Kristen Lee Sergeant‘s emergence on the NYC jazz scene has branded this innovative artist with a distinct musicality, an intuitive sense of vocal phrasing, fresh lyrical interpretations, and arrangements all her own – and the word is spreading nationally. Jay Edwards, WCLK-FM Atlanta’s On-Air Jazz Tones host says “Sergeant takes your breath away as an effervescent spirit whose superb vocals and phrasing inject the lyrics with new life.” The Boston Globe was called her “especially entertaining.”
In October, Sergeant debuted the record at Birdand, and the performance spoke to even greater things to come. DOWNBEAT chose her CD as its’ Editors’ Pick (September ‘16) – praising her “buttery to deliciously tart” vocals and “dramatically fresh arrangements.” JAZZIZ writes “she never sacrifices jazz content on interpretations of tunes from evergreens to ‘80’s pop classics.” JAY EDWARDS of WCLK-Atlanta notes her “effervescent spirit which injects the lyrics with new life.” Grammy® winning writer, Bob Blumenthal, says her “superior intonation and control, an interpretive command that ranges from defiance to gentility, a willingness to take risks with harmony and rhythm, the freshness of her arrangements, synchronicity with her accompanists, and the manner in which all these elements yield a supremely musical package.”
Sergeant began her performance journey as a musical and dramatic stage actress, but quickly became enamored with jazz upon her arrival in New York City. She began a regular gig as a big band singer and eventually found her way to smaller ensembles. Inspired by iconic singers as Marilyn Maye, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horne and Rosemary Clooney on recordings, she’s found an approach to communicating with the audience and her band that is entirely her own.
Kristen inspires her band to inhabit their own musicality, never confining great talent to mere accompaniment: pianists David Budway (Mark Murphy, Liza Minelli), Jeb Patton (The Heath Brothers), Jon Davis (Stan Getz, Anat Cohen), Jon Weber (NPR’s “Piano Jazz”), Spencer Day (Billboard & iTunes chart topping jazz singer/songwriter), bassists Neal Caine (Harry Connick, Jr., Betty Carter), Chris Smith (Jeff “Tain” Watts) and guitarist Randy Napoleon (Freddy Cole).
In addition to Birdland, Kristen has been heard at NYC’s Le Cirque Cafe, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Iridium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Joe’s Pub, The New York Public Library, Zinc Bar, Tomi Jazz and more. She was the winner of the NY Jazz Arts Forum Jazz Vocal Competition in 2014. With this release, she is poised to tour and be heard internationally.