Hailed by pianist Fred Hersch as “a real discovery—a first-rate musician in every way,” British vocalist / composer Joanna Wallfisch has built an impressive profile since her move to New York from London in 2012. She has emerged as an important voice, combining “the intimate purview of a singer-songwriter with the technical liberties of a jazz improviser” (Steve Smith, The Boston Globe). Underlying that voice is a composer who explores fresh aesthetics while highlighting her playfulness and fruitful imagination.
Her third record, Gardens In My Mind, due July 22, 2016, on Sunnyside Records, features pianist Dan Tepfer on piano and the award-winning classical string ensemble The Sacconi Quartet. Showcasing Joanna’s pure vocals and poetic lyrics, she weaves together singer-songwriter, folk, jazz, contemporary and indie pop music using her lush string arrangements and Tepfer’s inimitable pianistic talents.
Joanna’s debut recording on Sunnyside Records, an intimate duo project with Tepfer entitled The Origin of Adjustable Things, received wide critical acclaim. In a 4.5 star review, Jon Garelick wrote in DownBeat: “This collection suggests the sung poetry of contemporary art songs. The subtle chiaroscuro effects of dynamics, dissonance or vibrato, and her focused, crystalline delivery will melt any purist’s heart.”
Born in London to a family of renowned classical musicians, Joanna earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Central Saint Martins College, London and École Superior des Beaux Arts, Paris. In 2011 she went on to complete a Masters in Jazz Performance from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, during which time she released her debut album Wild Swan, featuring New York City jazz talents Rob Garcia, Joe Martin, Art Hirahara and Sam Newsome.
Her constant experimentation extends beyond composition and arrangement to her striking live performances. A master of vocal-looping, her innovative techniques allow her to generate riveting performances by creating beguiling vocal and percussive soundscapes to accompany her self-penned songs. Supporting that is her work with piano and ukulele, as well as her full band, Sea Gardens.
Joanna has had the opportunity to tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also appeared with the Lee Konitz Quartet. She has toured her own projects internationally, including in Europe, Australia, Japan and throughout the US. She is also a regular collaborator within the dance, circus and theatre worlds.
In addition to her work as a performer, she has worked on multiple film soundtracks—her song “Satellite” is featured in the movie Pressure, starring Danny Huston, while other credits include All the Beautiful Things (Sundance), Desert Dancer, Dear Wendy and Summer in February. She is also the featured voice in the national ad campaign of Hillshire Farms.
Alongside Joanna’s performance and compositional work, she is a passionate educator, especially in the field of early music education. In February of 2016 she ventured to Mumbai to direct a choir of 200 children with Songbound, a charity bringing music to some of India’s poorest, most marginalized children.
International appearances include: The Ageas International Festival, UK (2014&15) / Smalls, NY / The American Ambassadors Residence, Prague / The Prague Castle / Sunside Jazz Club, Paris / The Blue Whale, LA / RugTime, Osaka, Japan / The Andaz, Maui / Sundance Film Festival, 2014 / The Kennedy Center, DC; Boston Symphony; Rose Theatre, NY - with JALCO, Wynton Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau / The Barbican Center, London / Le Poisson Rouge, NY / The Lilypad, Boston / Ronnie Scotts, London...
Joanna Wallfisch’s tracks