Wyoming Arts Council

The Jane Robinett Quintet

Contact: Jane Robinett

Cheyenne, WY

Classical/Jazz Musicians & Composers | Singers & Songwriters

Phone | 307-256-9545

Web | http://janerobinett.com

Email | jane@janerobinett.com


I am a jazz vocalist and my ensemble is called the Jane Robinett Quintet.

There is a body of work that is central to what jazz musicians play. Even though people are writing new jazz songs all the time, the “standards” are still important to me. These songs may have been performed thousands of times by thousands of artists, but each musician in each ensemble has the opportunity to make something new with them. The emphasis is on being able to improvise on the melody and for the members of the ensemble to create a connected whole that interacts musically like a single organism.

As a vocalist, this is especially important to me. I need the freedom I have in jazz to do something compelling and personal. First, I choose songs that have an element that captivates me--it could be a lyric or a melody line or a rhythm. Sometimes the song is a jazz standard, but it could also be 70's pop tune or classic R&B song that I want to play in a jazz format. Then I decide what I want to do with the song--I work out the harmonies I want to hear and how I want the music to move. I practice the way I want to deliver the lyrics and tell the story I want to tell with it. When my musicians and I perform the song together, we each bring their own ideas and it becomes something we create together, a very personal shared experience that is unique us.

But none of this matters if people don’t want to hear what we’ve created and it doesn’t touch them emotionally. There are songs that I listen to over and over again because there is something in them that moves me. Often, these are not jazz songs. I am trying to understand what that is and to make my songs that way for people. I am always thinking about how to make my music draw people in.

While I emphasize songs from the Great American Songbook—composers like Gershwin, Ellington, Porter—I do arrangements to make them fresh and interesting. I also include songs from other genres, especially blues, Latin jazz—Spanish and Portuguese songs and bossas--and some French standards as well. I am especially interested in new jazz works by vocalists like Patricia Barber, Lizz Wright, and Gregory Porter and by artists like Joni Mitchell and Sting who blend genres.