"All men (women) dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men (women), for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."
JT "HALF PINT" KESSLER:
The big voiced, pint sized vocalist has been recognized as a daring, expressive and distinctive blues belter with a spirited personality to match. Kessler’s vocal abillities echo the sounds of Janis Joplin, Lulu, Lydia Pense and a little bit of Billie Holiday all swirled together.
She claims Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, Nina Simone, Ernestine Anderson, Cassandra Wilson, Tina Turner, Prince and James Brown as her greatest influences, although she brings originality to everything she touches.
While growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kessler became involved in community theater which surfaces in her vocal work today. After spending her college years studying Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, she married her next-door neighbor, they backpacked Alaska, moved to New York, had two babies, then returned to Arizona to open…and close their dream restaurant. “Truthfully, closing the doors of our restaurant ended up being a good thing. I took a deeper, closer look at my dreams and here is what I found…that performing was my real dream and that I needed to allow myself to pursue it, even if it seemed impractical. Ultimately, I found it to be just as impractical to live my secondary dreams, which the following excerpt from one of my songs really illustrates:
“It was time to do what feels good inside, not what others tell me to do. When I’m singing that sure feels good ‘cause it feels true. When I’m expressing my heart that feels right. That’s what I’m doin’ here tonight. I'm manifesting my destiny. I'm letting my dreams get the best of me. I'm loving it, looking to bleed through all the time. I'm embracing my sound, I'm willing to make the climb."
In an effort to 'shed their skin' they sold just about everything, packed the kids in the car and took off for Vermont to visit the cousins. Ultimately, they became residents and while living in Vermont, Kessler was fortunate to have found a mentor in the internationally known singing teacher Bill Reed (Circle in the Square Theater School, NYC). He helped Kessler access the voice behind the theater training, her organic sound - and out came the Blues, raw and real.
TRANSITION FROM SEMI-PROFESSIONAL TO PROFESSIONAL:
After successfully performing at The Bundy Center for The Arts in Vermont, she returned to her native state Arizona and joined Surprise Element Blues Band as lead vocalist. She went into the studio for her first recording session with Fred Green (an established Jazz Fusion band out of Tempe, AZ) and came out with a Blues demo titled “Half Pint Belts the Blues.” At the end of '06 Half Pint and The Unknown Blues Band (also known in the Jazz world as Kilimanjaro; Charles Eller, Paul Asbell, Tony Markellis, Luke Adler) stepped into Charles Eller Studios (the top New England recording studio that recently teamed up with Jacob Edgar, Putumayo World Music) to record 10 old-school Blues covers. Jennifer Tracy's debut record, Makin' My Mark, will be released in early 2008. In Jan 2008 a new line was created for public performances, HALF PINT AND THE CHASER'S, to back Half Pint's debut album; members include Half Pint on Vocals, Bob Mackenzie on Harmonica, Bill Darrow on Guitar, Tom Buckley on Bass and Jason Corbiere on Drums.
CONTACT me at myspacejennifertracykessler.
THE BOTTOM LINE ABOUT HALF PINT~Jennifer Tracy Kessler:
“When I sing from the gut I experience my power and I trust that." Like the in-your-face heat blast when stepping outside on an Arizona summer day, Jennifer Tracy's delivery packs serious punch. She never holds back, putting all 59 inches and 90 pounds into her raw, emotional laden Blues/Jazz vocals.
Jennifer Tracy Kessler may appear to be a petit flower, but once you witness her sing, that image is effortlessly replaced with that of a confident, soulful, powerhouse vocalist who is quite dangerous when singing!
JT'S JAZZY BLUES NEWS:
~Blues Guitar News, Feature Artist, April '08 (www.bluesguitarnews.com)
~HALF PINT Interview with New Sound Magazine, March '08 (www.newsoundmagazine.com)
~New Line-up for 2008, HALF PINT AND THE CHASER'S...includes Half Pint on Vocals, Bob Mackenzie on Harmonica, Bill Darrow on Guitar, Tom Buckley on Bass and Jason Corbiere...first public show at Backstage Pub, Essex, VT on Feb 29, '08.
~KPFT Blues on The Move, selected as Featured Artist, Spring '08.
~KVNF FM/Facilitating The Flow/Promotions, selected as Featured Artist, request for signed cd copies, Spring '08.
~The Big Break Podcast, unsigned independent artists podcast, selected as Featured Artist, late Feb '08.
~Kansas City Online Radio, Featured Artist, Jan 27-Feb 2, 2008 (Category: Muisc).
~Makin' My Mark, my debut album, is in it's final recording stages (late Nov '07) and I'm extremely proud of it...really looking forward to sharing it with my family, friends and future fans. I will host a CD Release Party in the summer, 2008 in Burlington, Vermont. I've spent a good amount of time at Charles Eller Studios in Charlotte, VT and wouldn't trade the experience for anything! Thanks Lane and Charles-much gratitude to you.
~August 6, 2007-Payin' the Cost To be The Boss has been selected by Emme K Jazz Magazine (www.emmekeditore.it) for their upcoming compilation CD and related magazine issue (that will include an article on the artist, the song and the upcoming album). Once a release date is set, that info will be made available here. Pretty cool. Pretty excited!!
~Month of July '07-Spent much of July in Mass intensely cultivating my Jazz vocals with Sheila Jordan and those outrageously talented musicians in the Jazz Dept. at UMASS, Amherst. I must mention a few of them by name...they desreve it...
Catherine Jenson-Hole, Dr. Billy Taylor, Dr. Fred Tillis, Bob Ferrier, Geri Allen, Jeff Holmes, Chip Jackson and Andy Jaffe.
~June 30, 2007, Royal Tyler Theater, UVM, Musical Theater Cabaret Performance; Bill Reed, Alan Langdon and Ken Schatz, Tim Guiles, Faculty.
~On March 11, 2007, Jennifer Tracy's version of "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss" hit #1 on the charts at Midnight Special Blues Radio, Live365.com.
~Top 10 songs in March 2007 on Midnight Special Blues Radio, as rated by Live365.com listeners:
Jennifer Tracy's version of "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss" placed 3rd for the month!
Varies for live performances and recordings. Live performances include no less than 4 players and as large as 8 players. When booking a gig, please specify the size line-up you are seeking.
Studio recordings include the following musicians:
JT "Half Pint" Kessler-Vocals
George Voland**-Valve Trombone
Bryan McNamara-Alto Sax
Michael Zsoldos-Tenor Sax
Chris Diasparra-Baritone Sax
John Rivers-Upright Bass
#=The Unknown Blues Band
*=Alex Toth and The Lazybirds
**=Pint Street Jazz
***=Harmonica Bob and The Fat Cats
Live performance recordings include the following musicians:
The Con Alma Trio
Jeff Holmes, Piano
Genevieve Rose, Bass
Mark Holovnia, Drums
The Bezanson Trio
Andy Jaffe, Piano
Jimmy Burgof, Bass
Gregory Caputo, Drums
~MAKIN' MY MARK-debut album to be released Feb.29, 2008.
~Kansas City Online Radio, Featured Artist, Jennifer Tracy Kessler, Jan 27-Feb 2, 2008
~Jazz Magazine, Emme K, Italy-"Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss" selected for compilation cd (August 6, 2007).
~"Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss (voted #1 by listeners on March 11, 2007), I Smell Trouble, Voodoo Woman" all given internet radio airplay at Midnight Special Blues Radio, Live365.com (Feb/March/April '07).
~"I'm A Woman, I Smell Trouble and Voodoo Woman" all given internet radio airplay at Helsinki's Blues Cafe, Live365.com (March, April '07)
~"I'm A Woman" given radio airplay at 1360 AM Philadelphia(2005)
~Half-Pint Belts the Blues Demo(Studio Z, AZ, 2005)
Paying The Cost To Be The Boss
Big Long Slidin' Thing
St. Louis Blues
Evil Gal Blues
Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
I Smell Trouble
I'm A Woman
It Ain't Nobody's Business (If I Do)
The Man Next Door
Your Love Is Where It Ought To Be
Voodoo Woman Live
God Bless The Child Live
St. Louis Blues Live
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
Jazz In July '07, Amherst, Mass Performance Reviews
[+ Show ]
"You're very unique. You have a great personality...love working with you! Your rendition of Voodo..."You're very unique. You have a great personality...love working with you! Your rendition of Voodoo Woman was great-you acted out the part! Loved your intro on God Bless The Child...great performance and emotion."
-Sheila Jordan, Jazz Vocalist,
recording atrist, teacher
"Excellent vocal quality. Wonderful interpretation and phrasing of God Bless The Child...bluesy feel and attitude! Great use of vocal power when needed. Yeah! St. Louis Blues is a perfect tune for you, nice job belting it out! Excellent stage presence and eye contact with the audience. You got it!"
-Bob Ferrier, Freelance Guitarist,
"God Bless The Child...this is a wonderful tune for you! Nice use of higher register-saving it for the end. You made us all smile!"
-Bruce Diehl, Saxophonist,
Director of Jazz Studies at
"You are a really great blues singer and performer...you execute this style perfectly. You allowed the words to come through...really built the song in Peel Me A Grape. You make songs your own which is great, great, great."
-Catherine Jensen-Hole, Jazz
Vocalist, Assisstant Professor
of Music, UMASS-Amherst
"You got it! Really great groove- vibe"
-Chip Jackson, Bassist,composer,
George Voland JAZZ
[+ Show ]
You're a fine musician and person with whom to play music, and I look forward to sharing the bandsta...You're a fine musician and person with whom to play music, and I look forward to sharing the bandstand with you sooner rather than later.
Bill Reed Voice Studios
"We've got something very special here"
Linda Spevacek Vocal Studio
"Incredible (raw) energy...powerful"
Radio Play Reviews
[+ Show ]
"Hey, you're dangerous when singing...absolutely great! My listeners are doing their 'job', they li..."Hey, you're dangerous when singing...absolutely great! My listeners are doing their 'job', they listen...and vote: yesterday my listeners pushed you to #1."
Midnight Special Blues Radio-Live 365.com
"I don't just like it, I love your sound...you will start to get airtime"
Helsinki's Blues Cafe-Live365.com
"Easily the best female vocalsit in the state of Arizona"
Surprise Element Blues Band
"She is the crown jewel of my project"
Cherri and the Violators
"She lights up the room when she sings"
Phoenix Film Institute
"Peter adored you. I adore you. You are a breath of fresh, intelligent, talented air"
The Raskin Group
[+ Show ]
"The power of her voice is earth shaking, yet she stands about five feet tall and couldn't weigh mor..."The power of her voice is earth shaking, yet she stands about five feet tall and couldn't weigh more than 100lbs."
Possible set-length can go from 15 minutes up to 75 minutes. Two-set show.
Some of the cover tunes I love to perform-
I Got What It Takes-Koko Taylor
I Smell Trouble-Ike and Tina Turner
I'm A Woman-Koko Taylor
St. Louis Blues-Ruth Brown
Voodoo Woman-Koko Taylor
Big Long Slidin' Thing-Dinah Washington
Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out-
God Bless the Child-Billie Holiday
Trouble In Mind-Janis Joplin
Piece of My Heart-Janis Joplin
You Must Have That True Religion-Mavis Staples
School Boy-Big Mama Thornton
Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness-Ruth Brown
Payin' the Cost To Be the Boss-B.B. King
Kansas City-James Brown
If You Love Me Like You Say-Deborah Coleman
Sweet Nothin's-Brenda Lee
Give Me One Reason-Tracy Chapman
Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand-Charles Brown
Evil Gal Blues-Dinah Washington
Damn Your Eyes-Etta James
Fine and Mellow-Billie Holiday
You Can Leave Your Hat On-Etta James
Since I've Been Lovin' You-Led Zeppelin
5-10-15 Hours-Ruth Brown
Mambo Baby-Ruth Brown
You Got Me Hummin'-Lydia Pense
Let Me Down Easy-Lydia Pense
I Wanna Be Around-James Brown
Blue Alert-Madeliene Peyroux
I'm All Right-Madeliene Peyroux
Straighten Up and Fly Right-Nat King Cole
Do I Move You-Nina Simone
He Treats Your Daughter Mean-Koko Taylor
Good Day For The Blues-Ruth Brown
It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World-James Brown
Cold Sweat-James Brown
Fat Daddy-Dinah Washington
It Hurt So Bad-Susan Tedeschi
Theme de Yoyo-Fantana Bass
Stormy Monday-Etta James
There are no upcoming dates at this time.