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Without settling into jazz-vocalist convention, Valerie Joyce has developed a voice that is wonderfully idiosyncratic, lush, and richly expressive. In an emotionally arresting and disarmingly vulnerable style, she delivers standards, modern songs destined to become standards, and originals, all with great emotional nuance. With a knowing and considered expression of music and lyrics, she conveys a sense of discovering lyrics and the resonance of songs as if for the first time. All this is documented on Joyce's fine discs on the influential audiophile label, Chesky Records. Those albums mark the maturation of this stellar Seattle-based singer, who grew up in Japan, the daughter of a Japanese mother and American father. Joyce's musical education began with early solfege and classical piano lessons, and then music studies while pursuing her college degree in the United States, where she has lived since 1991. She has been making recordings since 2002 (Reverie), followed in 2003 by a yet-to-be-released world-jazz project with pianist Michael Wolff and others, and then two acclaimed CDs with Chesky since 2004. New York Blue featuring pianist Andy Ezrin and The Look of Love: The Music of Burt Bacharach, featuring pianist David Hazeltine. (by Peter Monaghan)