Laverne Butler

LaVerne Butler, a New Orleans native, has released two stunning albums on Chesky Records: No Looking Back and Day Dreamin'. According to Jazziz magazine, "No Looking Back was a bebopper's delight -- a standards-oriented, often hard-swingin' effort boasting passionate solos ... Day Dreamin' is an acoustic gem."

Although you wouldn't know it just from listening, No Looking Back was Butler's recording debut, and with its release, she took her rightful place amongst the greatest traditional jazz vocalists from Sarah Vaughan to Nancy Wilson to Dinah Washington. Before recording No Looking Back, Butler was the vocalist for Widespread Jazz Band, and performed with such artists as Ellis Marsalis, Jon Faddis, and Harry Connick, Jr.

Butler is the daughter of two teachers, and her father also worked as an alto saxophonist. At 19, she started singing Dixieland jazz professionally in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1984, she moved to New York City and began teaching literature at Boys and Girls High in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvusant neighborhood by day and singing at nightclubs such as the Supper Club and Webster Hall by night.