b. Patricia Stephanie Nakasian, 29 August 1954, Washington, DC, USA. Nakasian’s mother had been a singer in the 40s, working with the popular Meyer Davis band. Raised in Bronxville, New York, she studied classical music, becoming an accomplished pianist and violinist and she also sang in choral groups and studied voice privately. Planning a career in commerce, she attained an economics degree and worked for a while in banking and as a financial consultant. In 1980, she met pianist Hod O’Brien and soon thereafter abandoned her career and began singing with him (and later the couple were married). In the mid-80s, as a member of Jon Hendricks’ group, Company, she began attracting attention and capitalized on this with several well-received solo recordings.
Nakasian has played at many jazz festivals throughout Europe and the USA. With Jim Cullum, she has made numerous broadcasts, often in programmes of songs from the 30s and reflecting upon singers of that era, such as Helen Humes, Peggy Lee, Helen Ward and Lee Wiley. With the Pete Rugolo orchestra, she has appeared in a June Christy tribute and she has also worked with Dick Hyman on shows paying tribute to composers Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Donaldson. Among musicians with whom she has appeared both live and on record are Harry Allen, Wayne Andre, Urbie Green, Scott Hamilton, Milt Hinton, Vic Juris, Joe LaBarbera, Chuck Riggs, Clark Terry, Nabil Totah and Phil Woods. She has also appeared in Denmark with the Danish Radio Big Band. Nakasian has toured her concert revues, The Great Ladies Of American Song and other tribute concepts, to venues around the USA, especially on the university circuit. One of Nakasian’s concept shows, Band Singers To Broadway, Bebop And Beyond, forms the basis of a course at the University of Virginia that she teaches. She also teaches jazz voice and vocal jazz improvisation at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Additionally, Nakasian conducts seminars and workshops on many aspects of singing at colleges and universities.