When the L.A. Jazz Choir was founded in 1978 by Dr. Gerald Eskelin, no one anticipated that its very first album, Listen, would be nominated for a Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Group Performance category, but when two years later its second album, From All Sides, was also nominated, the L.A. Jazz Choir knew it was on to something.
A European tour quickly followed, and along with it, invitations to sing at the Hollywood Bowl, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, major jazz festivals, including the Montreaux and North Sea Jazz Festivals, and other highly prestigious concerts, conventions and jazz series.
As the only known large professional vocal jazz ensemble, the group consists of six women and six men, dedicated to unique interpretations of classic big-band/swing music as well as mainstream and avant-garde vocal jazz.
In 1990, the Rodgers/Hart/Hammerstein album which the L.A. Jazz Choir recorded with Rosemary Clooney made it to Billboard's Jazz charts; Clooney has invited the group on numerous occasions to sing at her celebrated Singers' Salute to the Songwriters which have featured such stars as: Liza Minelli, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Crawford, Peggy Lee, and many others.
The L.A. Jazz Choir celebrated its 10th anniversary by performing the world premiere of the jazz cantata The Green House by Milcho Leviev and Scott Guy. In 1996, they were invited to sing at the Western Division convention of the American Choral Directors Association. The following year they appeared at the national ACDA convention in San Diego.
In 1998, the group "retired" after two decades of educating, concertizing, and recording. During its history, more than a hundred singers participated in the workshop and/or the performing group. A substantial number of "alums" are now working as professional vocalists, some performing with well-known groups, many following solo careers and/or studio singing. Judging from the feedback, the musical influence of the L.A. Jazz Choir continues today.
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