With ‘Journey In Black’ Emerging Jazz Vocalist Christie Dashiell Brings the World to Her Doorstep

Christie Dashiell's long-awaited sophomore album is a showcase for her unique voice | Courtesy of the artist

Journey In Black, the long-awaited sophomore album from jazz vocalist Christie Dashiell features seven original compositions and two arrangements that explore themes of freedom, legacy, grief and joy.

Funded in part by Chamber Music America’s Performance Plus Grant, the collection fuses the sounds of improvised music and various styles of Black American Music. Titled Journey in Black, the album boasts a stellar casts of musicians, including Shedrick Mitchell, Marquis Hill, Allyn Johnson, Remeir Mendez and Caroll Dashiell III with creative guidance from NEA Jazz Master, Dianne Reeves. 

I first heard of Christie Dashiell via the “Capsulocity Series” created by Brandon Bain in New York City, where he interviewed a group of emerging jazz musicians all coming of age between 2013 and 2020; an incredible encapsulation of a new movement in jazz. 

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Greenville, North Carolina, Christie Dashiell is a graduate of Howard University and the Manhattan School of Music. As a member of Afro-Blue, Howard University’s Premier Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Dashiell appeared on NBC’s The Sing Off. She has twice received recognition in DownBeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards as Outstanding Soloist and Best Vocalist in the Graduate College division. Dashiell tours with her own quartet, and has performed with Nancy Wilson, Geri Allen, Smokey Robinson, Esperanza Spaulding and Fred Hammond. She has appeared at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, DC Jazz Festival and Winter Jazzfest in New York City.

Personally, it was Dashiell’s debut, Time All Mine, that got my attention. She’s a one-of-a-kind jazz vocalist, blending the soulfulness and warmth of an R&B singer but with the phrasing of Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Carmen Lundy, with nods to Oleta Adams and Dianne Reeves as well. She has her own flavor, and she doesn’t sacrifice appeal for style, in the way some young jazz singers give up their identity of being young to attempt to sound old; Christie retains a fresh and bold approach.

I caught Dashiell and her incredible trio at Dizzy’s Club in NYC a few weeks ago. Her unofficial album release, it was an incredibly engaging performance — I could have sat there all night and listened to her tell the story of an album conceived during the pandemic.

Dashiell is clearly on a mission when she sings, and I believe it’s to bring healing and beauty to the world through her voice. Journey in Black, I believe, is part of a larger body of work that Dashiell is building that will bring the world to her doorstep.

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