"Top 50 jazz vocalists of all time" - Jazz Magazine

Internationally recognized African American griotte vocal artist of classic jazz, poet and author of young adult fantasy, Jeri Brown has cultivated an artist career combining music, memoir and fantasy . "I love the challenge of a musical moment, the immediacy of it."  As part of the civil rights era of the 60s and 70s in St. Louis I was bused to an all-white school and witnessed a lot of racist events. We had separate lunches, gym times, and white folks in the community where we went to school  said nasty things. They threw nasty things. An emerging athletic artist, I often wanted to stay after classes for coaching and practice with classmates. but I so afraid in the community of the school. I thought I might be harmed in some way. It was not so rosy to be privileged to learn more while being in  fear of one's life. This stuff runs deep in my childhood memories and continued throughout my performance and educational career. As no stranger to the marches, sit-ins and arrests in my past, I have continued to advocate for peace. With stage, recordings and films as my platforms,  I was never a diva adorned in a beautiful dress, kept like an urn on a mantel. I was a warrior, my own kind of soldier with a mission for equality. I believe artists have the ability to affect humanity and spirituality always. And if not now, when?"

Brown's  perfectly pitched rich complex voice,  afforded Jeri Brown a lifetime of vocal experiences in jazz, pop and spiritual to avant-garde, classical and musical theatre  earning her a reputation as one of jazz' most outstanding “artistic" vocalists including the distinction from the French publication Jazz Magazine as one of top 50 jazz vocalists of all time.

In 2015, Missouri born Jeri Brown founded her own society, Jongleur Theatre Company aka Jongleur Opera Company, committed to providing local talent with education and performance opportunities.

- The Washington Post "Brown's voice is a true marvel, seemingly boundless in its range, resourcefulness and daring. She leaps back and forth across several octaves as if it were no more difficult than breathing, and scats at length with unusual grace and soul." 

- Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times "Brown's voice is so compelling, delivered with such a stunning blend of musicality and expressiveness, that the content of the songs fades in importance. She could, to paraphrase the classic phrase, sing the telephone book and make you remember every number." 

Described as three-dimensional, to the up and down (a four-octave range), Brown's voice has an in and out, a plasticity of dynamics stretched and deepened by changes of vowel and tonal color, from breathy contralto to high flute- like tones.  Like Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan Brown's approach to a song is as an instrument. 

Jeri Brown was born in Missouri and has been singing publicly from the age of six. It was in Iowa, on a four-year scholarship, that she studied classical voice under the direction of Frank Summerside. As a result of student performances in mid-western U.S. and Europe, (Sweden, Germany, Norway and Holland), her voice caught the attention of musical directors and composers looking for an imaginative voice with incredible range effortlessly creating aesthetic touches to their contemporary or avant-garde works.

Along with performances with the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Jeri began performing more stylistic renditions of standards from theatre, film and pop culture.




Jeri Brown - Jazz in Carthage, Tunisia April 13, 2013
Photo © Jean-Louis Neveu
A real voice, one of the most remarkable in the history of jazz as noted by Jazz Magazine. Gifted with an astounding vocal apparatus, Jeri improvised dizzying vocals that could have just displayed sterile technique but didn’t because emotion was always present. Her voice was supported by a killer swing rhythm that did not diminish for a moment. I particularly enjoyed the pianist Jobic Le Masson whose phrasing was always adventuresome…. Bassist Peter Giron was the pillar of the rhythm section, the beating heart of the trio. Drummer Ichiro Onoe was always perfect. Everything went quickly with Caravan, I Got Rhythm, Afro Blue, Canteloupe Island and Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia, the final crowning piece with lyrics and scat.

 Convinced that it is far better to give than to receive, Jeri has annually performed and collaborated on cultural, historical tributes and productions for stage, film and theatre that tap into cultural mosaics, discovering and showcasing emerging talent. With a reputation as one of jazz’s most outstanding "artistic" vocalist educators, Brown has a track record of performing and recording with passion and dedication. With many fine musicians who are labeled "artistic," it’s sometimes overlooked how richly musical, thoroughly accessible and enjoyable their music can be. Jeri Brown is focused, ambitious, daring and intent upon creating music that is both well conceived and honest, extending that insight to her students. Jeri's humanitarian efforts in jazz film and audio productions continue to rotate in international airplay for BET, BRAVO, World Vision, Radio France and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Of note is Jeri's October 2001 "Peace Concert Tour" of France and Turkey one month after the September 11 tragedy. The live recorded concert on Radio France was featured in her 2020  HUMAN TOUCH memoir album release. Efforts at benefit concerts, plays, music events and social service charities have included productions for  Immigration Museum of Canada at Pier 21, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Centraide, Canadian Diabetes, World Vision, and CRUDEM,  providing support through scholarship, mentorship and training.

Committed to the legacy of vocal jazz, Jeri  carved her own musical path in spectacular international  recordings for Justin Time Records and Jongleur Records, over a 30-year illustrious performance and recording career, consistently conveying her artistic signature, filling the historical spectrum of classic American songbook themes, and original and classic jazz compositions. 

Jeri Brown performed or recorded with such musicians as Leon Thomas, Betty Carter, Oscar Brown Jr., John Hicks, Grady Tate, Kirk Lightsey, John B. Williams, Ellis Marsalis, Erik Truffaz, David Murray, John Blake, Jr., D.D. Jackson, Craig Handy, Billy Hart, Kenny Werner, Pierre Michelot, John Betsch, Alain Jean-Marie, James Williams, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Fred Hersch, Stephen Scott, Tony Suggs, Michel Donato, Roy McCurdy, Winard Harper, Chico Freeman, Joe Lovano, Duane Eubanks, Cyrus Chestnut, Dr. Billy Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Avery Sharpe, Rufus Reid, Yoron Israel, Gerry Gibbs, Mon David, Vic Vogel, Michel Donato, Don Thompson, Seamus Blake and Jimmy Rowles to name a few.

Her break came when drummer and renowned bandleader Bob McKee, former percussionist on the long- running Mike Douglas television series, invited Jeri to become lead singer in several of his combos in Ohio. This exposure and training led to performances with many renowned artists including Ellis Marsalis, Billy Taylor and Dizzy Gillespie. It was also during this period that Ms. Brown was encouraged to improvise in concert with such emerging artists as Joe Lovano.

Jeri Brown then rapidly moved into the front rank of jazz vocalists from the Cleveland area as resident vocalist with The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. Besides focusing on classic jazz standards, she developed as an accomplished lyricist, recitalist, concert soloist and recording artist, and has become one of the world's most respected jazz vocalists.

 Jeri resides in Nova Scotia with her husband.