Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet (UVJQ) puts its sublime signature on the fascinating art of group vocal jazz and breathes new life into the tradition of the great vocal jazz groups with its repertoire of original songs sung in dazzling 4-part harmony. Listeners around the world and notable jazz artists have praised UVJQ as a standout, declaring them one of today's most creative and captivating vocal jazz groups. Critics have described them as "vocalese at its best"..."as versatile and entertaining as any vocal group you will hear"... "electrifying"..."pure fun"... sensational"..."exceptional tight-harmony group"...and "a breath of fresh air."
For more than two decades, UVJQ, backed by their stellar rhythm section, have been enchanting listeners and building a loyal audience across five continents with their close harmonies and stylized arrangements of American Songbook classics and jazz of all kinds. Group leader Ginny Carr describes their signature sound as "the marriage of great fun and great art." Long inspired by such iconic vocal groups as The Manhattan Transfer and Lambert/Hendricks/Ross, UVJQ reached a new milestone and put their distinctive stamp on vocal jazz with the 2012 release of Hustlin' for a Gig, a collection of original music, lyrics, and arrangements written by Carr. Her popular jazz anthem, He Was The Cat, is a tribute to the late father of vocalese jazz, Eddie Jefferson, and is emblematic of the UVJQ hallmark: the wit of a clever lyric combined with the sass of four voices swinging together in harmony like a horn section; it is a uniquely joyful sound.
Legendary alto saxophonist Richie Cole first heard the DC-based UVJQ in 2012 and immediately declared them "My new discovery, the whole package." Cole, who has worked extensively with The Manhattan Transfer and been featured on their Grammy-winning albums "Vocalese," "Mecca for Moderns," and "Extensions", instantly recognized the audience appeal, originality, and vocal sizzle of UVJQ and the unique songwriting and jazz arranging talents of their leader, Ginny Carr. A lover of swingin' vocal harmonies and a prolific songwriter himself, Cole invited Carr to arrange his own songs for UVJQ and collaborate with him on a recording featuring their collective original songs. Vocal Madness (released Nov. 2014) is a rich compilation of original songs by both Richie Cole and Ginny Carr, with arrangements by Carr. It's a high-flying and highly original performance by the power ensemble of Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet and their band, featuring guest Richie Cole on alto sax.
In 2014, UVJQ performed and presented master classes at the long-running DeMiero Jazz Festival in Edmonds, Washington. The "Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet Series" is included in the Sound Music Publications catalog of songs and arrangements for vocal jazz ensembles published by Festival Founder and Vocal Jazz Education pioneer Frank DeMiero.
UVJQ is a featured artist on Behind The Mic, an internationally popular site dedicated to group vocal jazz. It spotlights interviews with some of the renowned innovators, including Bobby McFerrin, The Manhattan Transfer, The Real Group, and other great vocal jazz artists and arrangers. Ginny Carr is featured in a video interview describing how and why UVJQ sings the music they perform and how it all came about.
In August 2012, NPR invited UVJQ in for a Performance Chat with Susan Stamberg, the second time the group has been interviewed by NPR after a successful CD release. The broadcast was aired on NPR's "Weekend Edition" and heard by millions worldwide. Listener response catapulted UVJQ further onto the world stage in popularity.
Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has topped the charts, lit up the airwaves, and received international acclaim. Their "Hustlin' for a Gig" CD received many awards and accolades in 2012, including:
• Billboard Top Jazz Chart, #18 (August 2012) and #24 (Sept. 2012)
• Washington Post: Editor's Pick
• CD Baby: Editor's Top Jazz Picks
• Amazon: Top 25 Vocal Jazz Albums, Hot New Release, Best Seller (Aug. - Sept.)
• Airplay on XM Satellite Radio's "Real Jazz" Channel, alongside the legends of jazz
• Inclusion and spotlighted artist in The LA Sound, Japan's selective CD catalog
Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has performed on the headliner stages at international jazz festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe, featured, sharing the stage with Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Dr. John, Sonny Rollins, Chris Botti, Aaron Neville, and many other legendary artists. They have been profiled twice on NPR and have been interviewed and played on countless radio programs worldwide, including feature segments in Denmark, Argentina, Sweden, Italy, Radio Jazz Smithsonian, and hundreds of US radio stations. They have been guest artists with symphony orchestras and big bands, performed as the opening act for jazz legends such as the Four Freshmen, Charlie Byrd, and Ahmad Jamal, and been featured entertainers at hundreds of clubs, festivals, and special events throughout the US.
In November 2012, UVJQ lit up the stage and combined forces with the renowned Cote Ouest Big Band at Les Nuits du Jazz Festival in multiple cities on the West Coast of France. Having performed at this popular French jazz festival eight years earlier, UVJQ was invited back as guest artists in 2012 for the very special concert tour and celebration of the Band's 30th anniversary. The audience of 3000 French citizens took great delight in UVJQ's exciting show and declared them "magnifique!"
Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet was included on the 2008 Sony/BMG European compilation CD release, "Ladies and Gentlemen: the Best of Vocal Jazz". The collection also included such vocal jazz legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, The Manhattan Transfer, and the NY Voices.