February 3, 2014

Jazz Guest Artist Wears Many Hats

Nicole Yarling February 27

Genre-defying jazz singer, violinist, and fiddler Nicole Yarling is coming for a weeklong residency with the music department at the Green Music Center from February 24-27. Her activities will include lectures on improvisation, an appearance at Wednesday's Jazz Forum and a concert with the SSU Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Orchestra. Her visit is made possible through arrangements by Doug Leibinger, director of Jazz Studies.

Nicole will sing "Everything I've Got Belongs To You, "Blame It On My Youth," and Neil Young's "Down By The River" with the SSU Jazz Orchestra. With the combos she will work on tunes like "Del Sasser," "Freedom Jazz Dance," and Brian Blade's "Stoner Hill."

Yarling, a protégé of the late Joe Williams, currently performs throughout South Florida in jazz, rock, r&b, experimental music, and various other styles. Her education is extensive, ranging from a BA in Music from Baruch College, to a Masters in Music Education at Columbia University, as well as private training in composition, arranging, voice and violin.

Besides performing, Nicole uses her various music skills today to conduct master classes and give vocal lessons. She is on the music faculty of Florida Memorial University.

For information about her residency contact Doug Leibinger, jazz program director, or Dolores Bainter, administrative analyst.


Wednesday, February 26
1 p.m. GMC 1029
Jazz Forum
Free, parking fees in effect

Thursday, February 27
7:30 p.m. Weill Hall
Nicole Yarling with the
SSU Jazz Standards Ensemble, Dave Scott, director
SSU Post-Bop Ensemble, Kasey Knudsen, director
SSU Jazz Orchestra, Doug Leibinger, director

Tickets are $15, parking included, with discounts for seniors and students. Admission is free to SSU students with ID.

Online ticket purchase is encouraged. For ticketing details call the university box office at 707-664-4246.

Weill Hall at the Green Music Center is located at the north campus entrance at Rohnert Park Expressway near Petaluma Hill Road. Park in lots O and L. Campus map.


Everything I've Got Belongs To You

My Baby Thinks He's A Train

Monday, Feb 24

1:00-3:40 PM – Rehearsal w/Combos – GMC 1029/1028

Tuesday, Feb 25

9:25-10:35 AM – Guest Lecture: Improvisation II – GMC 1029

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM – Guest Lecture: Improvisation IV – GMC 1029

Wednesday, Feb 26

1:00-3:00 PM – Jazz Forum – GMC 1029

4:00-5:45 PM – Guest Lecture Jazz History – GMC 1057

7:00-9:40 PM – Jazz Orchestra Rehearsal – Weill Hall

Thursday, Feb 27

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM – Private Lessons

5:30-7:00 PM – Sound Check – Weill Hall

7:30 PM – Concert w/Combos & Jazz Orchestra – Weill Hall

All events are open to the public.



To a certain extent, Nicole Yarling defies definition. Her myriad of personal influences have created a product that begs attention across the board — no one genre can keep her. Her chosen instruments are Voice, Violin, and Fiddle (in that order). Nicole is a rich velvet voice embroidered with technical skill and personality to boot! She is a rising star in the jazz community who, like many others, has been at it for years.

Born and raised in and around Brooklyn, New York, a musical household laid the groundwork for Nicole’s career. She was inspired very early by her father, who played jazz organ and piano, and her father’s records, which all made an impact on Nicole’s musical tastes: Artists such as Etta James, Miles Davis, Stuff Smith, J.J. Johnson and Sonny Rollins, the Beatles and Motown classics were in regular rotation. As early as age nine, Nicole would “jam” on the violin with her father. It was then that she caught “the bug” to perform for a living. Aside from the familial influences, Nicole’s education is extensive, ranging from a BA in Music from Baruch College, to a Masters in Music Education at Columbia University, as well as private training in composition, arranging, voice and violin. She uses her various music-skills today to conduct Master Classes and give vocal lessons.

Nicole moved to Florida in 1980, and has created quite a buzz. According to the Miami Sun-Sentinel, “every musical hat fits Nicole Yarling.” For more than a decade, she has been a part of South Florida’s musical world as a singer and violinist, working in jazz, rock, r&b, experimental music, and a few other styles that defy description. Nicole’s musical excursions have brought about stints with Dizzy Gillespie, and three years on tour as a featured soloist with Jimmy Buffett (1991-94). She also participated on Buffet’s platinum-selling CD Fruitcakes (MCA), and then went on to do 8 worldwide tours with her own project, Little Nicky and the Slicks.

Nicole’s notable talent has a virtue all its own, but it would be remiss not mention the late great vocal legend, Joe Williams. Joe “discovered” Nicole through a series of events, and adopted her as his very own project. He recognized this diamond in the rough, gleaming through, and began to invest in seeing Nicole rise to the top. Joe Williams Presents Nicole Yarling at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild was born as a result. Endorsed by Joe, Nicole and a select quartet of musicians featuring David Siegel (piano), Jeff Grubbs (bass), John Yarling (drums) and Henry Johnson (guitar), were recorded live in concert. This unique performance captures Nicole in her element, and reflects her undeniable charisma. It also captures a moment in history which can never be duplicated: Joe Williams Presents… was to be Joe’s final recording. Sadly, Joe passed away before he could see the actual release of his final work of art. He shared two unforgettable duets with Nicole: a vocal duet, “Blame It On My Youth,” and “Who She Do,” a blues tune written and sung by Joe with Nicole on violin. The recording also included two bonus tracks sung by Joe alone, “Imagination” and “After You’ve Gone.” Some would say it was a dying wish of Joe Williams to see Nicole succeed. Joe intended to escort Nicole to the highest limits, much in the same way Count Basie did for him in the late fifties. Count Basie had once supported Joe Williams at his first solo engagement by having the marquee read “Count Basie Presents Joe Williams.”


Director of SSU Jazz Studies Doug Leibinger















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