Monday, Feb. 22 at Desert Willow Golf Resort
By Patte Purcell
I am blessed to be able to work with amazing artists. I am excited to be working with a vocalist who I believe could break into the big leagues. Her name is Gretje Angell (pronounced Gretta). I was introduced to her via Karl Erickson my production partner for the ‘Celebrity Jazz Jam’ series. She and her musical partner Dori Amarillo, a talented producer and exquisite guitar player, make up the duet. They will be gracing us with beautiful Brazilian and Bossa nova music for the next Celebrity Jazz Jam, Latin night on Monday, Feb. 22 at the incredible Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert. Their intimate presentation will begin the evening on an easy note. Her voice has been described as “honey on velvet” by Sunny Wilkinson.
She began working with Dori two years ago when they met at a jazz jam and clicked. She calls him ‘an amazing producer’ with the ‘best ears’. They are working on a CD that can be experienced on YouTube under their names. She hopes to release it this spring. The combination of the beautiful vocals and Dori’s Spanish acoustic guitar make their songs a soothing balm for frazzled nerves. A glass of wine and an evening listening to them under the stars insures a memorable evening.
Gretje said that Dori has continued her musical education, ‘filling in the gaps’. She feels very fortunate to be able to play with the best musicians in LA, and aspires to be considered not only a vocalist, but a great musician, herself.
Gretje is originally from Akron, Ohio and is the daughter of jazz drummer Tommy Voorhees. She began her musical adventure at age 5, performing with regional choirs. Interested in the contrabasso at 8, she joined the school orchestra and jazz band. She continued to study both voice and bass through high school, with an emphasis on classical voice. Upon entering Mount Union College, with a Vocal Performance Scholarship, she took opera as her major. However, being raised and surrounded by jazz musicians, Gretje returned to her roots when she moved to California, studying jazz and performing with some of LA’s finest musicians.
Gretje, whose main influences are Anita O’Day, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae, has quickly become a favorite in the jazz clubs, in Los Angeles.
In 2013, she joined the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera Company, and has had the great pleasure of performing Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Tebaldo in Don Carlo, and the Voice of the High Priestess in Aida, and Pamina in Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute). She is enjoying her role of Ilia in Idomeneo in the 2016 season with the LAMet.
She describes her style as bebop and is a lover of straight ahead jazz. On Feb. 13th, she will be the featured vocalist with The Ladd McIntosh Swing Orchestra, something she is very excited about. Like Gretje, Ladd (a film orchestrator) hails from Akron and is from the same era as her father (who passed away when she was 21). The LMSO is a 16 piece big band, boasting all the first-call musicians in Los Angeles.
On Feb. 20, she is performing in an organ quartet with Dori on guitar, Carey Frank on Hammond B3 organ, and Kyle Crane on drums, at Camilos’ in Eagle Rock (La Area). Every Sunday she and Dori perform at the Firefly Studio City brunch from 11 am until 2 pm as a duo.
Gretje’s goals include playing on a larger scale at jazz festivals. She would love to tour the world, especially Italy, performing for all of the exciting festivals the world has to offer. She aspires to work with the most skilled musicians and artists she can find. At 34, she is happily married and has two beautiful sons that are 4 and 2 1/2. While pregnant with her first boy, her love of jazz inspired her to continue her career after a long bout of stage fright, and subsequent hiatus from the music world. Afraid no longer, Gretje is taking the bull by the horns and realizing her dreams.
Whether she’s performing jazz or using her beautiful lyric coloratura soprano voice in an opera, Gretje brings energy and light to each performance she gives. She will enchant you.
You can find out her schedule by visiting her site at www.gretjeangell.com.
When I asked her for a message for her fans she joked “the two of them?” I assured her she would leave the Celebrity Jazz Jam with over 200 more! Her message was, “I am honored and thrilled to be included in the line-up.”
She and Dori will be opening the Celebrity Jazz Jam, Latin night at Desert Willow Golf Resort on Monday Feb. 22, 5-8 pm with 15 artists from all over. This will definitely be a sell out as there are only 9 tables left with 2 weeks to go. You can pick your table and seat at www.purplepass.com/celebrityjazzjam2
Tickets are only $25. There will be a special Chef Francois buffet for an additional $25. Cocktail specials include Alien Tequila and margaritas (it happens to be National Tequila Day and National Margarita Day on Feb. 22, the perfect time for the Latin Jazz night!) It will also be a full moon which promises a magical night under the stars. Sponsored by Coachella Valley Weekly, Renova Solar, Michael Masi Marketing, The Block, and a special room rate at Westin Desert Willow Villas of $229 (normally $341) you must book it through them directly with the 1-800-937-8461 and ask for the rate plan JAZZSER.