Above: Angela is pictured on her Night We Couldn't Say Good Night tour to Ontario at the Rex Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada with L-R: Jazz Pianist of the Year Bernie Senensky, 7-time Juno award winner Neil Swainson, and Order of Canada recipient jazz drummer Terry Clarke.
Angela Verbrugge Bio (200 Words)
Angela surprised world-wide jazz fans when she won the highly competitive JazzTimes’ Readers’ Poll for Best Female Vocalist after the release of her 2019 debut album recorded in New York. Since then, Angela has kept a busy tour schedule with performances at leading venues and festivals in Japan, Turkey, Germany, England, Luxembourg, and Canada. Taking inspiration from vintage musicals, the swing era, blues, and bebop, the Victoria-based vocalist pens original lyrics and compositions in the style of classic standards. Her arrangements of popular and lesser-known jazz standards are in-demand with listeners around the world. Her singing and songwriting have been lauded by JazzWise Magazine UK, JAZZIZ, Couleurs Jazz France, All About Jazz, JazzWax, Whole Note Magazine and many specialty blogs and critics. One of the busiest jazz bandleaders in Western Canada, Angela has been awarded competitive grants from Creative BC, Music BC, Canada Council and FACTOR. Her original songs have been featured on leading Spotify editorial playlists. Angela was one of the youngest graduates from Toronto’s George Brown School of Performing Arts after a youth spent in Kingston acting, playing piano and trombone. Her bands have included Jodi Proznick, Terry Clarke, Reg Schwager, Cameron Brown, Neil Swainson, and Bernie Senensky.
“Angela has good humor, good sense, and good taste, a rare combination. She is a hilariously pungent comedian / social critic / swing psychologist and a born storyteller. Angela has a remarkably winning voice. She is a pleasure to listen to, sometimes lemony, sometimes warm and embracing. She is the sole composer of three of the dozen songs on her most recent album, and the funny, playful lyricist for the other nine. Her work is head and shoulders above the usual flood of vocal jazz albums.”
Very Short Bio
Victoria, BC-based Angela Verbrugge caught listeners’ ears with her 2019 debut album recorded in New York City and she won the 2020 JazzTimes Readers’ Poll in the female jazz vocalist category. The magazine’s review of her album describes that Angela, who takes inspiration from vintage musicals, the swing era, blues, and bebop, has “conspicuously good taste”. She has been played on CBC, and was at the top of the National Earshot jazz charts for multiple weeks. Her song-writing collaborations have been featured in notable international publications. Angela made the top 30 recordings of the year list by Downbeat/LA Jazz Journal writer Scott Yanow for both albums. JazzWeekly describes the former actress as “fun and quirky, hip and a hoot, wispy and romantic; she slithers and oozes, and cleverly swings.”
Full Length Bio
JazzTimes Magazine writes that Canadian jazz vocalist Angela Verbrugge "possesses a winsome, brightly-burnished, pliable voice, with ample emotional intelligence, considerable song-writing skills, and conspicuously good taste.” In 2021, amazingly as a relative newcomer, Angela won the JazzTimes Readers' Poll, for Best Female Vocalist, edging out fierce competition.
Angela was one of the youngest graduates from Toronto’s George Brown School of Performing Arts after a youth spent active on the arts scene of her birth city, Kingston, Ontario. She relocated to Vancouver in 1997. In 2019, she moved to Vancouver Island. After having three kids (now 15, 17, and 19) and three brushes with death (drowning, car accident and cancer), she followed her passion to jazz by curating her own musical education through mentorship from band-mates, jam sessions, and by studying with leading musicians in the US and Canada. A life-long student, Angela has sought out lessons from acclaimed vocalists and musicians including Miles Black, Karrin Allyson, Sheila Jordan and technique under masters such as Caity Gyorgy, Lisa Popeil, Cecile LaRochelle and Judith Rabinovitch.
Angela recorded her debut album with a veteran piano trio in New York and released it through Gut String Records in 2019. The album charted on JazzWeek, Earshot, and debuted at number one in the jazz category on iTunes Canada. Wall Street Journal-writer and author/historian Will Friedwald writes in his liner notes of the project that Verbrugge possesses, "a vocal sound that's full of depth and nuance - welcoming the light without denying the existence of the darkness” and notes that she works with a “top-drawer arranging crew and cast of expert musicians”.
Angela is primarily influenced by traditional jazz, the swing era, vintage musicals, and bebop. As a lyricist, her work has received critical acclaim. “She is a witty songwriter, drawing on Cole Porter, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Johnny Mercer for inspiration and rapid-fire rhymes, occasionally resembling a less vinegary Dave Frishberg.” (JazzLives)
Angela has toured in Japan, Turkey, Germany, Luxembourg and England. Back in Canada, she lead groups on the main stages of the Victoria Jazz Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival, and at many premier Canadian jazz venues such as Frankie’s Jazz Club Vancouver, Hermann’s Jazz Club Victoria, the Rex Jazz Club in Toronto, and Yardbird Suite in Edmonton. Her trios have included such award-winning musicians as Reg Schwager, Cameron Brown, Anthony Pinciotti, Neil Swainson, Miles Black, Cory Weeds, Paul Rushka, Julian MacDonough, Ray Gallon, Jesse Cahill, Joe Poole, Bernie Senensky, Terry Clarke and Evan Sherman. Her record received critical acclaim from radio/podcast hosts across the globe, with airplay on CBC Saturday Night Jazz, Hot Air, NPR, popular jazz programs the U.S., South America, Europe and Asia. She has charted on both JazzWeek and EarShot, and the later chart selected her debut as a top 10 vocal jazz release in 2019, while seasoned critic Scott Yanow noted in his Top Most Memorable Listens of 2021.
George Harris at Jazz Weekly sums it up, describing, Angela is "fun and quirky, hip and a hoot, wispy and romantic; she slithers and oozes, and cleverly swings... in the Archie Comics of life, this lady is a bubbly Betty.”
Toronto Music Report describes, “Verbrugge addresses each song with the breathtakingly, absolutely natural and unaffected purity of her voice… her material sounds magical. A rare perfect album.”