THIS CD WON CONSIDERATION FOR GRAMMY NOMINATION AS BEST JAZZ VOCAL 2002!!! 'This singer has a fistful of jazz and world rhythms in her pocket and some glorious songs in her soul. Catch her now'! Gene Santoro, New York Daily News LENORA ZENZALAI (Zen-Zay-Lay)HELM; former U.S. Jazz Ambassador, Vocal Musician, Composer, Lyricst, Teaching Artist and Jazz Educator hails from Chicago, IL. Her first instrument was trumpet, leading to studies on piano, organ, guitar and voice. After becoming the first African-American woman to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Music and Composition and Voice from Boston's Berklee College of Music, she moved to New York City and quickly became sought after on the music scene. 'Lenora Zenzalai Helm possesses an astonishing voice...she improvises harmonic changes with undeniable ingenuity...' Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post Her versatility afforded her performing, recording and/or touring stints with pop and R&B artists such as Freddie Jackson, Michael Franks and Cissy Houston. She is a member of the critically acclaimed R&B group SEPIA with many recordings to their credit. Jazz being her love, she made her rounds at the late night jazz jam sessions. She was soon invited to guest perform and record with many jazz notables and formed her own group. She has recorded with jazz notables bassist Ron Carter, pianist Stanley Cowell, saxophonist Dave Liebman and Branford Marsalis; has performed with pianist Donald Brown, pianist Andrew Hill, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, pianist Junior Mance, saxophonist Donald Harrison and many others, For the last decade Helm has headlined her trio in jazz venues and festivals, and on televison and radio in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and The Carribbean. She also continues to perform as a session singer in NYC in studio sessions and singing jingles. 'A blend of wiry strength and ethereal charm that set her apart from the female vocalists crowding the jazz scene...' Lloyd Sachs, The Chicago Sun Times COMPOSER AND LYRICIST A prolific and published composer and arranger, Ms. Helm has works commissioned for vocal and instrumental ensembles, ranging from duo to orchestral settings in a variety of styles. Artists in jazz, R&B and pop genres have recorded her compositions. Awards include funding from Meet The Composer to present new works in concert. Forays into theatrical writing include the off-Boradway musical play, 'The Sun & The Moon Live In the Sky', writing, arranging and directing a small orchestra and voices to rave reviews. As a Lyricist, she has received favorable accolades from critics and peers. Recent collaborations include the compositions of noted jazz composers Wayne Shorter, Andrew Hill and Branford Marsalis. 'Lenora Zenzalai Helm is a singer with all the right stuff; a musician in the broadest and most complete definition of the word with an expansive vision that subsumes category. The breadth of her expression is staggering...her technical prowess is phenomenal.. superb arranging skills...thoughtful composer. (She) has plenty in her arsenal of talents.' Pianist, Stanley Cowell, (Professor of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University) FORMER U.S. JAZZ AMBASSADOR In 1998 Lenora was elected by national audition to represent the United States abroad as a 1998-1999 U.S. Jazz Ambassador. The program was joint effort by the State Department and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Helm's duo was sent to foster recognition and awareness of American jazz abroad and provide an opportunity for cultural exchange. The tour included East and Southeastern Africa, with public and private concerts, master classes in schools and universities and workshops with local musicians in Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Madagascar. Lenora continues to travel abroad performing and sharing information about American jazz. TEACHING ARTIST AND JAZZ EDUCATOR Lenora is a Teaching Artist for Carnegie Hall and a Jazz Educator for Young Audiences of New York, providing educational workshops and residencies to grades K-12 in New York Public Schools. In addition she heads a Vocal Jazz Department at Cultural Arts Performing Arts High School in Syosset, NY. She participated as a panelist of artists, educators and publishers, (which included poet Nikki Giovanni and author Gloria Naylor), that co-authored a manual on Successful Artist-Residencies in Public Schools and After-School Programs. She lectures and gives clinics on a variety of subjects pertaining to jazz history, jazz vocal performance, general music appreciation and the music business. She also provides vocal production and performance technique as a resident guest artist with the Def Dance Jam Workshop (DDJW). DDJW is a group of performers which brings deaf, physically challenged and hearing youth, teen and young adults together in non-competitive environments. She has served as DDJW's music director and composer, creating original music for the company's live performances. 'Lenora Zenzalai Helm is a highly imaginative, adventurous musician who likes to write lyrics and reconstruct familiar songs to reflect her thoughts and feelings. Singer, composer, arranger and lyricist, Ms. Helm uses all of her exceptional gifts to push the envelope and make very personal statements with her music.' Dr. Billy Taylor.
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