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The Story

Life Before Jazz

Performing was something that always came naturally to Lili, even as a child. She made up songs and sang them for her family in the evenings, after dinner. Even though her family was very musical, her parents did not encourage her to pursue music as a career.

At the age of 19, Lili began studying piano and voice with the “neighborhood” teacher. She and her husband, Jimmy, musician and composer, moved from New York to San Francisco in 1977 and began studying classical music. She studied piano with Cesar Cancino, and her first classical/opera teacher was Ina Chalis. She studied with both teachers for a few years and then decided to focus solely on voice training. Lili continued her classical vocal studies with Stewart Brady, of A.C.T., for several years.

When her husband decided to start a band of original compositions, Lili was recruited as the lead vocalist. The band, GRoK, was very diversified in music style and played throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for several years.

MFB (My Favorite Band) an R&B – Blues Band, was the second band Jimmy started, with Lili as a back-up singer. Lili performed various styles of music for several years while searching for the music style that would fill her soul.

Jazz was something Lili always loved, but she was not sure if her voice had the correct tone, since she is a lyric soprano. But Lili devotedly practiced to develop her lower range in order to acquire the jazz tone she desired. She ultimately developed a three-octave range.

Like many other musicians, Lili frequented jam sessions to develop her repertoire. The late Robert Porter, who ran the Sunday Jam at the Bird Cage in Oakland, took a shining to Lili and arranged her first Jazz gig at the Lake Merritt Hotel. That is where she met Fred Bock who was to become the Jazz Doctors’ pianist. The Jazz Doctors was started by drummer, Pat Fox, and bassist, Ken Seger; and Lili performed with them for many years.

Lili has now been singing jazz for several years. During that time, she has had the pleasure of performing with well-known San Francisco Bay Area musicians such as: Herb Gibson, Susan Sutton, Larry Vuckovich, Sy Perkoff, Pascal Bokar, and Donald ‘Duck’ Bailey. "Demo Sessions Plus Two", Lili’s debut CD was released in November 2008. Check out her recordings just released on Jazzapple Records "Moonlight" by Under the Moon.

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