Quickly becoming one of the most buzzed about jazz singers on the New York scene, Marianne Solivan does not remember an “ah-ha” moment that brought her to the music she has devoted herself to: “I don’t recall having a big moment that made me like jazz. I just dug it.”
It is that same simplicity of statement with its intrinsic honesty that characterizes Solivan’s style. The infallible swing of Ella, the daring of Betty Carter, the matter-of factness of Carmen McRae…They can all be found in the voice of Marianne Solivan, whom trumpeter Jeremy Pelt has called “the modern-day paradigm to which all singers should aspire.”
It is no coincidence that the 2009 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition finalist has graced recital halls, jam sessions and club stages with such noted musicians as Roy Hargrove, Steve Lacy, Jeremy Pelt, Ray Gallon (Ron Carter, Art Farmer, Lionel Hampton, T.S. Monk), Ugonna Ukegwo (Tom Harrell, Jacky Terrason) and Jane Monheit’s sidemen Neal Minor and Michael Kanan.
Born in Queens, New York, Solivan’s family lived in Venezuela and New Jersey before settling in Massachusetts, where she attended high school. Already an alto sax student, it was in secondary school that she began singing seriously, studying classical voice and appearing in musical theater productions. Upon graduating, she entered Boston Conservatory on scholarship with a concentration in musical theater. After her first year in college, Solivan took time off from school and drifted away from singing, not returning for three years. The urge to resume singing lessons and go back to school coincided with her discovery of the voice that would become her greatest influence: Ella Fitzgerald.