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Died – Loss of life – Obituary : Singer-pianist Joni Metcalf, who delighted Seattle jazz audiences, dies at 91



Died – Loss of life – Obituary

Singer-pianist Joni Metcalf, who delighted Seattle jazz audiences, dies at 91

Joni Metcalf, a cool, clear-voiced singer-pianist who delighted Seattle jazz audiences for greater than 5 many years and helped set up the vocal jazz program at Cornish School of the Arts, died Nov. 15. She was 91.

Although she as soon as was provided the chance to go on the street because the opening act for the favored people singer Donovan, a fierce dedication to household and native tasks, in addition to a resistance to altering her music for industrial acquire, saved her on the Seattle scene.

Born Joanna Swartz in 1931, Metcalf led a quietly nonconformist life, beginning along with her days at Seattle’s Lincoln Excessive Faculty, when she braved her method into the Rocking Chair membership to see Ray Charles utilizing a faux ID. Whereas learning classical voice on the College of Washington, she discovered time to do a double invoice with Billie Vacation at Washington Corridor.  

In 1952, she married jazz bassist (and architect) Chuck Metcalf, with whom she would have three youngsters, and in addition divorce, remarry and divorce once more over the subsequent 17 years. Their beatnik “pad” on Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and, later, five-bedroom residence in Madrona turned legendary for his or her all-night jam classes.

“Joni and Chuck had been the president and first girl of Seattle jazz,” stated multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas.

In 1966, the Metcalfs helped discovered the Seattle Jazz Society and in addition hosted a civil rights/anti-Vietnam Warfare discussion board at their residence that featured, amongst others, comic/activist Dick Gregory.

“She was so profoundly hip,” stated her longtime good friend, people and classical musician Ellen Marx. “I imply, strong. Different folks wish to impress you with how hip they had been, however she would by no means get close to that. She knew her method across the music and he or she was actually, actually open.”

For a technology of lounge patrons, Joni Metcalf can be without end remembered because the singer-pianist with a beehive hairdo who within the Nineteen Sixties sang jazz, pop, people and even classical arias throughout yearslong residencies on the Century Home, Ivar’s Captain’s Desk and College Towers. Along with her breathy, even voice and subtly sardonic wit, Metcalf projected a stage persona that was the epitome of cool.

“She had the good respect of everyone on the scene,” stated longtime Seattle disc jockey and jazz authority Jim Wilke. “She was a superb singer, a superb pianist and an attention-grabbing composer. She actually did all of it.”

Within the late ‘70s, Metcalf started educating vocal jazz, which led to a 10-year stint at Cornish, the place she organized not solely the vocal jazz program however an modern music profession workshop. She took native singers beneath her wing at workshops and vocal jams at now-defunct golf equipment equivalent to Parnell’s and Matzoh Momma’s.

Although she left Cornish in 1987, Metcalf continued to show privately for greater than 15 years. She moved right into a retirement residence, Northaven West, when she was 77 and remained there until her loss of life.

Metcalf was not terminally in poor health however was dropping her eyesight and had arthritis in her palms. She elected to finish her personal life on the residence of her son, Steve Metcalf.

“She was able to go,” he stated.

Vocalist Becca Duran, who visited Metcalf simply days earlier than she died, stated: “She appeared radiant. At one level, the dialog paused and there was a silence, and he or she stated to us, ‘Properly, do you may have any questions?’ That was so Joni.”

Metcalf’s music could be heard on the recordings “Joni!” (1965), “Joni Metcalf” (1969) and “Ringaround” (1982). A sampling of her music may even be performed on Wilke’s program, “Jazz Northwest,” on KNKX at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Along with her son Steve, Metcalf is survived by her daughter, Sarah Metcalf; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Her son Matt Metcalf and ex-husband Chuck Metcalf preceded her in loss of life. There can be no public memorial.

Singer-pianist Joni Metcalf, who delighted Seattle jazz audiences, dies at 91

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