Glennis Houston Jazz Group
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Glennis Houston Jazz Group

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The best kept secret in music


"Houston has Lift Off"

Always go with your first instincts.

Calgary-based jazz singer Glennis Houston is just realizing how true that cliche can be. "When I was five, I remember my mom standing in the kitchen with me and out of the blue she asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said 'a singer.'" says Houston. "And then I never did anything about it."

Well, that's not entirely true.

Houston spent "six years and thousands of dollars" getting a master's degree in classical voice at the University of Colorado before she finally made the decision to follow those first instincts and actually do it -- be a singer, a jazz singer.

You could say with the release of her full-length debut, Lies of Handsome Men, she's accomplished that.

The disc, which shows off her warm, rich, emotive vocals over 13 playfully sensual songs was recorded over a 12-1/2 hr period in Vancouver last year.

It was produced by local jazz musician and educator, John Reid, who also played a hand in Houston realizing her dream by nudging her to record the disc after catching one of her live shows.

"Anybody in the performing arts is a bit of a neurotic," she admits. "We get ourselves out there and we have a great time, but I think a lot of us have pretty big doubts about what we're doing and whether it's any good. Sometimes, yeah, you just need a bit of affirmation from somebody else in the business."

It also helps when you get a little affirmation from the cosmos, or fate, or whatever you want to call it.

Houston was recently offered a golden handshake from her day job, which will allow her to throw all of her time and energy into her jazz ambitions.

Her horoscope for this year concurred. "It said this year I was going to stop hving just a job and concentrate on really what I wanted to be when I grew up," she says. "So life is terrific right now."

Well, mostly terrific -- Houston's desperately trying to shake a cold before tonight's release at BeatNiq Jazz & Social Club. "I don't have rock start status yet, so there's no postponing this," she says with a light laugh.


"There's always hope" she says.

Yes, there is. - Mike Bell, Calgary Sun

"Jazz vocalist thinking warm thoughts"

Sick and tired of the mind-numbing temperatures we've had to put up with this week? No more so than jazz vocalist Glennis Houston.

"I just hope it's not going to be as cold tonight," Houston says with a laugh. "Otherwise, I'm going to have to sing Summertime over and over and over."

Houston has good reason to pray that Calgary's less-than-balmy mercury doesn't plummet too many more degrees.

It's bad for business -- specifically those who plan to brave the elements and come out for her CD release party featuring Houston's debut CD, Lies of Handsome Men.

The show, which will showcase all 13 tunes, is slated to start at 9 p.m. "Jazz time" at the BeatNiq.

Vancouver-based jazz pianist Michael Creber had three local musicians -- Greg Prior on bass, John DeWaal on drums and saxophonist/flutist John Reid -- will complement Houston's signature sexy, smoky style.

Houston's CD, which is available on her website,, can also be obtained at Megatunes next week.

- Jennifer Partridge, Calgary Herald


Lies of Handsome Man - released Jan 30/04

Various tracks on internet stations; airplay on campus stations, CKUA and CBC in Canada and on numerous jazz stations in the U.S.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Glennis has been singing for 20 years, starting with musical theatre, then pursuing a masters in classical voice, and finally finding her way to jazz and blues, which is where she feels most comfortable and finds it easiest to express herself.

Influences have been as varied as Ella & Billie, right through to Cheryl Fisher, Dianne Reeves, Anita O'Day, and Holly Cole.

The "guys" each have their own styles and influences, but the most important thing is their individual creativeness, experimentalist, openness and eagerness to pursue any and all avenues open to them.