When you listen to Sherris thoughtful way with a vocal line or her vibrant sense of swing or her effortless embodiment of a song's emotion it's hard not to notice the extent of her affection for her songs.
Sherri Roberts was raised in Atlanta Georgia and received a B.A. in theatre from Antioch College in Ohio. It was there she was first introduced to jazz studies - its history and repertoire - as well as early Renaissance choral music and the 20th Century avant garde.
Upon relocating to San Francisco she became involved in both theatre performance and management while never abandoning her love of singing and her growing interest in jazz. At a transitional point in her life she recognized that exploring the rich emotional life of a character through story could be done far more economically in a four minute song than a two hour play; that a well written song is like a miniature play distilled down to it’s musical essence; and that singing like acting Ms. Roberts blurs the line between cabaret and jazz singing. She performs the tunes of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley in modern jazz settings while her great affinity for Brazilian music and the lyricized compositions of contemporary artists such as Dave Brubeck Marian McPartland and Bill Evans keeps her song choices personal and exciting. She takes her innate feeling for melody and rhythm and mates it with an attraction for less-known and wrongly-neglected songs.
Ms. Roberts’ interpretation of this repertoire draws inspiration from the Vo-Cool jazz era. Her velvet voice laid-back phrasing impeccable diction and subtle understated delivery have invited favorable comparisons to June Christy Chet Baker and Helen Merrill. Yet her pillowy sound and intimate approach are all her own.
The Sky Could Send You her latest recording is produced and arranged by bassist Harvie S with special guests legendary saxophonist Phil Woods and trumpet virtuoso Lew Soloff. "Sweet sensitive and sassy" is how Jesse "Chuy" Varela of the Bay Area’s KCSM FM describes Sherri’s vocals on this outing."Sky" released in February of 2006 on the Blue House Recordings/Pacific Coast Jazz labels marks Sherri’s third collaboration with Harvie S following their critically acclaimed recordings on the Brownstone label:Twilight World (1996) and Dreamsville (1998).
Twilight World was called "an impressively warm and lyrical debut" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Dreamsville followed garnering even greater critical response. JazzTimes said "Everything works here. Encore Ms. Roberts." Cadence Magazine effused "Her voice is beautifully expressive and rhythmically fluent. And the intelligence behind each lyric interpretation is manifest." And the Los Angeles Times called Roberts "A superior bop and standards vocalist (who) puts plenty of feeling and swing into her music." Dreamsville distributed internationally also received significant radio airplay on over 100 jazz stations throughout North America. It charted on the prestigious Gavin Report where it remained for a full seven weeks.
Sherri has recorded or performed with Harvie S Mark Soskin Danny Gottlieb Chris Potter Eric Friedlander Kieth Underwood Joe Le Barbera John Hart Vince Cherico and many top Bay Area musicians.
Ms. Roberts is a true scholar of popular music with a deep appreciation for its heritage and freely sites such diverse influences as Ella Fitzgerald Carol Sloane Irene Kral Chet Baker and Shirley Horn. She was priveleged to study with jazz master Sheila Jordan and also with the late Jeri Southern as well as with Mark Murphy Jovino Santos Neto and Dr. Billy Taylor.
She performs regularly in the Bay Area and has toured to major jazz venues both in the states and abroad.