Stephanie Nakasian

Review by Willard Manus


Who says teachers can't do? Stephanie Nakasian teaches jazz voice and
improvisation at the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, and at choral, professional and school workshops around the country--but she's also a formidable singer in her own right who has worked with the likes of Jon Hendricks, The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Dick Hyman and Pete Rugolo.

Nakasian's voice, which is pure and clear as sunlight, is showcased on
INVITATION TO AN ESCAPADE, a CD recently released by Chase Music Group. Nakasian, who counts Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker and
Irene Kral as among her influences, pays tribute to their vocal stylings on her new CD. She also tips her hat to such songwriters as Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin and Russ Colombo, masters of the romantic ballad which she loves--and sings- -so well. INVITATION also offers up several numbers written by lesser known composers whose work she admires, including the jazz pianist Keith Jarrett ("Memories of Tomorrow").

All fifteen songs on the CD are voiced by Nakasian with the utmost warmth, feeling and phrasing. She is also backed up admirably by Bob Hallahan on piano, Oaul Langosch on bass, Joe LaBarbera on drums, Steve Brown on guitar, and husband Hod O'Brien on synthesized vibes. The latter also harmonizes with her on the exhilirating "Just For You" cut. Whether going deep, reaching for the heights or scatting, Nakasian is a remarkable singer, a joy to the ear.

(Chase Music Group, 800-724-2730or