Based in New York City much of her life, Jody Sandhaus was a tasteful jazz vocalist with cabaret and traditional pop influences. Sandhaus was not the type of singer who goes out of her way to be abstract, complicated, or cerebral; her approach was quite accessible and straightforward, and her influences included Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Irene Kral, Maxine Sullivan, and Anita O'Day (among others). Sandhaus tended to pay a lot of attention to the Tin Pan Alley songbook, but unlike some jazz vocalists, she did not limit herself to the most famous standards -- if Sandhaus tackled Cole Porter or the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein team on either her CDs or her live performances, she would get into both the standards and the worthwhile songs that others overlook. And if she turned her attention to the Duke Ellington songbook, she would look for a gem that hadn't been recorded all that often (such as "I Like the Sunrise," which she performed on her A Fine Spring Morning album).
Although Sandhaus grew up in the Big Apple, she was actually born in Houston, Texas. She didn't start out wanting to be a jazz singer -- that didn't happen until adulthood. But she did study classical piano when she was growing up, and her interest in European classical music continued after she graduated from high school and moved to Cleveland, Ohio to study liberal arts at Case Western Reserve University. After earning her degree, Sandhaus spent some time in St. Maarten in the West indies -- and that was where she seriously got into vocal jazz and traditional pre-rock pop. In the ‘80s, Sandhaus moved back to New York City, where she studied with vocal coach Marie Traficante and became part of the Big Apple jazz scene. New York was also where Sandhaus met jazz pianist Pete Malinverni, who she ended up marrying. Winter Moon, Sandhaus' first album, was released on the Saranac label in 1997; recorded her second album, I Think of You, for Consolidated Artists Productions (CAP) in 2000 and her third album, A Fine Spring Morning (also on CAP), in 2004. Afterglow appeared in 2009. Sandhaus died on July 17, 2012 after an extended battle with breast cancer. ~ Alex Henderson