Licensed to Thrill by Donna Byrne on Apple Music

13 Songs


About Donna Byrne

Donna Byrne hasn't strayed far from her birthplace as she pursues her singing career in New England. Aside from listening to big bands on the radio as a child, her first real jazz experience came when she discovered some Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald records at an uncle's house. Many years of taking dancing lessons exposed her to standards. All of this eventually led to private voice lessons. When she started working her first gig, a happy hour in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1977 (she was eight months pregnant at the time), the piano player she was working with and all the musicians who came to listen to her (one of whom was Dave McKenna) insisted that she was a jazz singer. She improvised and played around with the melody line and with the lyrics, and qualified as a member in very good standing of the jazz vocalist sorority.

Over the years, Byrne has worked important jazz venues including the Blue Note and Tavern on the Green in N.Y.C., the Jazz Bakery in L.A., and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.. At these appearances, she shared the stage with such prominent jazz artists as Dave McKenna, Gray Sargent, Herb Pomeroy, Marshall Wood, and John Clayton, among others. At one performance during the Tavern on the Green gig, she was taken aback a bit when she saw Tony Bennett, Margaret Whiting, Daryl Sherman, Jay Leonhart, Monty Alexander, and Marlene Ver Planck sitting in the audience. But she ended up singing "Happy Birthday" to Bennett. Her cool clear voice, her excellent range and diction, and her interpretative abilities reveal the influences of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Irene Kral, and Mabel Mercer. Her fifth album, Byrnin, with Tim Ray, Marshall Wood, and Jim Gwin was released in 1998 by Ol' Socks Records. Byrne has also guested on albums by Ken Hadley Big Band and by Greg Abate. She continues to reside in Massachusetts and performs regularly at jazz venues there and along the East Coast. ~ Dave Nathan


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