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Medford teen is hooked on jazz

Posted by Alix Roy  June 1, 2010 10:04 AM

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Claire-performing1.jpgWhile other 13-year-olds wander the hallways humming the latest Miley Cyrus creation, Medford middle schooler Claire Dickson is creating music of her own in a genre largely unappreciated by the  'tween pop generation.

Dickson said she became infatuated with jazz after listening to songs by Ella Fitzgerald at the age of 12.

“That was it, I did not want to stop,” she said in an interview.

Dickson went on to listen to other jazz artists and incorporated the style into her own singing during performances at Boston-area music venues. Her ability to scat and reinterpret classical jazz, bop, and post-bop material caught the attention of the local music scene, as well as national jazz publication Downbeat Magazine, which proclaimed Dickson the winner of the Student Jazz Award for junior high school vocals last month.
 
“My parents told me about it,” Dickson said of the nationwide contest. “I certainly hoped to win, and I was so excited when I did.”

To celebrate, Dickson will be putting on a concert at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge on Tuesday, June 1 at 8:30 p.m. Listeners can expect standard jazz numbers mixed with bebop classics, and Dickson said she'll be scat singing as well.

“Ryles is a friendly place with good food and a dance floor,” she said. “People can expect great performances from my trio and a good time.”

For music scouts, tonight's event is also a chance to see Dickson perform in the early stages of what some say is a promising career.

Jazz pianist and chair of the Harmony Department at Berklee College of Music Joe Mullholland said he looked forward to watching Dickson develop as a musician.

"Claire is a young lady with a natural affinity for improvisation and an unspoiled joy in her music making,” he said.

To listen to Dickson sing, click here

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