Producer David Chesky says, "Valerie has a great feel for the music and has one of the most unique singing voices I have ever heard."
Valerie Joyce has been performing as a musician on the Seattle music scene since 1994. Born in Japan to an American father and Japanese mother, she was exposed to classical music through her mother's piano playing and extensive record collection. After college, she moved to Seattle where she regularly appears with a variety of jazz ensembles.
Many of the songs on "New York Blue" have been in Valerie's repertoire for some time:
Of the Rogers and Hart perennial It Never Entered My Mind, Valerie says, "Andy (Ezrin) came up with a very cool reharmonized version of the song and, when I heard him play the first few chords, I remember feeling very inspired."
David Chesky recommended that Valerie try her hand at the Peggy Lee standard Fever. "It was a brand new song to my repertoire," comments Valerie. "Andy and I rehearsed the song and I suggested something simple, yet modern and cool sounding. I like the sparse arrangement of our version and Lawrence Feldman's spare saxophone solos."
2004 Writer of the Year [Jazz Journalists Association] Bill Milkowski adds the following excerpts:
Valerie Joyce is "...a vocalist of rare gifts, and she reveals even more layers of her affecting musicality on New York Blue.
Along with enchanting interpretations of familiar jazz standards...Valerie breathes new life into pop nuggets like Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You Tonight," Jimi Hendrix's melancholic "Little Wing" and the Beatles' somber "Golden Slumbers." Elsewhere, she turns in a smoldering "Fever," soars sensuously over an undulating samba flavored "Blue in Green," and swings serenely on "Weaver of Dreams," which features some robust alto sax work from Lawrence Feldman. She also resurrects her own "Oasis," a lilting waltz-time original from Reverie that has her ethereal voice fairly floating into the stratosphere.
Not since Cassandra Wilson's Blue Light 'Til Dawn has a vocalist cast such an entrancing spell as Valerie Joyce does on New York Blue."