Bio: Learn About Phyllis Battle
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Phyllis Battle, born in Chicago and raised in New York, is a phenomenal jazz vocalist whose style will take you to another dimension. Whether she’s soaring with a symphony, sizzling in the studio or swinging with a jazz trio she will astound you. The City of Los Angeles honored Phyllis with a “Jazz Living Legends” distinction in June 2014. Her talents and contributions have been acknowledged with the Marla Gibbs Entertainment Award, Community Activists Award from Recycling Black Dollars and others.
During the course of her musical romance, Phyllis has toured worldwide with iconic artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Rita Coolidge, Donna Summers and a host of others. She has opened shows for Poncho Sanchez, Ronnie Laws, Gerald Albright and Diane Reeves. Her studio recording credits include sessions with Stanley Clark, George Duke, Bernard Ighner, David Peaston, The S.O.S. Band and others.
For sixteen years she toured, recorded and performed with the internationally acclaimed, nine Grammy Award winning group The 5th Dimension. Throughout this time, she made television appearances, performed during the NFL Super Bowl Half time Show, and was a cast member performing in the Fats Waller musical, “Ain’t MisBehavin.”
Phyllis’ versatility as a career vocalist has spanned R&B, pop, blues and other genres, but jazz has always been her first love and she has gained the respect of peers and audiences as a solo performer and recording artist. She made an indelible impression with her Grammy nominated CD “Night Flight”, a straight ahead jazz project, produced by jazz legends Cedar Walton and executive producer Billy Higgins. This landmark recording is a timeless jazz work that allows one to truly enjoy her vocal brilliance. Years after its initial release, the success of “Night Flight” launched Phyllis’ tour to the “Grand Hyatt Santiago” in Santiago, Chile and “The Oriental” in Bangkok, Thailand. While in Thailand she sang for an entourage of international dignitaries attending the celebration of the 60th anniversary reign for the King of Thailand and received rave reviews from both countries. She also recorded her CD "Battle in Bangkok."
Phyllis is known for her mastery of a performance style referred to as “edutainment,” educating an audience through the medium of entertainment. An audience member at one of her concerts stated, “I felt like I had been on the A-Train after spending time in the Cotton Club by the time she sang her last song.” Beyond her talents as a jazz entertainer, Phyllis is respected as a live jazz producer, as well as one of Southern California’s most creative playwrights for original jazz theatre projects that she has written, produced and performed. In recent years, she has packed local venues with her current work, “Satin Dolls,” a one-woman show featuring tribute performances to Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington and Carmen McCrae. Phyllis dons costumes to step into the character of each of these legendary vocalists, backed by a live jazz trio.
This year also marks the return of one of her signature community productions, “Jazz Communion.” Presented each quarter of 2017, this four-part series serves as a rare opportunity for up and coming talent to perform onstage with established jazz artists. The first show in March 2017 was sold-out, with the audience treated to a vocal performance, up close and personal with Phyllis Battle and her band. She regards one of her recent recording projects as one of her most creative yet, as it entailed creating and performing the soundtrack to accompany “The Long Walk: Slavery to Freedom,” a book by Judith C. Owens-Lalude.
For several years Phyllis served as Artistic Director for the acclaimed "Instrumental Women” annual Jazz concert series. The inaugural May 2000 performance was sold out at the 600-seat Academy of Television Arts & Sciences theatre in North Hollywood. She was responsible for scripting and staging the show, coordinating and hiring the musicians, selecting the music and performing as the featured vocalist. In January 2014, she was featured on the big screen in the leading role in “Good Girls Don’t Do That,” a short film that premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Along with singing, acting and recording Phyllis’ entrepreneurial spirit shines forth, as CEO of JA-PHYL’S, her Production Company. Over the years she has taught music education programs and jazz to elementary school children, and conducted jazz vocal workshops for adults. She has a track record of contributing her expertise and experience to her community, including her current role as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Inglewood, CA.
If this is the first time you are being introduced to the name “Phyllis Battle,” we guarantee, after you have the chance to hear her sing, you’ll never forget her.
FATS WALLER'S "AIN'T MISBEHAVIN" PERFORMANCE
GUEST APPEARANCES WITH:
Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, H.B. Barnum, Buddy Collete, Horace Tapscott Orchestra, Gerald Albright, Joe Williams, Leslie Drayton and Billy Mitchell
TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS/VOLUNTEER WORK:
Listen to Phyllis Battle
Sampling of Festivals, Tours & Special Events
"Her Business, Her Voice, Her Conversation"
with Margo Lovett
Initial broadcast was Monday, March 13th, 2017
What Others Say About Phyllis Battle
Enjoy a sampling of media clips.
Read more reviews at the bottom of this page.
PHYLLIS BATTLE WROTE, PERFORMED AND PRODUCED SOUNDTRACK FOR "THE LONG WALK"
Contact: La Quetta M. Shamblee
Cell: (626) 806-9264 - MEDIA ONLY
"...and a superior gospel blues singer, Phyllis Battle, who battled with a recalcitrant microphone and won by a bar's breath."
- Leonard Feather, legendary L.A. Times Jazz Critic