Katie Bull

Katie Bull is one of the most exciting, innovative, and constantly surprising jazz singers today. She can even melodically explore a classic ballad while being unpredictable. Her innovative work in multi-media productions is a highlight of her career. She has recorded four high-quality CDs and is eager to continue pushing herself. Katie says, “I try get out and listen to as many people as possible.” Katie is not content to attend only her own gigs. I listen to all kinds of music. There are many sounds I haven’t heard that I want to hear and incorporate into my music.” Katie Bull was born with artistic talent. Her father was a jazz pianist, and she was a dancer improviser. Her mother was a noted painter, while her stepmother was a dance anthropologist, and improviser. She was born in New York City and grew up in Brockport, an upstate New York town. “I can still remember hearing my father play jazz piano early. Our home was a jam room that played everything from jazz to funk. “I could always hear the melody even though it wasn’t being played!” She often went with her Dad to his gigs or to events that he hosted. Katie, 15, sang standard songs weekly at Walker’s NYC after her parents moved back to Manhattan. Her father was her pianist. At an early age she danced, improvised and created multi-media events. She also played the alto-sax at high school. After meeting Jay Clayton, Katie knew singing would be her main focus. “That was the most important thing that changed everything. Both of them are very caring and took me under their wing, nurturing my soul. Jay taught me improvisation and how to write improvisational structures. Sheila was interested in repertoire and talking about choices, and the importance to always sing truthful songs.” Katie attended SUNY Purchase college as a music major. However, the jazz program at that time wasn’t very well developed, so she switched to theater arts. I would make regular trips to the city to hear jazz and sing Jay’s compositions. Katie was the leading actress in the campus play. She also became involved with theater improvisation and met Chuck Jones. He was an extraordinary vocal mentor who taught me whole-body vocal production, which deals with the speaking and singing voice. It’s about using your whole body and breathing naturally. The vibration of your body is also derived from a free breathe. It’s also about exploring spontaneity and allowing your voice to flow naturally without manipulation.” Katie is now a whole-body vocal coach. She works with singers and performers who use their singing voice. After graduating from college, Katie spent some time in Europe and Israel and returned to New York to find work as an actor. She quickly became disillusioned by the industry’s exploitation of women and sexism. Katie realized after one of her plays was performed that she had to make her own art. She was co-artistic director of Improvisational Arts Ensembles, Inc for many years with Kelly Donovan, Meg Fry, and others. She is an expert in multi-media inter arts, and she has produced, written, and performed her own avant-garde, often music- and art-based productions. Her theatrical performance troupe, The Bull Family Orchestra was founded by her great aunt and grandfather years ago. It is named after their touring musical show in Alberta. Katie Bull began singing in jazz clubs and experimental theatres after reuniting with Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan. Her recording career began as well. “For Conversations with The Jokers, we sang songs I grew up singing, the family jewels in our culture. We recorded it live, so there was no mixing or fixing. Katie’s “See Through You” and ten standards are both treated with respect. However, they also include many original moments and scatting. This stimulating debut is a major asset. Love Spook was recorded with two rhythm sections, both of which include drummer Matt Wilson. It is divided between originals and new versions. Highlights include a touching rendition of “I’ll be Seeing You,” the sensuous and witty “Love Spook”, and the irresistible “Strange.” Cup Of Joe is a collection of intimate, spontaneous and sometimes wild duets featuring Joe Fonda. The Story So Far is Katie Bull’s multi-media recording. Robert Lemon’s exquisite artwork graces the CD packaging. The DVD includes a short film by Peter Richard, a choreographic film improviser. It also features the dance structure directed and produced by Meg Fry. This CD features Katie Bull at her best, swinging in her own style while also introducing a variety memorable, diverse and thought-provoking songs that deal with universal issues. The Katie Bull Group Project’11-12 includes such extraordinary musicians as Frank Kimbrough, Landon Knoblock, Frank Kimbrough and Joe Fonda, along with Hilliard Greene and Joe Fonda, as well drummers George Schuller, Harvey Sorgen and Harvey Sorgen.

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