CHERYL JEWELL and the SALTWATER OCTET
Jazz vocalist Cheryl Jewell, who has been singing all her life, brings an array of musical prowess to her fresh, hip, passionate style of jazz.
Cheryl, nicknamed Jewell, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but left as a teen to pursue a career in music. Since 2002, she has been based back in the Northwest, her home. In addition to work with her own trio/quartet, the Jewell Jazz Ensemble, she sings with both the Saltwater Octet, led by Mark Kelly, and the 18-piece big band Northern Lights Jazz Orchestra, led by Paul Sorensen.
Jewell’s on-stage passion and persona have garnered a growing fan base in the upper Puget Sound region. From Jewell’s first solo performance for a Navy Officers’ Wives Club at age 12, she has honed her style through nearly every genre, from high school musicals and jazz choirs to pop, rock and blues, from TV jingles to alt-country-rock.
“I’ve had such a diverse experience in music that it’s prepared me for this very moment in jazz,” says Jewell. “Jazz feels like home. For me, it’s a culmination of styles distilled into this one, passionate art form. I’ve navigated to the genre that’s a perfect expression for me.”
Proving out Jewell’s growing presence in jazz circles, she placed first runner-up to Northwest great Greta Matassa at the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Jazz competition in March 2009. Jewell’s jazz standards CD is due to be released in early fall 2009. The recording will include such familiars as “Cry Me a River,” the bluesy “Wayfaring Stranger,” and two 18-piece big band arrangements of “Lover Come Back to Me” and “My Blue Heaven”, arranged by Paul Sorensen.
The Road to Jazz: After a year of college, Jewell was anxious to get on the road. At 19, she began touring nationally with a top-40 band, and since has sung lead and backing vocals for some of the industry’s most well-known names, including Tim Bogert of Vanilla Fudge/Jeff Beck notoriety and Chet McCracken of The Doobie Brothers on drums.
Within the year, Jewell, now lead singer for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show All-Star Band, had added guitarist Eddie Van Halen, John Entwistle of The Who, and Steve Stevens of Billy Idol to the list of musicians she’s shared the stage with.
Singing as backup vocalist for the National Association of Songwriters (NAS) Concert, Jewell found herself on stage backing such notables as Roger McGuinn, the Motown songwriting team Holland/Dozier/Holland, and Randy Newman.
By now lead singer for the critically acclaimed all-girl rock band Rachel, Rachel, Jewell landed a variety of TV performances, including the Los Angeles Cerebral Palsy Telethon with Brooke Shields and Henry Winkler, and the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon.
Jewell credits her friend and mentor Lou Rawls and then manager David Brokaw for bringing her this national TV exposure. As commented by Lou Rawls, “Jewell has the voice of an angel.”
While living in Los Angeles, Jewell joined the alt-neo country-rock band Tin Star; as the fresh new voice with the group, the Music Connection magazine described her as bringing “…a powerful voice and playful charm…” to the band. The review added, “Jewell, aptly named, shines on stage, and adds pizzazz…” The Los Angeles Times described Jewell as “big voiced” and BAM, LA’s Music Scene publication, said the band had “built up a sizeable following in Southern California.”
Jewell knew she’d eventually return to the Pacific Northwest. Today, Jewell’s reputation is gathering growing notice. Brokaw Company Publicist Diane Hadley, who has followed Jewell's career for a number of years, describes her trajectory: “From being the best, she's only gotten better. She's found her niche in jazz, where she can express the depth of her emotions. A seasoned performer, Cheryl is one of those rare, extraordinary vocalists that gives one the chills when she sings.” Jewell is just as passionate away from the microphone—she throws herself into a variety of the many recreational opportunities the Pacific Northwest has to offer. To refresh and rejuvenate, she is an avid hiker and bicyclist, and enjoys cross-country skiing. “I’m enthralled with this region and very happy to call it home again.” —Ginger Oppenheimer