"Taste and understatement. Swing and savoir-faire. Grace and grooves. Intimacy and panache. Singer Charmin Michelle delivers all of the above and more.
This is what the Minneapolis Star/Tribune had to say about this charismatic chanteuse whose conversational style recalls the late Billie Holiday and other legendary ladies of jazz. And, yet, her music is free of tiresome camp and easy nostalgia. She's a savvy songstress and, while putting her own imprint on a melody, is always respectful of those who first inhabited it.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Charmin moved to Minnesota while still a child and has called it home ever since. Though based in Minneapolis, she is no stranger to life on the road and began touring internationally in 1986. She has performed at jazz festivals throughout Europe with pianists Mulgrew Miller and Kirk Lightsey, and saxophonists Harry Allen and Grant Stewart, among others. The late Brother Jack McDuff, one of her biggest fans, was instrumental in launching her career abroad. He said, "She's really different. I call her 'Chow Mein.' With her trio, less is more. And they're right in the pocket."
On her last tour to Spain, she recorded with the aforementioned Allen and Stewart, as well as saxophonist Scott Hamilton, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and Barcelonan musicians Ignasi Terraza, and the Toni Sola Quartet.
Her four acclaimed CDs---Your Eyes, Destination Moon, Hot, and Pure Imagination---have received glowing reviews and are available at performances, retailers, and online at www.charmsongs.com.
What Other Critics Are Saying:
"Autumn in the land of Minnesota lakes and Charmin Michelle, via her third CD, pours out her heart and her soul. If, in this bizarre time, these performances by Charmin and her messengers, The Twin Cities Seven, don't offer comfort and healing, then all is lost."
--An excerpt from the liner notes to HOT, by Leigh Kamman,
host of "The Jazz Image" on Minnesota Public Radio.
- 1969-74: Private study violin with Howard Evenson; Private study piano at MacPhail School of Music; first chair violinist, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies under the direction of Dr. William Jones.
- 1985-86: Background vocalist for Jesse Johnson's Revue.
- 1986-91: Tours to Germany, Egypt, Israel, Sicily, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Panama for the Department of Defense.
- 1991-to date: Regular performances in the Twin Cities, the Midwest and throughout Europe.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION:
- 1993: Nominated for "Best Female Jazz Vocalist" by members of the Minnesota Music Awards.
• 1996: Nominated for "Vocalist of the Year" by members of the Minnesota Music Awards.
• 2003: Recipient of the Cultural Collaboration Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
- IAJE: International Association of Jazz Educators