Academic Partners – Blues Alley is revolutionizing our approach to the jazz vocal pedagogy by rotating judges affiliated with major academic institutions, music schools, and conservatories. Each year the competition will include noted vocal academicians to critique and judge those vocal submissions that may not otherwise have exposure to veteran industry professionals. Past judges have represented Howard, Syracuse, George Washington, SUNY-Purchase, George Mason and Towson State Universities. The 2024 faculty will be the members of the New York Voices: Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, and Kim Nazarian,
Action Dates – The commencement for all registrants will occur on November 1, 2023 and conclude on January 31, 2024 at 12 noon East Coast Time. Judges will review and arbitrate all vocal submissions with their subsequent deadline to decide and to reduce our audio submissions to five finalists in the beginning of March.
Deadline – All registrant submissions shall be aggregated by our third party Program Director; processed and distributed to our four independent judges who shall then adjudicate each submission according to a codified list of vocal protocols. The results will be announced the beginning of March, 2024 and the finalists will be contacted about submitted videos.
New York Voices
For years Peter Eldridge has remained at the forefront of both the singer-songwriter and jazz realms as a vocalist, pianist, composer, and arranger. He has four critically acclaimed albums: Stranger in Town, Fool No More, Decorum, and Mad Heaven. His latest studio project, Disappearing Day, was released in July 2016 on Sunnyside Records and called “an out and out masterpiece” by allaboutjazz. Disappearing Day made many ‘best of the year’ lists, including Downbeat, Jazziz, and NPR. Some of Peter’s current projects include his first full-fledged musical with the working title of ‘The Woman in Question’, co-written with Chicago playwright Cheryl Coons about the life, loves, and art of Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt; an upcoming recording of ballads with string orchestra and jazz trio, featuring pianist/arranger Kenny Werner and cellist Eugene Friesen, and Foolish Hearts, an acoustic duo featuring Peter with bassist Matt Aronoff. In addition, Peter was head of the Manhattan School of Music’s jazz voice department for eighteen years and is now part of the voice faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is regularly in demand for workshops and masterclasses both domestically and internationally, in topics ranging from vocal technique and song interpretation to songwriting and arranging.
Vocalist and composer Lauren Kinhan has been creating genre-merging music for years as evidenced on her four solo CD’s, Circle in a Square, Avalon and Hardly Blinking and her most recent all standard collection, A Sleepin’ Bee. You’ll also hear her offerings evidenced in the New York Voices’ family of sound. Lauren joined the adjunct faculty at NYU in 2018, co-directing the Vocal Jazz and Contemporary Vocal Ensemble “Village Voices” with The Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel. She served on the Board of Governors for the Recording Academy’s NY Chapter from 2008-2010. Lauren is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.
Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a highly respected vocalist, arranger and saxophonist. Darmon has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, producer, saxophonist, and vocalist with New York Voices. Darmon has been the guest conductor for numerous All-State Jazz Ensembles and has made artist-in-residence appearances at various schools, including Northwestern University, University of Louisville, University of Miami, Humber College, Columbia College, University of Georgia and University of North Texas. Darmon has also taught at numerous domestic and international music workshops including the Inzigkoven Vocal Jazz Workshop in Germany, various IAJE Teacher’s Training Institutes, the Western Michigan University Vocal Jazz Camp, the Vocal Pop & Jazz Days workshop in the Netherlands, the Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp and the NYV Vocal Jazz Camps. Many of Darmon’s choral, vocal jazz, and instrumental arrangements are available through the following publishers: Carl Fischer Music, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard, Alfred Music, Belwin Mills and UNC JazzPress.
Kim Nazarian is a world renowned, Grammy nominated jazz performing and recording artist, educator and clinician. Besides her work as a sought-after solo vocalist, she has been performing all over the world with the vocal group, “New York Voices“ (NYV), for more than 35 years. She is a jazz voice teacher for Vocal Jazz Majors at both Ithaca College and SUNY Fredonia. She also shares her perspectives on music and life as a musician, teaching private students in her own personal studio as well as offering clinics, workshops, and masterclasses, adjudicating festivals, participating in jazz camps and guest conducting for singers on all levels in the US and abroad.