Skip to Main Content Jump to Main Content Skip to Search Jump to Search
What to Expect When You Visit
What to Expect When You…
Learn More Close Alert Banner
Events

October 8, 2022
|
7:00 pm
8:30 pm

Vanessa Rubin

Revered as both a torchbearer and a storyteller, jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin possesses a voice hailed for crystalline clarity, hearth-like warmth and playful lioness sass. The Cleveland native brings a wealth of diverse influences to her vocal performance from both the Trinidadian/Caribbean roots of her mother and traditional jazz by way of her Louisiana-born father. Additional homespun influences include the melodic bell tone clarity of a young Capital Records recording artist, Nancy Wilson, the fire of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, the sweet sounds of trumpeter Blue Mitchell as well as her love of the Motown Sound…especially girl groups like the Supremes.

Rubin’s passion for rich musical stories are evidenced throughout her eight albums thus far plus numerous guest appearances. Highlights include the evocative “Voyager II” from the pen of Teri Thornton, “Inside a Silent Tear” written by Blossom Dearie, a refashioned waltz version of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” lyricized by New York Voices and an arrangement of “Superwoman” by Stevie Wonder inspired by the Ahmad Jamal recording of “Poinciana”. So while she has one foot planted in tradition – sticking close to timeless melodies and exquisite vocal forms – Rubin waxes adventurous, embracing stories lesser told while employing lessons of acclaimed storytellers in song such as Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn and Freddy Cole. Additionally, Rubin continues to back her way into The Blues with an urgent appreciation for soulful mentors like Etta Jones and Irene Reid.

Vanessa’s journey to becoming a jazz singer could be said to have begun at an early age. She was characterized by her mother as always being “a very vocal child,” and knew Vanessa would, “do something with that big ol’ mouth of hers.” Coming from parents who valued academia, discipline and hard work, that “something” was meant to be law school. Attaining a BA from the The Ohio State School of Journalism in 1979 was not a disappointment. However, her decision to pursue a career jazz singing did come as a surprise. Vanessa’s fascination with language coupled with her passion for music, especially jazz, pointed her on a collision course toward jazz performance.

Vanessa’s first gigs began around 1980 in small clubs around Cleveland such as Tucker’s Place, Bob’s Toast of the Town, Lancer’s Steak House, Club Isabella, The Native Son and The Teal Lounge. Some early band mates included Wynn Bibbs, Skip Gibson, saxophonist and arranger Willie Smith, Neal Creque, Matthew “Chink” Stevenson and, later, the uniquely soulful organ quartet of The Blackshaw Brothers with Cecil Rucker on vibes. After two years, Rubin was anxious to set her sights on New York where she earnestly and humbly soaked up the tutelage of many veterans like Pharaoh Sanders, Frank Foster and Barry Harris.

In 1992, Rubin signed to Novus/RCA Records recording five albums, three of which reached #1 at radio. Her debut recording Soul Eyes (1992) was produced by the venerable Onaje Allen Gumbs. Now, Rubin continues to be a favorite at jazz clubs and festivals here in the US and abroad. Her work as a producer and educator/clinician with youth in communities as well as in educational institutions worldwide is ongoing.

Keystone Korner Baltimore

$35Premium, $30Regular, $10 Streaming Pass

1350 Lancaster St.
Baltimore, 21231

Visit Baltimore Merch

Show off your Baltimore pride in style with t-shirts, hats and hoodies featuring the Visit Baltimore logo. Plus get your hands on our one-of-a-kind posters.