Academic Partners – Each year the Ella Fitzgerald Competition selects an academic partner from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area to cross-promote our educational programming. The Nation’s Capital possesses a significant number of academic partners that excel under the jazz education pedagogy including both vocal and instrumental programming. Our 2022 academic partner will be the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia is under the musical direction Mr. James Carroll.
Action Dates – The commencement for all registrants will occur on November 1, 2022 and conclude on January 31, 2023. Judges will review and arbitrate all vocal submissions with their subsequent deadline to decide and to reduce our audio submissions to five finalists no later than February 28th. Each registrant shall receive a confirmation upon receipt of registry.
Deadline – All registrant submissions shall be aggregated by our third party Program Coordinator; processed and distributed to our three independent judges who shall then adjudicate each submission according to a codified list of vocal protocols. This process will commence on February 28th and the results released the first week of March, 2023.
Darden Purcell is an active featured soloist with symphony orchestras, big bands and small ensembles, band leader and vocal instructor. Ms. Purcell has shared the stage with many top jazz artists including Eric Alexander, Terell Stafford, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Jim Pugh, Alan Baylock, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Darmon Meader, Jim Carroll Charlie Young, Chris Vadala, Glenn Wilson, Shawn Purcell, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, US Navy Band Commodores, USAF Airmen of Note, US Army Blues and the American Festival Pops Orchestra, performing at concert halls and clubs nationally and internationally, including Blues Alley (DC), Club Bonafide (NYC), Bop Stop, JazzB (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Kitchen Cafe, Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts (NSO) and The Kennedy Center (back-up vocals for Mr. George Benson, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and Caroline Shaw). Dr. Purcell is the Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University.
Blessed with “a voice of phenomenal beauty” (Stephen Holden, New York Times), Jane Monheit has had plenty of milestone moments in establishing herself as one of today’s best and most important vocalist-musicians.
With her new album, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald—the first to be released on her own Emerald City Records—the Long Island native has surprised even herself with her artistic leap. Jane had thought about recording an Ella tribute for a long time. Fitzgerald’s beloved songbook albums held “Biblical” importance for her when she was growing up andhave never lost their hold on her.
On this new offering, Monheit pays joyous tribute to Ella while sharing a definitive portrait of herself, guided by her producer, arranger, and trumpet great, Nicholas Payton. Once she decided to make the dream project a reality, she had no trouble choosing titles. She jotted down a list of 25 titles “almost immediately.” She and Payton each narrowed the choices to a dozen and settled on the final list together.
“We met in the middle in a lot of ways,” Monheit says. “It all came down to trust. I had no idea what to expect from Nicholas because we had never worked together, but it was evident from the start that he is a sensitive soul and his knowledge and understanding of history was beyond compare. I felt an instant trust in him I had never felt before with any other producer.”
“This record is really different,” she adds. “It’s the first I’ve made a recording without a label and so I was able to make all the decisions myself. Honestly, when I listened back to the takes, I heard a different singer than I’ve heard before—a more mature one. It was a little scary because there’s a certain raw quality to some of the vocals but we gave no thought to fixing them. These were the vocals of a 38-year-old woman with a lot of life experience. These tracks really express who I am.”