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The Artistry of Joan Watson-Jones


Jazz is a storytelling art, and vocalist/lyricist/composer Joan Watson-Jones, who calls Derry, New Hampshire and New York City home, has a story to tell.


Armed with a master’s degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Watson-Jones had a long and successful teaching career in The Bronx and in New England. But the jazz seed had been growing in her ever since she was a child in Harlem, where she took piano and tap lessons at the age of four. Later, she learned to play guitar and drums, and was coached and mentored by the late singer Joyce Bryant.

With her husband’s encouragement, Watson-Jones gave in to the inner urge of her jazz muse, and became a full-time vocalist, lyricist and composer after she retired from teaching. She has been a mainstay on the New England jazz scene for three decades, was voted Best Jazz Singer in New Hampshire by New Hampshire Magazine and produces and hosts her half-hour podcast, The Jazz Room.

Photo by Lou Jones.
Blessed with a voice that purrs with passion and bops with the best of them, Watson-Jones is backed by her long-time trio: pianist-arranger Frank Wilkins, bassist David Zox and drummer Alvin Terry. She has released four albums: One More Year (1996), I Thought About You (2006), Quiet Conversation - A Duet (2013) and Choices (2021). Her latest release primarily consists of her own compositions, including the title track, a lilting, Latinesque tribute to her mother, a former Moulin Rouge dancer; “A Child’s Dream,” a mid-tempo, Quiet Storm shout out to her father, who was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s doctor, and a member of the Upper Manhattan Medical Group (the inspiration for Billy Strayhorn’s “UMMG”); and “The First Time We Met,” a love song with a bossa nova beat.

Choices is a critics favorite. Jonathan Widran of The JW Vibe writes that Watson-Jones is a, “deeply soulful, emotional and sublimely swinging singer,” and Dick Metcalf, Editor of Contemporary Fusion Reviews, writes that the album is, “full of ultra cool original jazz stories.” And the public agrees, as evidenced by her position on the Roots Music Chart for an astonishing 41 weeks!

Video - Mother Wore Boxing Trunks

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Watson-Jones, who mostly works in New York and New England, performs regularly at The Lilypad in Cambridge , MA.

For Watson-Jones, it’s about the swing and the stories. “Our goal is to give you a joyful musical  experience so you go home happy and relaxed,” she says. “We're not just about jazz tunes and improvisation, but storytelling in song.”


Next time Joan Watson-Jones performs in your area, stop by for a story or two.

O's Notes:

Joan is a great storyteller and has packed this set with bountiful lyrics detailing personal experiences. She pays homage to her mother on the title track, her father on “My Child‘s Dreams”, and MLK on “Talking With Martin” as she makes a desperate plea to not regress on civil rights. There are the requisite heartaches on “I Ain’t Just A Pretty Face” as music director, arranger Frank Wilkins leads the supporting trio with accents in all the right places.

O’s Place Jazz Newsletter by D. Oscar Groomes

......“The songs are full of meaningful lyrics about items that matter. I look forward to hearing more from this lady…. She can sing - and how!”

Lance Liddle- Bebop Spoken Here

For interview requests and press releases contact 
   Carolyn McClair Public Relations

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