ith wide-ranging influences such as Bjork, Dianne Reeves, Carmen McRae, Joni Mitchell, Walter Hawkins and Cassandra Wilson, jazz and gospel vocalist Valerie Troutt is a tremendously creative artist, and SJW is very happy to welcome her to the Jazz Camp faculty. Bay-area born and bred, there’s a light in this unapologetically unconventional vocalist for whom art and activism are intertwined. Within this spiritual and social justice-driven performer is a lifelong hunger for craft, for connection, for cultural narratives and an indefatigable thirst to serve as an agape griot to a waiting and hurting people.
In the East Bay, Troutt has established herself as more than an artist, but as a leader in the area’s famed creative community. Partnering on Bay area projects with East Bay Performance Art Center, the Museum of African Diaspora, Queer Cultural Center., and the Embodiment Project (where Troutt is Music Director). The latter project served as the genesis for MoonCandy live house music ensemble, a band Valerie Troutt composes for while still teaching full time in Oakland at Urban Montessori.
Troutt’s latest project, The Sound of Peace, borrows from the past and gives to the future. Half jazz standards innovatively re-imagined for contemporary audiences and half truth‐telling originals penned by the lady herself, the Troutt-produced project is an overture to her fans for not only social change but also their own self‐acceptance. Currently, Troutt is working on a new album titled “The Oakland Girl Project” featuring Jazz Sawyer, John Ormod, Emanuel Ruffler, and Maya Kronfeld. The full album is slated to come out 2020.
Troutt has performed at famed venues in New York and the Bay Area, including SOBs, The Knitting Factory, Yoshi’s Jazz Club, Laurel Street Fair, The Mint L.A., CODA Jazz Supper Club, and the Art ‘n’ Soul Festival. She has shared stages and collaborated with major recording artists like Les Nubians, Jennifer Johns, Maria Muldaur, Kimiko Joy, and Sister Monica Parker. She has recorded with modern composers like Gregory Del Piero, Emanuel Ruffler, Howard Wiley and Jaz Sawyer. For nearly two years, she also served as a principle singer in La Pena – Ayer, Hoy y Pa’Lante, an original suite of music by three-time Grammy nominee Wayne Wallace, with libretto by Aya de Leon. She has also performed extensively with Linda Tillery’s Cultural Heritage Choir.