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Joni Janak & Centerpiece Jazz

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Biography

b. 24 August 1944, Amarillo, Texas, USA. Raised in a very musical family Janak was taught singing, dancing and piano at the Amarillo College of Music which was owned and operated by her parents and grandparents. She gave public recitals from the age of eight and had her first professional singing job at 13. She received a vocal scholarship to Texas Tech University in Lubbock and, after returning to Amarillo, sang with many different bands and performed a concert with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra at the age of 22. She went to Houston, Texas, to sing in the Carriage Club at the Sheraton Lincoln Hotel until 1969 when she moved to Denver, Colorado, to further her career. In Denver, she sang with many resident and visiting jazz musicians at various clubs, among them Dale Bruning, Ellyn Rucker, Phil Urso, Peanuts Hucko, Bobby Greene, Todd Reid, the Hot Tomatoes Jazz Band, Howard Davis and Jim Riley, recording with both of the last named. It was while Janak was appearing at the El Chapultepec club in Denver, where she has long held a residency, that she met Carl Fontana who invited her to Las Vegas to work with him. In Las Vegas, she also worked with Carson Smith, Tom Montgomery, Vinnie Tano, Bill Berry, Herbie Phillips and Bill Watrous. She also sang on a jazz cruise with the Johnny Carson Tonight Show Allstars. Janak has appeared at many jazz festivals and at concerts, sometimes with Bruning and storyteller Jude Hibler in their theme concerts celebrating the music of significant composers. In the early years of the new millennium, her name was beginning to attract attention overseas with appearances in Europe and the release there of her first own name album and a set with Fontana. A dynamic and highly polished performer, owing in large part to her background of training and extensive experience, Janak’s maturity of sound result in highly satisfying performances.