Joan Bender
Joan Bender
Photograph by Andrew Eccles


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"New York-based singer Joan Bender has gained some attention in the jazz press in two areas. She has helped lead picket lines against the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's policy of rarely ever hiring female musicians. And her debut album has ten rather provocative photos of the young singer, perhaps her way of beating Diana Krall and Jane Monheit at their own game.

More important is the fact that she is a fine jazz singer...Bender has no difficulty adding her own personality to such songs as "My Heart Belongs To Daddy," "Cherokee," "O Barquinho," "Lullaby Of Birdland" and Abbey Lincoln's "Bird Alone." There are times when Joan Bender's singing would benefit from a bit more subtlety and perhaps a little less shouting; that minor flaw is possibly due to an excess of youthful energy! But overall this is an impressive and swinging debut, making one look forward to her future musical evolution. (available from her website"

--Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene, June 2002
"New York-based Joan Bender has played classical clarinet, run track, and has been active in women's causes. Along the way, she has become a fine vocalist as she shows on this, her initial album. Possessed with a voice of considerable strength and range, Bender has a way with each of the songs included on the play list. Running from classic romantic standards, bossa nova, samba, and two of her originals, the singer throws herself completely into each tune, holding nothing back. The Latin "My Little Boat (O Barquinho)" becomes a rostrum of her scatting skills. She is alternatively coy and sassy on the Mary Martin vehicle "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"; disappointed and hurt on "You've Changed," which features some fine bass solo by Ben Rubin; and hopeful on "Time After Time," which is enhanced by Saul Rubin's guitar. In short, Bender is at hope with each tune. The Rubins and the rest of the quartet recruited to back Bender on this CD are fine musicians."
--Dave Nathan, All Music Guide, November 2001
"Very sexy amazing jacket! I was knocked out by he
sweet feeling jazz songs. "Cherokee" and "Star Eyes" are the best tracks."
--Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan, 2002
"My favorite young jazz singer. Here's the antidote to those twentysomething jazz singers, who force themselves to try and sound sultry and distingue before their time - lighten up kids! Bender, whose first CD is 'Star Eyes', isn't afraid to embrace the joy of jazz. She has a sweet voice and her time is right where it should be, but more than anything, it's her cockeyed optimism and sunny disposish that will win you over within about six beats."
--Village Voice, October 2001
"Joan Bender is very talented and she has a beautiful
voice. I wish her a big success."
--Blossom Dearie
"Joan's bossa novas have all the charm of Astrud Gilberto...her treatment of 'Lullaby of Birdland' reveals her inspiration in the music of Sarah Vaughan. In short, she sings as good as she looks."
--Will Friedwald, author of "Sinatra!", "Jazz Singing" and "Tony Bennett-The Good Life."

Joan Bender
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