Kristen Lee Sergeant is a fearlessly innovative jazz singer, arranger, and songwriter with a perspective and style all her own. Marrying the craft of an actress with the musicianship of a jazz artist, Sergeant is a performer of imagination and heart. Her 2016 debut, Inside Out, received critical acclaim, most notably the distinction of a Critic’s Pick mention in DownBeat Magazine. The anticipation is palpable for her sophomore record, Smolder, which will be released in February of 2019 (Plastic Sax Records.) Bob Blumenthal, Grammy® award winning author, writes: “A special singer can evoke a thermometer’s span of temperatures while sustaining a singular fire within. Kristen Lee Sergeant is special.”
The electric connection between Kristen and her audience carries over to her recorded work. When Inside Out was released, DownBeat praised 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 speaks of her “effervescent spirit which injects the lyrics with new life.” Bob Blumenthal notes 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, Mark Murphy, Shirley Horne and Rosemary Clooney, she’s found an approach to communicating with the audience and her band that is entirely her own.
Kristen has performed at Birdland, and will return again in March for Smolder’s release concert. In New York City, she has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Zinc Bar, The Iridium, Tomi Jazz, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Le Cirque, and toured in the midwest, singing at Vieux Carre (St. Paul) and The Jazz Estate (Milwaukee).