Shawnn Monteiro’s Top Five Jazz Recordings

Shawnn Monteiro is a gifted vocalist with a four-decade career as a singer with an international following. She is also jazz royalty: her father is renowned bassist Jimmy Woode and Clark Terry is her godfather. She is a former Adjunct Professor at the Hartt School of Music/Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, the University of Hartford, and Rhode Island College.  Shawnn’s latest recording is “You Are There.”

“The first song that influenced me was when I was five years old, a recording by Sarah Vaughan called ‘Lullaby of Birdland,’ released in 1954. My parents owned the record, and I played it so much. I knew it by heart and could scan the solo exactly like Sass. That was my first introduction to how jazz would affect my life.

“The second recording was again, Sarah Vaughan in 1959. It was a big hit for her on the radio called ‘Brokenhearted Melody’ and I believe she crossed over for the first time then.  I was only eight, but there was something in Sarah’s voice that spoke to me then and has through my whole career.”

“The third recording was when I had enough allowance to go to the record store and buy an album called ‘Nancy Wilson Live at the Coconut Grove’ recorded in 1965 I heard music I had never heard before, and it was from the Great American Songbook. I played that record until I wore out and learned such beautiful gems as ‘Guess Who I Saw Today’ and ‘You Can Have Him.’ Nancy was a totally different singer from Sarah, but then my ears were starting to open, and I knew where my career was headed.

“The fourth record that really affected me was ‘Song for My Father’ by Horace Silver, and in 1965 I started scatting to the recording, trying to repeat the melody in the solos, and really started to get me deep into the jazz vernacular. I can still sing/scat every song on that album.”

“The fifth album is Carmen McRae’s ‘Carmen Sings Monk’ released in 1990. I think it speaks for itself. By then I was performing and was totally amazed by her. I learned every single tune on that album and really got deep into McRae’s career, which brought me where I am today. There are so many more albums, but I think these are the records that really influenced my life and my career to this day going into 56 years of performing.  Those recordings were the beginning and the rocket ship to send me off into this great journey.”



Visit Me (Monad Records)

Shawnn Monteiro/Massimo Farao Trio (Azzurra Music)

Shawnn Monteiro with Clark Terry, One Special Night (Whaling City Sound)

Shawnn Monteiro Featuring the Massimo Farao Trio – I’m Comin’ Home (Live In Italy)

(GOA Records)

To Carmen with Love (Whaling City Sound)

You Are There (Whaling City Sound)

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