As I was preparing this article, I was staring at the name Vanessa Collier on my writing schedule. I immediately wondered what kind of artist she was and what kind of music she created. So I clicked on a link to her website and the first thing I see is a very large picture of a seemingly shy, beautiful, smiling, young lady holding a saxophone and peering enthusiastically into its bell. My interest further piqued because I know and hear of very few female saxophone players. Well, except for Kenny G. -- just kidding.
Within her website, I was able to glean that Vanessa attends the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston. For those unaware, Berklee is THE “place to be” for aspiring musicians. It’s a coveted institution where some of the most brilliant young musical minds on the planet are taught to exceed self-imposed limitations and expectations and in the end, establish well-respected musical contributions and legacies. Vanessa attends Berklee on a scholarship and maintains an impressive 3.9/4.0 GPA.
Her “passion” for music began at the tender age of 11 and since then she’s been paying her dues and soloing over the Blues. In the music section of her website, I listened to a stirring rendition of Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood. Vanessa has very good tone and control when playing. One can clearly observe she dedicates ample time to perfecting her craft. Her performance of such a classic rendered it the justice and respect it rightfully deserves. Not only is she capable as a brass player, but also as a vocalist. Her covers of the jazz standards Fever and Cry Me A River showcase a young “old soul” quite comfortable singing treasures from an era long before her birth.
This could quite possibly, in part, be attributed to her range of influences as an artist. From veteran names like Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, and Stevie Wonder to contemporary torchbearers like Norah Jones, John Legend, Laura Izibor and even Philly homegirl Jill Scott, it is apparent she has a wealth of rich musical inspiration with which to forge her own distinct hallmark. She’s even had the opportunity to play alongside seasoned industry veterans such as Patrice Rushen and Kathy Mattea.
The future looks bright and promising for Vanessa Collier. My guess is that it will be an interesting and entertaining show for all in attendance.
Check out Vanessa Collier during the Live @ Best Buy concert series in Fairless Hills at 2 p.m. on Saturday.