vanessa rubin

Vanessa Rubin is one of the most gifted jazz vocalists of her generation. The Cleveland singer aims for the “Quiet Storm” sound of such stylish divas as Phyllis Hyman, Jean Carne and Anita Baker, and Rubin’s voice has the languid sensuality and surpassing technique to tackle these songs of adult romance.
— The Washington Post

Rubin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She achieved her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Ohio State University. She received a standing ovation for her performance of “God Bless the Child” while competing in the Miss Black Central Ohio Contest, which convinced her that her true calling was to sing in the jazz tradition. Soon after she moved to New York City in 1982, she performed at Sweet Basil and the Village Vanguard with the Pharoah Sanders Quartet. She then began to study with pianist Barry Harris at his Jazz Cultural Theatre. Since that time she has worked with an impressive list of musicians, including Kenny Barron, Lionel Hampton, the Mercer Ellington Orchestra, Cecil Bridgewater, Etta Jones, Toots Thielemans, Steve Turre,Cedar Walton, and Grover Washington, Jr. More recently she has completed international tours with Herbie Hancock, the Woody HermanOrchestra, and the Jazz Crusaders.

In 1992 she signed with the Novus label, and her releases for the label are quite enjoyable, including a fine tribute to Carmen McRae, I'm Glad There Is You: A Tribute to Carmen McRae (1994), the ballad-dominated set does have a reasonable amount of variety, Rubin gets off some fine scatting on "Yardbird Suite" and she introduces an excellent original in "No Strings Attached."  A variety of guests including Grover Washington, Jr., Frank Foster,Antonio Hart, Cecil Bridgewater, Kenny Burrell and Monty Alexander. Pastiche (1993) assisted by a fine rhythm section and such sidemen as trumpeters E.J. Allen and Cecil Bridgewater, trombonist Steve Turre, and (on one song) tenorman Houston Person, Rubin expertly interprets the lyrics with both honest emotion and swing, occasionally scatting in unison or in counterpoint with the horns. She delivers everything from honey-laden ballads purring like a kitten, to up-tempo swinging and scatting like a saxophone.