With roots in vocal jazz and growing up in a very musical family, Portland, Oregon-based songwriter and vocalist, Marti Mendenhall wow’s listener’s with scat solo's that leave audiences tapping their feet and smiling, ear to ear. Combining the soul of Ella Fitzgerald and spontaneity of Charlie Parker, Mendenhall’s unique style transforms jazz standards into fresh material .
With a degree in Vocal Jazz and performance art, her strongest influences come from Jamie Cullum, Karrin Allyson and whatever is playing on Jazz radio. Mendenhall’s original compositions bloom from an inner source that even she doesn’t fully fathom, “When I open the door, melodies and tunes and lyrics just come from somewhere, and it’s exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.”
SUS-4 at Disney World: Marti in green, with friends Mitos, Jenny & Jackie.
With early mentor and jazz
pianist, Skip Wilkins.
After Hours, just after co-creating "Brasilia" with Joey Herbert (L-R: Monika, Marti, Kevin, Joey, Wendy)
October 2011 Benefit Concert
Mendenhall has been a featured artist at Jimmy Mak's, Ivories Jazz Lounge, Tony Starlight's Supper Club, the Boise State Jazz Festival (artist and adjudicator), Jazz in Jacoby Jazz Festival (artist and adjudicator), Portland 5 (Portland Center for Performing Arts), at a benefit concert that gave birth to her debut CD: “An Evening of Live Jazz”, presented her Master Class and Vocal Improvisation workshop at National and Pacific Northwest venues, and is a regular soloist for the renowned Oregon Repertory Singers. Mike Horsfall says, “Marti is a musician par excellence, with a superbly trained voice that can do almost anything she asks of it.”
Mendenhall's debut album, “An Evening of Live Jazz”, features George Mitchell on keys, Todd Strait on percussion and Scott Steed on bass. The CD features four original compositions and eight jazz standards marked with Mendenhall’s own arrangements. Audio engineer, Steve Branson (Chick Corea, Robert Cray), artfully captured the live feeling of the concert to the CD with no over- dubs or re-mixing in the studio. One original arrangement of Mendenhall’s combines two spooky tunes “Sarah's Theme - Come Little Children” and “Hushabye Mountain” into a hauntingly performed song titled “Sarah's Hushabye”. In this ethereal song, Mendenhall's vocals soar to high C's and Steed's deep strings, simultaneously weaving soothe and charm in perfect harmony with the theme of the concert. Two of Mendenhall's original compositions, “Believe” and “Book of Love” resonate with heartfelt passion, with melodies that have a wide-appeal and a crossover style. While her original tune Brasilia, (co-written with Joey Herbert, UNC Jazz Press) reminds us that the core of this singer is made of pure jazz and explains why jazz choirs choose the song for competitions and performances to this day.
Like her music, Mendenhall keeps boppin’ into new projects, building a rhythm and finding the beat to keep her music fresh and relevant for listeners to enjoy.
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