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Teaching the Tools of

Black American Music

Taught by Alison Crockett
Class Dates: July 15, July 22, July 29
Class Times: Monday 1-3 pm EST
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This class takes you on a journey that explores significant 20th-century contemporary commercial music artists in the jazz, blues, gospel, and R&B styles. By analyzing singers within each of these genres, participants will develop an understanding of the technical, rhythmic, and melodic considerations that define each of these idioms. Participants will leave this course with concrete tools to utilize in their own singing, increasing their interpretive skills and confidence in approaching these genres. You will learn:

  • How rhythm and groove affects your art form

  • Vocal registration in Black music styles and how to use each register authentically

  • Phrasing and lyrical development, how different genres make different choices

  • How to utilize past and present singers’ strategies to create your own unique sound

Alison Crockett has paid her musical dues in full. She can be heard on recordings by King Britt, Blue Six, Us3, and a host of others, Alison's voice has provided a velvety, sensual finishing touch for cutting edge beats.
Her voice drips soul with generous helpings of jazz, gospel and blues. She has taken the baton from divas of the present and past such as Rachelle Farrelle, Erykah Badu, 

Jill Scott, Donna Summer and Sarah Vaughn and forged a uniquely personal and singular musical vision. Alison decided early in her life to pursue a music career and began playing the piano at 5 years old. After winning several talent contests during her high school years, it quickly became apparent that her voice was a rare gift. After college, Alison settled in Philadelphia, where she met DJ King Britt, of Digable Planets fame. King gave Alison the nickname Diva Blue and together they

recorded the classic Season's Change for his groundbreaking Sylk 130 album When the Funk Hits the Fan. Only months after she completed her first world tour with Sylk 130, she was approached by Geoff Wilkenson, (founder of  UK based acid-jazz group Us3 ) who became convinced he was hearing a young Shirley Bassey 

and embarked upon a feverish search to track Alison down to request she become Us3's first lead singer. Alison moved to London to write and sing on Us3's album An Ordinary Day in an Unusual Place. The first single, Get Out, immediately shot to the top 10 on the charts within weeks of its release in Japan in 2001. Alison's debut solo album, On Becoming A Woman, was released to wide acclaim in Japan in June 2003 and in the US and Europe in April 2004. Her epic ballad Like Rain reached number 3 on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Winner's 2003 chart on his legendary BBC 

Radio 1 program. In 2006, Alison released a collection of mixes based on tracks from On Becoming A Woman entitled The Return Of Diva Blue: On Becoming A Woman Redux. Featuring mixes by a who's who of top flight DJ producers: DJ Spinna, Yam Who, Phil Asher, Mark De Clive-Lowe and more. The album became a treasure trove for lovers of deep house music, with Spinna take on the song Crossroads becoming a signature classic for Alison. In the spring of 2007, Alison released her love letter to my fans, the stripped down, acoustic based Bare. Much of the album consisted of Alison simply sitting at the piano and singing songs from a backlog of her compositions from a particularly prolific period of

writing. After taking an extended break from her career to focus on mothering her two children, Alison returned to the recording studio in 2012 to work on what would become Mommy, What A Depression?, her third solo album of original material. A mixture of jazz, soul and electronica, the album seeks to capture the weight of tumultuous times. Her newest project focuses on a new love, Brazilian music. After visiting the country she decided to mix her musical loves to create the project, Obrigada. Recorded in the city of Sao Paulo with Brazilian jazz musicians Felipe Silviera, Thiago Alves, and Palinho Vicente, Alison has weaved a refreshing sound love of jazz, bossa nova, and soul that continues to highlight her fearlessness as a musical traveler in R&B, boldly projecting her inimitable voice into the sonic future.

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