The Artistry of… Charenée Wade

In 2021, first and second place in the Thelonious Monk competition went to Cécile McLorin Salvant and Charenée Wade, respectively. The jazz world was introduced to the spirited artistry of two leaders of a vanguard of a new wave in jazz. Jazz vocalists redefining the art form standing proudly on the shoulders of giants who blazed exciting paths before them.

Charenée Wade brings the essence of singers like Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter in her presence, and she blends that seamlessly with a sensibility of social consciousness and the tenor of these times. She uses the forums she plays in seriously. The message mixes with cool swing and effortless improvisation. She sensitively and expertly launches lyrics on beautiful tones and allows them to richly season as they travel from her soulful voice to the ear. The word is the key and it is framed as wrapped by Wade’s artistic weaving.

An educator, she teachers at Queen’s College and Peabody. Her students are the luckiest to be nourished and nurtured by her. Jazz lives because she is one of the new vanguard, adding a little new and plenty of respect to the standard.