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Seattle jazz vocalist Jacqueline Tabor dabbles with the blues

Jaqueline Tabor
Marina Albero
Jaqueline Tabor
Jaqueline Tabor

Jacqueline Tabor's recent appearances with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and her collaborations with multi-instrumentalist Marina Albero have brought her back into the local spotlight.

Tabor balances a day job and parenting responsibilities with her musical life. It's not easy, and it usually takes a lot of planning, according the Seattle jazz vocalist.

Now, after getting through the worst of the pandemic and a bout of serious depression and illness, she said she's taking life as it comes.

"I'm just allowing things to happen," Tabor told KNKX in an interview. "I guess that's kind of new for me. I'm usually one that likes to plan, but now I'm in a weird space where things are coming to me."

Tabor credited music and musicians, specifically Albero, for saving her life. She also acknowledged the change in perspective brought about by the pandemic as a catalyst for personal growth.

"I think the pandemic taught us how to be resourceful again," Tabor said. "I kind of let a bunch of garbage go, personal stuff."

One of the things she let go of was the "stigma" of being a blues singer. A portion of her community had always discouraged her from singing blues music, calling it "simple" and "blue collar."

Blues music is far from simple. "I did a Koko Taylor tribute, and I've always dabbled in the blues," Tabor explained. "It took me weeks to get the tunes down and get the hits and the words and the innuendos and the references. The blues always tells the truth of where it lives."

Tabor and her band had a lot of fun with the Koko Taylor tribute. Afterwards, she wondered why she didn't perform the blues sooner. Part of the fun was making the audience dance.

"When people dance to your music, it's the greatest compliment, because that means you have made the connection, made their body move," Tabor said.

"Devil May Care" - Jacqueline Tabor

But Tabor isn't leaving her jazz sound behind.

"I'm not ever going to leave jazz because jazz is always going to be my heart and soul, and I love it."

Exploring folk music is also a possibility too. Tabor is considering collaborations with other singers, like Elnah Jordan and LaVon Hardison.

Her future aspirations include traveling, doing more in theater and continuing to just roll with it. For now, she'll continue dabbling with the blues and enjoy "the beautiful audiences."

Tabor will perform "Holiday Blues" on Dec. 4th at Seattle's Royal Room.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.