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Valerie Gillespie from Florida
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Artist History

Valerie Gillespie was born in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, where at the ripe old age of eight she picked up a saxophone for the first time. She was paid for her first professional gig at the age of fourteenand has been playing ever since, though not strictly on stage. Valerie paid her dues in the university classrooms just like the rest of us, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a major in Classical Saxophone Not content to stop there, she went on to get her Masters Degree in Jazz Saxophone from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Being a well-rounded player is something that is very important to Valerie. She might be seen one night playing classical pieces with the Florida Orchestra, the next evening playing with a jazz band in the park, then on Sunday morning you will usually find her playing in church.

Ask her which of her horns she likes most and she will certainly say it is her alto sax, a Selmar Mark VI that she bought in 1976 when she was just a young tyke. Since those days she has also acquired a Selmer tenor and baritone sax, as well as a Yamaha Custom soprano sax, flute, piccolo, and a Buffet clarinet. Valerie is an accomplished vocalist as well, with such influences as Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae, Diane Shuur, and many others.

Valerie has been fortunate enough to have played with many of the great entertainers of our time, including; Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Ben Vereen, Joan Rivers, Ray Charles, Jon Faddis, Steve Allen, Anthony Newley. And, she has traveled extensively with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra in the U.S. and Japan. Locally, you may have seen Valerie playing with Dan McMillion, Theo Valentin, JoAnn Samson, Belinda Womack and many other very talented musicians from the Tampa Bay area.

Valerie Gillespie Blog
  "Lush Life" Reviewed by RadioIndy.com!
POSTED BY: disturbed3003 POSTED ON: 23 Oct 2011 01:55 PM

You will be charmed by the exquisite musical talents of Valerie Gillespie and her fabulous Contemporary Jazz CD, “Lush Life.” This album showcases some fine talented performers on the saxophone/vocals, piano, upright bass, and drums. The finely crafted songs are magnetic and will seep subtly into your soul as this album offers songs that are either instrumental or with thought provoking vocals. Opening up the CD, “Beautiful Love,” is a beautiful instrumental featuring the enchanting sax playing a warm and inviting melodic melody. The title track, “Lush Life,” reveals passionate and soulful vocals that are dynamically brilliant. “Caravan,” has a mysterious tonality at first and then kicks in with a vibrant rhythm creating a delightful melody. If you are a fan of Jazz music and like artists such as Diana Krall or Dizzy Gillespie, then you will definitely enjoy the superb Jazz album, “Lush Life.”

-Diane and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out The Valerie Gillespie Ensemble's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

  NEWEST CD: Lush Life
POSTED BY: radioindy POSTED ON: 10 Oct 2011 12:17 PM

Valerie’s newest CD is entitled “Lush Life”, and it spans a wide variety of straight ahead jazz, from the beautiful title track, “Lush Life” which is a Billy Strayhorn ballad, to the high-energy samba of Dizzy Gillespie titled “Tanga”. From the traditional jazz tunes “Honeysuckle Rose”, and Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain”, to the more contemporary works of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” and Chick Corea’s “You’re Everything”, this CD will take you on an historical jazz journey you won’t soon forget.


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