Tales Episode 12: Jennifer Vincent

If you’ve ever wondered who is that amazing bass player on American Lullaby, Standard Delivery, Awake and Travis Shook plays Kurt Weill, it is none other than Jennifer Vincent. As with most of my guests so far on this show, we too go back a ways.

Women in Jazz is a hard road to walk and Jennifer has mastered this road. She demonstrates consistently a patience and humor that I believe has contributed to her longevity in this business. There is something very special about playing with Jennifer. Besides her being a remarkably talented bassist and a masterful cellist, she is also another one of those musicians that have the ability to tap into what is happening both technically and emotionally. This is demonstrated by her musical choices which allows her to connect on the true level of performance. An honest and sincere level that provides you real insight into the heart of the performer. To extol all of Jennifer’s talents in this writing would seem over the top, because the truth is in the listening and I love listening to her play. I am very honored that she is also my friend.

“Women helped each other in ways small and large every day, without thinking, and that was what kept them going even when the world came up with new and exciting ways to crush them.”
? Alyssa Cole, Let Us Dream

About Jennifer Vincent

Jennifer Vincent, bassist and cellist, has been an active force on the music scene in New York City for well over a decade. She plays and has played and toured with the likes of Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, the famed Boy’s Choir of Harlem, Willie Martinez y La Familia, Son Sublime, the Xavier Cougat Orchestra, the Roberto Rodriguez Septet, Carmen Lundy, Harry Whitteaker,  (longtime artistic director and keyboardist for Roberta Flack), Jon Hendricks, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and many other jazz and Latin notables.

Jennifer’s sound has been characterized as “Cheerfully Blantonian” by the Village Voice. Her bass lines are featured on NBC’s 75th Anniversary “Cosby Show Retrospective”, and she can be heard on commercials for Lipitor, Marriott Hotels, and Olive Garden. She has played on many film soundtracks, including “90 Miles”, a film which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Havana Film Festival. She has been featured on “City Arts”, has traveled to South America as a Jazz Ambassador for the State Department, and plays for Lincoln Center’s “Meet the Artist” series. All About Jazz has this to say about her: “Bass player Jennifer Vincent shows that she can stay with anyone when it comes to getting a bass to sing…..”

Jennifer, who started as a classically-trained cellist at Oberlin Conservatory, is equally comfortable in the jazz, Latin-jazz, and traditional Cuban musical idioms. Her bass teachers include jazz icon Ron Carter, Andy Gonzales, Ed Bennett, Buster Williams, and Cuban bass legend Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez of the Buena Vista Social Club, with whom she traveled to Cuba to study with.

Jennifer delves into music that utilizes West African, Japanese, and Middle Eastern influences with artists such as Sogbety Diomande form the Ivory Coast, the Pan-Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, and Algerian pianist Maurice el Medioni’s “Descarga Oriental”, which won the 2006 BBC Music Award for Best World Crossover. According to Songlines World Music magazine, “Vincent’s thick, measured New York Latin Bass, so different from anything el Medioni has previously recorded with, is perfect!”. For the past 5 years she has been touring the world over with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, carrying on the tradition of the longest-running and most legendary jazz orchestra in American history.

bio taken from Consilience Production

Jennifer just recently finished a long run of  The Broadway Review: After Midnight, a modern interpretation of a night at the Cotton Club in its high-Ellington era. The show originated two years ago as part of New York City Center’s Encores! series, is directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with musical director Wynton Marsalis, utilizing the incredible talents of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Read the Vanity Fair review.

Jennifer is currently a member of Cocomama and is preparing to release their debut CD. Formed in 2008, Cocomama is an international group of musicians based in New York City. A virtual United Nations of women, they are from such diverse places as Cuba, Israel, France, Argentina, Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. Their sound is one that draws from the musical traditions of Cuba, Brazil, South and North America. Members of the band have played with such legendary artists as Machito, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Sheila E., Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, and Tito Puente.

Tales from the Jazzside