Roseanna Vitro

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Roseanna Vitro
Roseanna Vitro
Background information
Born (1951-02-28) February 28, 1951 (age 65)
Years active 1985–Present
Labels Motéma Music
Half Note Records
Challenge Records
Concord Records
SeaBreeze Jazz
Chase Music Group

Roseanna Vitro is a jazz singer and educator.


Born Roseanna Elizabeth Vitro[1] in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on February 28, 1951, Vitro began singing at an early age, drawing inspiration from various musical genres like gospel, rock, and R&B, theatre, and classical music.[2] During the 1950s, her father owned a night club in Hot Springs called The Flamingo. He loved Dean Martin's music and opera, and her mother's family sang gospel. By the 1960s, Vitro was determined to be a rock singer.[3] She was exposed to jazz and it became her genre of choice after moving to Houston in the 1970s. Ray Sullenger discovered Roseanna and presented her to the Houston Jazz Community where she studied with voice coach Ray Sullenger and sang frequently with tenor Arnett Cobb.[4]

Vitro worked for two years in Houston's Green Room with her group "Roseanna with Strings and Things" hosting a radio show on KUHF-Fm, which featured guests like Arnett Cobb. Many jazz greats stopped in and played with Strings and Things, such as Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan and Keter Betts. While in Houston, she performed many times with saxophonist Arnett Cobb, who, along with Sullenger and pianist Oscar Peterson, encouraged her to dedicate herself to jazz. In 1978 she moved to New York City with guitarist Scott Hardy and began to study with Gabore Carelli, a professor from the Manhattan School of Music and started performing with Kenny Werner and Fred Hersch. She also sat in with and ultimately toured with Lionel Hampton. In New York, she appeared at all the major jazz clubs including The Blue Note, Iridium, Birdland, and Dizzy's Jazz Club at Lincoln Center. She also appeared with Steve Allen at New York's Town Hall and recorded an album of Allen's original compositions. In 2005 she performed and recorded live with Kenny Werner at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Throughout her career she has collaborated with musicians such as Kenny Werner, Christian McBride, Elvin Jones, Gary Bartz, Kevin Mahogany and David "Fathead" Newman, all of whom have appeared on her recordings.[2] Vitro is an active performer, touring throughout the United States and abroad. She has been broadcast on WBGO-FM (Newark, New Jersey) and on National Public Radio, Marian McPartland's Program.[1] She has recorded thirteen critically acclaimed CDs and toured throughout the United States to support substantial airplay in all major markets. The 2011 recording The Music of Randy Newman received 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat Magazine. Randy Newman is quoted as saying: "Roseanna is a great artist." The album was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of Best Vocal Jazz Album.

In addition to being a critically acclaimed performer and recording artist, Vitro is a teacher and clinician. She has taught Vocal Jazz at State University of New York at Purchase and currently holds a teaching post at New Jersey City University and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She holds frequent workshops, clinics, and master classes. She herself has studied classical voice, ear-training, classical Indian vocal technique, Portuguese language, piano, and jazz technique and concept.[2]

Vitro has never avoided politics, and in 2011 she released an album of Randy Newman jazz arrangements. She frequently performs music outside the standard repertoire.[5]


Except where otherwise indicated, all information accessed from The Encyclopedia of Popular Music at Oxford Music Online.[2]

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • Inducted into Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame 1998, with Bob Dorough and John Stubblefield.[7]
  • Selected as a "U.S. Jazz Ambassador" in 2004 for The John F. Kennedy Center & The U.S. State Department,[8] and The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad featured artist in 2009 with her band JazzIAm.[9]
  • Nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of the Best Vocal Jazz Album for "The Music of Randy Newman" (Motéma Music, 2011)


  1. ^ a b Scott Fredrickson and Gary W. Kennedy. "Vitro (Wickliffe), Roseanna." In The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., edited by Barry Kernfeld. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. (accessed February 15, 2011).
  2. ^ Roseanna Vitro interprets Randy Newman’s songbook
  3. ^ M. G. Nastos, “Riffs: Vitro Makes Major Label Debut,” Downbeat Magazine, February 1994.
  4. ^ Andrew Gilbert. "Roseanna Vitro Interprets Randy Newman’s Songbook." Berkeleyside. September 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer (Musical CD, 2014)". Worldcat. Accessed May 8, 2015.
  6. ^ 1998 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame Inductees. Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2011.
  7. ^ McNally, Owen. "Jazz Songstress Roseanna Vitro Returning To Japanalia Eiko". The Hartford Courant. October 28, 2013. Accessed February 7, 2014.
  8. ^ The Rhythm Road 2009 Bands. Jazz at Lincoln Center. Accessed February 7, 2014.

External links[edit]

Interviews by Roseanna Vitro at JazzTimes