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Kristen Lee Sergeant

Kristen Lee Sergeant is a jazz vocalist and composer of effervescent energy, musical intensity and dramatic flair. DownBeat Magazine has given both her albums the distinction of being an Editor’s Pick, citing how she “crafts moments of engaging drama, whether she’s seductively sliding into a note with a near-whisper, delivering a breathy revelation or belting out a lyric with full-throated muscularity.” She commits to telling a story in her music and performance style, while sparking spontaneous sonic conversation with her fellow musicians. Such commitment, and its results, captivate her audiences, whether in live performance or listening to her recordings.

Kristen’s current release, Smolder, is a story of fire — love ignited, ablaze and extinguished. DownBeat critic Bobby Reed writes “This elegant album illustrates what can happen when admirable ambition is paired with vocal vibrancy.” Alongside her inventive arrangements of jazz standards and pop hits, she also makes her debut as a songwriter of originality and craft. “Balm/Burn”, one of the originals, also provides the music for her first music video that has been lauded by pop and jazz critics alike. NeuFutur commented that with this video Kirsten “is able to refresh a storied jazz vocal tradition that traces its way back about 100 years.”

What brought her here is a journey of searching and curiosity that imbues her work with many influences. Growing up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, she devoted herself to theater, and worked professionally through school, graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in music. “I left my high school graduation early, with a costume underneath my robe, for an evening show. Same in college: couldn’t celebrate since there was a matinee that day!” Kristen recalls. She left Brandeis having received the Ira Gershwin Prize in Music.

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Live Performance: “Oh my gosh. That was my immediate reaction to Kristen Lee Sergeant. Oh my gosh, oh my goodness, golly Moses, holy wow. OMG. Those are the thoughts that were going through my head as I watched the jazz set presented by Kristen Lee Sergeant and friends in the Birdland Theater.

Kristen Lee Sergeant has risen to the occasion and has every tool, every skill, every intention of causing inside of her listeners every emotion a person can feel, all of which she achieves in the most splendidly excessive, intricately contained, theatrically subdued knowing sass. She is an enigmatic ball of fire, energetically laid back, and cool, oh so cool, from the pointed toe of her pump to last wild curl on her strawberry blonde head.”

BroadwayWorld.com (full review here) Stephen Moser, Cabaret Editor (November, 2019)

On “Smolder”:

“Sergeant’s training as an actress and classical vocalist enable her to craft moments of engaging drama, whether she’s seductively sliding into a note with a near-whisper, delivering a breathy revelation or belting out a lyric with full-throated muscularity… This elegant album illustrates what can happen when admirable ambition is paired with vocal vibrancy.”

DownBeat Magazine Bobby Reed, Editor (Editor’s Pick, March 2019)

“As an arranger Sergeant paints with beauty and perspective…as a singer she balances passion and poise in her uncovering of the song’s hidden angles and inner truths.

…Regardless of what material she’s working with, Sergeant makes her mark by molding a song and owning its intentions with wisdom and clarity…Kristen Lee Sergeant is most certainly deserving of greater recognition.”

All About Jazz Dan Bilawsky (June 2019)

“…Smolder promises to push her rise even further

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Judy Garland
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Carmen McRae
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Mark Murphy
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Nancy Wilson
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Marilyn Maye
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Albums

Smolder

Plastic Sax Records
2019

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Inside Out

Whaling City Sound
2016

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