I was updating my bio and I saw Nikki Yanofsky's name there in my list of past collaborations, and it occurred to me that I had not heard from her in a while. She is an extremely talented young gal in her early teens that made her name (at 15) singing in a big band style with a strong nod to Ella Fitzgerald. Man, she is good, and boy can she scat!!!
I had the chance to play with her for a few concerts including the Vancouver International Jazz Fest a couple years ago, and she was quite the hit. Her new album was being produced by Phil Ramone, but I believe his untimely death sidetracked that.
She was faced with a dilemma- she was tremendously skilled in a music style that was already 60 years old. What's a girl to do to remain relevant and not get pigeonholed?
Nikki is managed by her parents, and they seem to be pretty sweet and well grounded, so in her best interest, her schooling was not neglected and a new musical game plan was devised.
I am not privvy to the inner workings of her life but was pleasantly surprised to see her new video. She pays homage to her mentor Q, and has started down a fun musical path recently mined by artists such as Duffy, Jully Black, and Amy Winehouse. She does get some scatting in, so I am sure she has a real bright future ahead with her new direction......
The band (left to right): Stephen Maxwell (guitar), Aubrey Logan (trombone), Andy Kautz (saxophone), Will Wells (piano), Herbie Hancock (jazz legend), Nikki Yanofsky (vocals and songs), Harry the poodle, Quincy Jones (executive producer), Evan Coniglio (bass), Niv Toar (trumpet) and Al Cleveland III (drums)