Arts and Entertainment

A jazz singer does her first Island show with ‘Panache’

Gail Pettis - Courtesy photo
Gail Pettis
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Vashon Allied Arts’ next Panache jazz series show will showcase the soulful sounds of Seattle singer Gail Pettis.

Pettis will be accompanied by well-known sidemen Randy Halberstadt on piano and Doug Miller on upright bass.

“From the first time I played with Gail, I had a sense she was remarkably intuitive. … Her music is all about flow and soul, not artificial hipness or intellectualism,” said Halberstadt.

This is Pettis’ first full-length concert on the Island, although she did sing a few tunes in a short set at Strawberry Festival a couple of years ago.

The singer has been compared to the likes of Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae.

She has performed internationally with the New Manhattan Big Band and Eddie C. and the Dutch Jazz Cats and can be heard on a regular basis at night spots in Seattle.

A three-time nominee and 2007 winner of Earshot Golden Ear Awards Northwest Vocalist of the Year, Pettis released her debut CD “May I Come In?” in August 2007.

Pettis said she worked to put her own “twist” on each song on the album, from her signature song, “Black Coffee,” to an arrangement of Johnny Mathis’ 1950s hit, “A Certain Smile.”

She credits her family for encouraging her to pursue a lifetime of creative expression.

While vocal jazz is her current focus, she studied both piano and French horn from a young age.

She is also a dancer, and said that discipline exposed her to many diverse musical styles.

Pettis said she is looking forward to doing a concert on Vashon.

Show time

Gail Pettis will perform at the Blue Heron at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 4. Tickets are $14 and $16 and include champagne and appetizers. Reserve tickets by calling 463-5131 or buy them in advance at Books by the Way, Heron’s Nest, Blue Heron Art Center or online at brownpapertickets.com.

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