Artist’s statement: “I was born into music…as early as in the womb, my mother tells me – kicking to the beat while my dad jammed in the basement… piano lessons at age 4… shaking hands at 8 with Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck whose sacred works my dad’s chorus, the NJ Schola Cantorum, performed; being exposed to and singing most of the major oratorios at age 15… meeting Sarah Vaughan backstage at the Ritz and Betty Carter at the Village Vanguard as well as Bill Evans on my 18th birthday whom my father recorded with in college… by my mid 20’s I was singing throughout NYC in Soho, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side learning my craft on the band stand… reaching for Sarah’s range, Ella’s scat, Miles Davis’ tone and Coltrane’s intention. I was not only encouraged, but expected to be a musician, and a well-rounded one at that… one who could compose, play, sing, arrange and educate…”
LAUREN HOOKER is a musician who works throughout the Metropolitan area as a jazz vocalist, pianist, songwriter, lyricist, educator, producer and storyteller. Awarded Honorable Mention as one of AllAboutJazz-NY’s selected Best Vocal CDs in ‘07 for her debut CD: “Right Where I Belong”, and in Royal Stokes’ List of Best Jazz Vocal CDs of ‘10 for “Life of the Music” (Miles High Records), which includes mostly original material, she is also winner of a Jazz Twirlie Award in 2011 for Jazz Vocals from Capradio, Sacramento, CA. Critics from across the nation and abroad have likened her sound to Dianne Reeves, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, Sheila Jordan, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, but with a style uniquely her own and “a voice with its own distinctive character” (AllAboutJazzUK). Her arrangements of jazz standards and original compositions highlight her three octave vocal range and include lyricist credits to instrumental standards by Thelonius Monk, Fats Waller, Charles Mingus, Mal Waldron, Wayne Shorter and Vic Juris. Christopher Louden (JAZZ TIMES) states… “Hooker’s ability to add lyrics to instrumental classics is flat out masterful… (and) as craftswoman of original tunes can hold her own against pretty much any singer-songwriter in the business.” Critics have embraced her as… “a musical renaissance woman, an artist for all seasons to watch for in the coming years” (Jazz Inside Monthly) and a “singer-pianist paving her own unique path far from the territory usually occupied by jazz vocalists.” (JazzReview.com)
Ms. Hooker has appeared on a number of television shows including NJN Public Television’s State of the Arts: “Abstractions in Music, Art and Theater” filmed live at the Cape May Jazz Festival and on BCAT “Brooklyn Sings, Brooklyn Swings Series” shown throughout the five boroughs. She has been featured on numerous radio stations across the country and abroad including WBGO’s Singer’s Unlimited with Michael Bourne and WKCR 89.9 in NYC with Sharif Abdus-Salaam, and has performed and/or recorded with some of the best in the business: Rufus Reid, Allen Farnham, Tim Horner, Mike Richmond, Vic Juris, Bucky Pizzarelli, Reggie Workman and Billy Holiday’s former pianist, Mal Waldron to name a few. She has appeared in many NYC venues including The Jolly Madison Hotel, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club, Barry Harris’ Jazz Cultural Theatre, The International Women in Jazz Festival, Greenwich Village Jazz Festival, The 55 Bar, Sweetwaters and St. Peter’s Jazz Vespers. In NJ she has performed at the Cape May Jazz Festival, The Puffin Cultural Forum, Barron Art Center, Trumpets, Montclair’s Women in Jazz Festival, and The Jazz Series at Two Rivers Theater in Red Bank to name a few.
Legendary Jazz Bassist, Rufus Reid, writes in his liner notes (Life of the Music Fall ‘10) “Lauren Hooker’s voice possesses a myriad of colors that successfully embraces this ambitious and eclectic program. Her voice is rich, robust, and full of emotion that only experience can bring… a close-up view of Lauren’s broad musical scope and fine musicianship…” AllAboutJazz states: “Life Of The Music, with its engaging original material and intelligently crafted covers, might just get plenty of people hooked on Lauren Hooker.“ In regards to her debut CD, Scott Yanow from JAZZ IMPROV NY states… “a skilled scatter, talented lyricist and songwriter…intriguing, impressive…”
A graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Music Education Degree and a Concentration in Theater, Lauren is a former music teacher at the acclaimed Bank Street School in NYC and several Montessori Schools throughout the region. She is dedicated to the education of young and old alike, conducting jazz vocal workshops, teacher training symposiums, as well as group and private music lessons. She also performs regularly as a storyteller and musician via her Arts in Education Company: Musical Legends, LLC, that includes a Jazz 4 Kids show featured twice in WBGO’s Children’s Jazz Series, as well as Native American, African, Chinese and Brazilian stories with original and traditional music: teaching cultures through the arts and arts through the cultures.