella. “It’s always a challenge when performing songs that have been around a long time, making them contemporary, fresh, and interesting, rather than rehashing someone else’s arrangement.” For this set, Vance is joined by Colella (who contributed the arrangements), bassist Trey Henry and drummer Kendall Kay, with two appearances by guest trumpeter-flugelhornist Stacy Rowles and three by guitarist Larry Koonse, who accompanies Vance perfectly on “My Foolish Heart.”

The melodies on Dreamsville, which include such standards as “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You,” “Invitation,” “Better Than Anything” and “Speak Low,” may be familiar but the interpretations are modern, heartfelt, and full of subtle surprises. Vance’s warm voice, which sometimes recalls that of Mel Torme in its tone, brings out the beauty and deep meanings in the lyrics. “My sentimental favorite on the CD is “Bluesette,” since I used to sing it for my daughter. I remember that Kendall Kay was messing around on the drums before we were going to record “Darn That Dream” and came up with a catchy funk groove. I was going to record a much more traditional version of that song but we liked Kendall’s rhythm so well that we thought it would be fun to use it. That’s why I like working with these guys; they keep on coming up with unexpected ideas.” Another surprise is “Dreamsville,” which proves to be quite effective in 5/4 time. Throughout the CD, Vance gives a great deal of warmth and understanding to the words he sings while swinging lightly.

Read more


Album Review
Read more articles
“He has a jazz sensibility that sets him apart from the others.” --All About Jazz

“...Vance reveals his background as an actor and delivers an emotional reading worthy of an Oscar nomination.” --Jazz Review

“Light and comfortable... Vance turns each piece into a gentle caress.” --LA Jazz Scene

“He deserves a wide, appreciative audience.” --Cadence Magazine


Album Dreamsville by John Vance


Erawan Records

Album It's All Right With Me by John Vance

It's All Right With Me

Erawan Records



Chet Baker Chet Baker
Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves
voice / vocals
Lena Horne Lena Horne
voice / vocals
Carmen McRae Carmen McRae
voice / vocals
Karrin Allyson Karrin Allyson
voice / vocals
Johnny Hartman Johnny Hartman
voice / vocals
Sheila Jordan Sheila Jordan
voice / vocals
The Manhattan Transfer The Manhattan Transfer
voice / vocals
Diane Schuur Diane Schuur
voice / vocals
Fay Claassen Fay Claassen
voice / vocals
Andy Bey Andy Bey
Beat Kaestli Beat Kaestli
voice / vocals
Connie Evingson Connie Evingson
voice / vocals
Kevin Mahogany Kevin Mahogany
voice / vocals
Jacqui Naylor Jacqui Naylor
voice / vocals

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.