Stephanie Nakasian has appeared as a guest artist with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Riverwalk Jazz to portray Lee Wiley, Peggy Lee, Helen Ward, and Helen Humes. She is listed in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz as one of the world’s leading jazz singers. She first came to international attention in the mid-80s when she sang and toured with the vocal jazz master Jon Hendricks and Company—her “vocal jazz apprenticeship.”
Since then, she has toured and recorded as a leader and with her partner and acclaimed jazz pianist Hod O’Brien. Together with their daughter Veronica (who also sings and records under the name Veronica Swift) they make their home in Charlottesville, VA.
Stephanie has been teaching jazz voice at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville since 1994 and coaches students on jazz phrasing, listening, improv and repertoire preparation for performance. She also teaches jazz voice and vocal jazz improvisation at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
Her debut CD Comin’Alive features saxophonist Phil Woods and received four stars from critic Leonard Feather. French Cookin’ spotlights French hornist Bobby Routch. Her Bitter Sweet (JazzMania) was also very well-received. Her Escapade takes the audience on a swing voyage. Lullaby in Rhythm is in tribute to Kenton singer June Christy and features tenor saxophonist Harry Allen. In 2006 two CDs were released: Thrush Hour (VSOP), a tribute to 20 great jazz singers featuring a 20-page booklet co-authored by Scott Yanow with pictures, bios and educational tips as to how to listen to each singer to hear the nuances of style and phrasing. I Love You (Spice of Life) was released in Japan to rave reviews and a full article in Swing Journal in which they called Stephanie “the perfect jazz singer.”
Her original concert revues such as “The Great Ladies of American Song” and various composer and singer tributes have been favorites with schools and universities and concert-goers and has been offered as an academic course at the University of Virginia.
Stephanie is the author of the book It’s Not on the Page! How to Integrate Jazz and Jazz Rhythm into Choral and Solo Repertoire, which she has presented in workshops to over 25 state and national music education conferences in the US.
Stephanie has appeared on television and radio in the US, Europe, Japan and the Caribbean, including a PBS-TV special featuring duets with Clark Terry. National Public Radio featured her on a one-hour concert on Jazz Set hosted by Branford Marsalis. She has appeared at many major jazz festivals worldwide, including the Northsea Jazz Festival (Holland), and the Kool Jazz Festival (NYC). She also headlined with her daughter Veronica Swift at the “Women in Jazz” festival at Lincoln Center in New York.
Concert appearances as a featured performer include performances with Urbie Green, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Milt Hinton, Clark Terry, J.R. Monterose, Joe Temperly, Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen, Sheila Jordan, Bob Dorough, Valery Ponomarev and (with Jon Hendricks) Red Mitchell, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, and Annie Ross.