Vertical Voices’ debut CD Fourward says it all. With their innovative and adventurous approach to jazz, these four accomplished vocalists, arrangers and educators have combined forces and are taking the vocal jazz world by storm.
After releasing their critically acclaimed album Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider in 2010, Julia Dollison (soprano) and Kerry Marsh (tenor) asked Jennifer Barnes (alto) and Greg Jasperse (bass) to form a vocal quartet that first focused primarily on performing Schneider’s music live. They soon realized however, that they shared something much deeper. They were bound by a shared love for contemporary harmonies, extreme musical challenges and the experience of making music together. Before long the group expanded their repertoire to include their original compositions as well as arrangements of music by Pat Metheny, the Yellowjackets, Nando Lauria, Imogen Heap and other contemporary jazz and pop influences.
Vertical Voices are all four musicians first. With the combination of their wordless vocals, expansive range and prolific improvisation, they venture into artistic territory usually reserved for instrumentalists.
Vertical Voices has performed at many major festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada.In January they headlined the closing concert of the 2014 Jazz Education Network conference in Dallas. Most recently they launched their first annual Vertical Voices Vocal Jazz Festival in Rochelle, Illinois.
Hailing from three legendary collegiate vocal jazz programs (Western Michigan University, University of Miami and University of North Texas), they now spend their non-Vertical time living out their commitment to vocal jazz education. Kerry and Julia teach at the University of Northern Colorado; Jennifer heads the vocal jazz program at the University of North Texas; and Greg heads the vocal jazz program at Western Michigan University.