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Meet Jo Lawry

“My time at Purchase College was formative and unforgettable…the opportunity to learn from such luminaries was mind-blowing.”

Jo Lawry (MM, ’05)

Australian-born, New York based vocalist Jo Lawry’s debut album I Want to Be Happy was released in 2008 to rave reviews, and named among the “Best CDs of the Decade” by Downbeat Magazine. She has become known beyond jazz circles, however, for her work with Sting - with whom she has been recording and touring since 2009 - and more recently with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. She was also featured in the recent Oscar-winning documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom.

On the occasion of Purchase Jazz’s 25th Anniversary she writes:

“My time at Purchase College was formative and unforgettable. I studied with such fantastic teachers, such as John Riley, Dena DeRose, Todd Coolman and Hal Galper. The opportunity to learn from such luminaries was mind-blowing: formerly, the only contact I had had with such artists was via my record collection! One of the most important influences from my time at Purchase was trumpeter Jon Faddis. He closely mentored me and generously invited me to perform on multiple occasions with his large ensemble, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, in which I had the opportunity to perform with and learn from legends such as the one and only Clark Terry, and even got to sing “Shiny Stockings” with Frank Foster himself! That was beyond the wildest dreams of this girl from rural South Australia, and quite an unexpectedly auspicious entry into to the New York jazz scene.

The experience I gained at Purchase prepared me well for so much of what has followed, including gaining my doctorate at New England Conservatory, and joining the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, and I’ll be forever grateful for the training and guidance I received there.”