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Born in Islip, New York, Patti Wicks is a singer/pianist in the tradition of Jeri Southern, Nina Simone and Shirley Horn.While studying at Crane School of Music at Potsdam, NY in the late 1960's, Wicks heard the trumpet of a young John LaBarbera and this experience hooked her on a career in jazz. Moving to NYC in 1969, Wicks went on to lead a trio of Brian Torff on bass and drummer Curtis Boyd. Torff later became George Shearing's regular bassist. Wicks also played in small groups which included the likes of drummer Alan Dawson and bass players Sam Jones and Richard Davis. While in NYC, she entertained at many of the city's more important jazz spots, including Bradleys'. Wicks moved to West Palm Beach, FL in 1977 where for many years she played at the Jazz Showcase, one of the major jazz house in the area. During the 1990's, with her current trio of bass player Don Payne and drummer John Yarling she moved up and down the east coast playing at jazz spots in the Hamptons on New York's Long Island, at the Jazz Corner, Hilton, SC and at various concerts and festivals. As she was developing her style, Wicks made a point not to listen too much to other vocalists fearing she would end up trying to be a clone of one of them. Rather, she concentrated on the works of instrumentalists Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans. You can hear the influence of the horn players in her singing and the effect of Evans on her piano is obvious. Room at the Top, her maiden album, featuring Payne and Yarling was released in 1998. Her performance on this session demonstrates the element of jazz singing which Wicks holds most dearly, the singer's responsibility for communicating the meaning of the lyrics. Although her range is limited, Wicks' diction, phrasing and intonation are excellent. The tradition of the piano playing singer is good hands with Patti Wicks.
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