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Vocal Jazz group debuts CD, now available

January 18, 2014

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Many of the musical blessings Dentonites enjoy come by way of local universities. One of these amazing musicians is Jennifer Barnes, Director of Vocal Jazz Studies at University of North Texas. And although she is locally (pardon the pun) unsung, her many credentials, accomplishments and beautiful voice cannot be ignored. Her latest project is with the Vocal Jazz Quartet Vertical Voices, who recently released “Foursquare,” their debut album.





Vertical Voices LIVE Bio:

In 2010, after releasing their critically acclaimed album “Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider” (ArtistShare), Julia Dollison (soprano), Jennifer Barnes (alto), Kerry Marsh (tenor), Greg Jasperse (bass) to form a vocal quartet that first focused primarily on performing Schneider’s music live.  It was not long, though, before the group expanded their repertoire and focus to include their own original compositions as well as arrangements of music by Pat Metheny, The Yellowjackets, Imogen Heap and other contemporary jazz and pop influences.

Now, the group performs music in a variety of styles, all with a fresh and innovative approach, venturing into new artistic territory within the vocal jazz genre, utilizing wordless vocals, new compositions, improvisation and more. Among their many performances at major festival venues throughout the USA and Canada, Vertical Voices performed on the main stage of the 2014 Jazz Education Network conference in Dallas.

Their debut CD as a quartet, “Fourward,” was released in January 2014.


Jennifer Barnes: Director of Vocal Jazz Studies, University of North Texas

Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes is a highly sought-after vocalist, educator, clinician and arranger throughout the U.S. and Canada, having relocated in 2011 from Los Angeles to accept a position as the Director of Vocal Jazz Studies here at the University of North Texas.  She is an active vocalist in both studio and live performance settings, having appeared and sung on radio and television advertisements including Chili’s Restaurant, Epson, Old El Paso, and McDonalds, and on films including “Wall-E”, “Live Free Or Die Hard”, “Ice Age 2 & 3”, “Enchanted”, “Star Trek” and the FOX t.v. hit “Glee”.  Ms. Barnes has recorded her own solo jazz CD, “You Taught My Heart” (available on iTunes and

As an educator, Ms. Barnes has directed downBeat [magazine] award-winning Vocal Jazz Ensembles and taught privately at seven universities, has served as a guest conductor for District and All-State Music Festivals in 12 states, has taught jazz vocals at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camps since 1998, and her numerous vocal arrangements are published by both Sound Music Publications ( and UNC Jazz Press (

Ms. Barnes is a member of the American Society of Composers, Arrangers and Publishers, Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Jazz Education Network.   She earned the Master of Music degree in Studio Music and Jazz Performance from the University of Miami and the Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Western Michigan University.

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