Joyce Cooling

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Joyce Cooling
Born (1969-12-31)December 31, 1969
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Genres Smooth jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1980–present
Labels Heads Up, Verve, Narada Jazz
Associated acts Jay Wagner, Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Mark Murphy, Al Jarreau, Charlie Byrd

Joyce Cooling is an American jazz guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter based in San Francisco.[1] Cooling has performed with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Mark Murphy, Al Jarreau, and Charlie Byrd among others.[1]

Musical career[edit]

Cooling was born into a musical family.[1] Her mother, a music teacher, was a classical music aficionado.

After moving to California from New York in the early 1980s, Cooling began sitting in on the percussion classes of master Ghanaian drummer, C. K. Ladzekpo.[2] Integrating the polyrhythms of West African music with her passion for melody and harmony, Cooling focused her attention on the guitar and proceeded to teach herself to play by ear.[1]

Cooling met keyboardist/ producer Jay Wagner on San Francisco's Brazilian jazz circuit.[1] Wagner was an original member of the popular San Francisco-based group Viva Brasil. Cooling joined Viva Brasil on a part-time basis in 1988 as a guitarist and background vocalist.[3]

Cooling's and Wagner's immediate chemistry and shared passion for songwriting resulted in their first collaboration - the 1989 independently produced and released album, Cameo, which featured the other members of Viva Brasil at that time.[3]

Together, Cooling and Wagner formed their own band in 1990 and continued performing and recording for the next six years. By 1996 they had completed their second self-produced album, Person2Person. While making its rounds to record companies, the album came to the attention of independent label, Heads Up International, who signed the duo to a two-record deal. They added four additional tracks and renamed the album Playing It Cool. The album was released internationally in the fall of 1997.[1] Cooling's second Heads Up album, Keeping It Cool, was released in the spring of 1999. In 2000, Cooling and Wagner signed with GRP/Verve Music Group and released their fourth album, Third Wish on September 11, 2001. In October 2001, Cooling recorded "The Christmas Song" with Lee Ritenour for the 2001 GRP holiday compilation, Making Spirits Bright. In 2004 Cooling and Wagner released their fifth album, This Girl's Got To Play, on Narada Records.[4]

Cooling's sixth album, Revolving Door, was released as Narada Jazz merged with the Blue Note label in 2006. Although Cooling had been a long-time member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Revolving Door signaled Cooling's official involvement with NAMI as a national advocate for the organization. Joyce has performed at NAMI national and regional events across the country and Cooling and Wagner donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their albums to NAMI.[5]

Cooling and Wagner recorded and released their original holiday song, "It's Feeling Like Christmas", in time for the 2008 holiday season, with an accompanying music video produced by Progressive Pulse.[6] A portion of the proceeds from the song went to NAMI.

Global Cooling is Cooling's seventh studio album and was released on April 22, 2009. The album spawned the single, "Dolores in Pink".

Personal life[edit]

In 2009 Cooling and Wagner officially founded their Music for the Mind program of concerts, events, and recordings that raise funds and awareness for NAMI and mental health.[7]


  • Cameo (There, 1989)
  • Playing It Cool (Heads Up, 1997)
  • Keeping Cool (Heads Up, 1999)
  • Third Wish (Verve, 2001)
  • This Girl's Got to Play (Narada Jazz, 2004)
  • Revolving Door (Narada Jazz, 2006)
  • "It's Feeling Like Christmas" (Single) (Group2, 2008)
  • Global Cooling (Group2, 2009)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hogan, Ed. "Joyce Cooling Biography". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ "CK Ladzekpo". University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on August 31, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Viva Brasil". Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Narada Artist Page". Narada Productions Inc. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Guitarist Raises Awareness with New Album". National Alliance on Mental Illness. September 2006. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Joyce Cooling: It's Feeling Like Christmas". Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ Cooling, Joyce (Winter 2009). "One Musician's Journey with NAMI" (PDF). NAMI Voice. National Alliance on Mental Illness (18): 3. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]