Vanessa Morris’ unique sound is a blend of many influences, ranging from Betty Carter and Nina Simone to Antonio Jobim and Al Green. Her musical background started with rigorous classical piano training. She branched into jazz during undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory and continued on this path when she attended New England Conservatory for graduate work in Jazz Studies. Her music is both laid back and electrically charged simultaneously.
Ms. Morris repertoire is as eclectic as are her influences. Her duo with Scott Sandvik started as an in depth study of African-American Folklore, branching from a class that Sandvik taught at NEC. Their improvisations were based on ear transcriptions of field-
recorded a cappella black folk singing that included “surge” style hymns, spirituals, hollers and blues. Though the Morris/Sandvik duo has widened their repertoire, their approach is the same: in depth study of whatever style music or composer has struck their fancy. Recently this list includes the music of Carla Bley, Bert Bacharach and Joao Gilberto.