Only the multi-talented jazz singer, songwriter, and poet Lisa B... has been weaving the kind of 'must pay attention to every word' storytelling magic that we hear...throughout her unique 20-year career.”

— Jonathan Widran, JW Vibe

A singer, spoken-word artist and poet with an incisive way of chronicling situations, memories, and emotions… a pliable, expressive voice dipped in blue… saucily suggestive… imagistic.”

— Lucy Tauss, Jazz Times

Whatever she knows or sings comes, in Whitman’s term, from the body electric.”

— Frances Mayes, author, San Jose Mercury

Daring, dexterous singer/songwriter/poet Lisa B... with appeal to both traditional and contemporary jazz tastes and even hip-hop hipsters.”

— Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News

About

Jazz singer, poet, songwriter

Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) is a rare artist: both an accomplished jazz vocalist and an award-winning poet.

SHE IS KNOWN FOR HER ORIGINAL songs as well as her adventurously reimagined standards. These often incorporate both sung and spoken verse.

WITH PREVIOUS PERFORMANCES AT 90+ VENUES in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, Lisa is finalizing new dates to showcase the brand-new record  "Reverberant: Poems & Music" and 2018's "I Get A Kick: Cole Porter Reimagined" (current trio Ben Flint, p., Marcus Shelby, b., and Isaac Schwartz, d.). 

HER SEVEN FULL-LENGTH CDS released over the past two decades received radio play and charting on hundreds of trade-reporter jazz, college, and free-form stations.

THEY ALSO GARNERED CRITICAL ACCLAIM in Jazz Times, Jazziz, All About Jazz, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and many other publications. (See Radio and Press for more.) 

All of Lisa B's CDs were recorded at Pajama Studios in Oakland, Calif. in close collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer-engineer-composer James Gardiner (Jim). 

HER LITERARY POETRY  — featured on the new record "Reverberant" — has been published in her book "The Transparent Body" from the prestigious Wesleyan University Press poetry series and 60+ literary magazines and anthologies.

SHE WON CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIPS from the National Endowment for the Arts, Headlands Center for the arts, Ucross Foundation, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund/Money for Women, and others. With a master's degree in English literature/creative writing and years of experience as a coach and teacher, she offers a range of workshops/clinics to performers and creators.

Two records in past two years spark enthusiasm

"Reverberant: Poems & Music (Fall 2019) and "I Get A Kick: Cole Porter Reimagined" (2018) plus 5 previous acclaimed records

LISA B'S LATEST ALBUM, “REVERBERANT: POEMS & MUSIC,” released October 11, 2019, features her free-verse poems spiced with singing. Its theme of reverberation links jazz stories with tales of spiritual self-realization. "Lisa Bernstein weaves a compelling series of musical narratives... featuring a wide variety of supporting players for her rich, deep, enchanting voice. Each listening reveals previously undiscovered depths of brilliant artistry and colorful storytelling." - Chris Cooke, KIOS-FM 

ON HER 2018 "I GET A KICK: COLE PORTER REIMAGINED," "With the freewheeling control [of] only the finest jazz practitioners... B takes possession of Porter’s witty, poignant stories. She deploys her considerable interpretative vocal gifts...interpolating her own spoken word passages for an evocative multilayered effect... her encyclopedic knowledge of American music canons...luminous timbre and precise articulation...melds straight interpretation with pure imagination... inspired." - Downbeat critic Ted Panken from the liner notes

Lisa B's Story

Poetry and jazz have always been a part of Lisa B's life.

Lisa's mother wrote poetry, and her father was a serious aficionado of avant-garde jazz as well as a friend to many musicians, whom Lisa met at a young age, including Jackie McLean, Elvin Jones, Cecil Taylor, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
 
AS A CHILD, LISA B STUDIED CLASSICAL PIANO BUT HER LISTENING RANGED FROM JAZZ — in particular, her parents’ favorites Carmen McRae and John Coltrane — to R&B and musical theater. But as an adult, her first forays into live performance were public readings of her own poetry.
 
AS HER POEMS BEGAN APPEARING IN LITERARY JOURNALS AND HER BOOK WAS PUBLISHED, Lisa B found that standing up alone before an audience with just her own words was powerful training in performance. Dedicating herself to the art of jazz singing — while still incorporating poetry into her show — was a natural progression.
 
KEY MUSICAL INFUENCES SPAN not only Coltrane and McRae, but also the bedrock of the Great American Songbook; vocal jazz pioneers Sheila Jordan, Jeanne Lee, and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross; melders of jazz, poetry, and soul Gil Scott-Heron and Jill Scott; and two who testify in music and verse, Aretha Franklin and Allen Ginsberg.
 
THE SPOKEN VERSE SHE INTEGRATES INTO HER SONGS reflects the influence of 1950s public poetry readings to jazz accompaniment, the biting rhythms of contemporary creative rap, and the poetic lyrics  of modern singer-songwriters. The result is genre-bending and multidimensional.

A RESIDENT OF OAKLAND, CALIF., Lisa B was nominated for a 2014 Oakland Indie Award. Her celebration of Oakland includes her music video “Holiday in Oakland,” which went viral locally. She has mentored youth through the public schools, city parks and recreation programs, and the Boys & Girls Club. 
 
SHE WORKS NOT ONLY AS A SINGER-POET and educator but also as a professional psychic.

Shows & Events

 

More info soon: appearing at SFJazz 2020-21 season!

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Lisa B will be back on the road presenting shows, clinics/workshops, and community engagement events in spring/summer 2020 after  it's safe to travel again. Hang in there! 

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Two Show Promo Videos

"I Get A Kick: Cole Porter Reimagined"

&  

"Reverberant: Words & Music" Audio Trailer

Selected Quotes on Shows

"That was a wonderful show last night. My friend and I had a great time. You were marvelous – charming, funny, astute, original. Your band was exquisite, each and every one of them. Your comfort on the stage and with the band felt assured. 

My friend also thought you put on a fabulous show and that the musicians were outstanding. She also really enjoyed your personality and your stage presence. Kudos!!"


- B.N.

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“Obviously you’re a gigantic talent…you totally controlled the room.” 

- Robin Reichert, owner, Paradise Lounge, San Francisco  

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"She totally captivated the audience. She is an originator, her arrangements are mesmerizing, and her band is great!"

- Gary Hamada, Jazz and Blues Company/KRML-FM, Concert Manager

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Shots from a Recent Show of "Cole Porter Reimagined" & More

photo by Eddy Bee

photo by Eddy Bee

photo by Carol Dutra

photo by Carol Dutra

Previous Gigs

Performance Venues and Schools

2nd Annual Bay Area JazzPoetry Festival, Berkeley 

21 Grand, Oakland, Calif. 

Above Paradise Lounge, San Francisco 

The Albion, San Francisco 

Angelica's, Redwood City, Calif. 

Anna’s Jazz Island, Berkeley 

Armando's, Martinez, Calif. 

At Seventeenth, Oakland, Calif. 

Avonova, Oakland, Calif. 

The Back Room, Berkeley, Calif. 

Bartlett Hall, Union Square, San Francisco 

Berkeley Art Museum, University of California 

Berkeley Art Center, Rhythm & Muse Series 

Bird & Beckett, San Francisco 

Bison Brewery, Berkeley 

Blondie's, San Francisco 

The Blue Lamp, San Francisco 

The Blue Monkey Cafe, San Francisco 

Borders Books and Music,  many stores, Northern Calif. 

Beyond Baroque, Venice, Calif. 

Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco 

Bud Shank Jazz Workshop, Port Townsend, Washington 

Cafe Gianlucca, New York City 

Cafe Pink House, Saratoga, Calif. 

California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the JazzSchool), Berkeley, Calif. 

Cava 555, San Francisco

Cesar Chavez Public Library, Oakland, Calif. 

The Clarion Cafe, San Francisco 

Club Muse, Albany, Calif. 

Coco Club, San Francisco 

The Coffee Mill, Oakland 

The Coffee Society, Cupertino, Calif. 

Das Klub/1055 Howard, San Francisco 

The Donnell Library, New York City 

E3 Playhouse, Santa Cruz, Calif. 

East Village Coffee Lounge, Monterey, Calif. 

The Elbo Room, San Francisco 

Expressions Gallery, Berkeley 

First St. Cafe, Benicia, Calif. 

Folcrom, San Francisco 

Foothill Community College, Los Altos, Calif. 

Hanno's in the Alley, San Francisco 

Harmony Festival, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, Calif. 

The Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito 

HEAR Music Store, Berkeley 

The Hotel Utah, San Francisco 

Hyatt on Union Square, San Francisco, and Hyatt Regency, Oakland 

Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco 

Jazz & Blues Company, Carmel, Calif. 

The Jazz House, Berkeley 

Jewish Community Center, Marin County, Calif. 

Kelly’s, Alameda, Calif. 

Kimball's Carnival, Oakland (Commissioned Poem and Performance, Memorial for Jazz Activist/KPFA-DJ Doug Edwards) 

The Lab Theatre, San Francisco 

La Mama Theatre (La Galleria), New York City 

La Pena, Berkeley 

Lake Chalet on Lake Merritt, Oakland, Calif. 

The Lobby, Oakland, Calif. 

The Luggage Store, San Francisco 

Mason Street Wine Bar, San Francisco 

Max's Diner & Bar, Downtown Oakland, Calif. 

MIck's, San Francisco 

Montclair Jazz Festival, Oakland, Calif. 

Musically Minded Academy, Oakland, Calif. 

New College of California, San Francisco 

New Delhi Restaurant, San Francisco 

New George’s, San Rafael, Calif. 

New Performance Gallery (ODC), San Francisco 

Our Lady of Fatima Villa, Saratoga, Calif. 

Paradise Lounge, San Francisco 

Pasand, San Francisco 

Pearl’s, North Beach, San Francisco 

Piaf’s, San Francisco 

Picante, Berkeley 

The Poetry Center, San Francisco 

Quiet Storm, San Francisco 

Rasputin’s Records, Berkeley 

Rasselas, San Francisco 

Redwood City Summer Concert Series, Calif. 

Rising Spirits Cafe, San Francisco 

Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Calif. 

San Francisco Socialist School 

The Royale (house concert), Oakland, Calif. 

San Francisco State University 

Santa Cruz Poetry Festival 

Savanna Jazz Club, San Francisco 

Shanghai 1930, San Francisco 

Short on Attitude, San Francisco 

Skyline Community College, Pacifica, Calif. 

Small Press Traffic, San Francisco 

The Sound Room, Oakland, Calif. 

Spike's Speak, San Francisco 

Stanford University 

Tattoo Rose Cafe, San Francisco 

Tropical Haight, San Francisco 

Union Hotel, Benicia 

University of California, Santa Cruz 

Voulez-Vous, Berkeley, Calif. 

WomenROCK 5th Anniverary Concert, The Box Factory, San Francisco 

The WOW Cafe Theatre, New York City 

The Writer’s Center, Washington, D.C. 

Zebulon’s, Petaluma, Calif.

Bookstores

Barnes & Noble, Emeryville 

Bonanza Books, Walnut Creek, California 

Bound Together Bookstore, San Francisco 

Cody’s Books, Berkeley 

Diesel Books, Emeryville, California 

Different Light Bookstore, San Francisco 

Grand Piano Bookstore, San Francisco 

Modern Times Bookstore, San Francisco 

Talking Leaves Bookstore, San Francisco

Workshops/Clinics & Classes

Lisa B's Home Music Studio

Lisa B's Home Music Studio

THREE WORKSHOPS (CLINICS) AVAILABLE

In addition to her music credentials (seven records, more than 90 performances), Lisa B holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature/creative writing and has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ucross Foundation, Headlands Center for the Arts, and others. Her book of poetry was published by the prestigious Wesleyan University Press and her poems have appeared in more than 60 journals and anthologies.

In addition, she has a professional practice as a psychic reader, energy healer, and coach.

Lisa B draws on all this information in as a workshop/clinic leader and teacher. She has taught creative writing classes and the workshops/clinics described below at university, community, and K-12 schools as well as privately. 

All information is available through private coaching as well.

 

IMAGINING AND SHAPING YOUR FIRST TRIBUTE PROJECT 

Most singers and musicians were first inspired by the music of someone else. This workshop will help you shape a project (recital or recording) presenting the music of another musical artist.

Whether you’re drawn to Sarah Vaughan or Adele, Rodgers & Hammerstein or “Hamilton,” Miles Davis or Marvin Gaye, through a tribute project you can pay homage, find inspiration, stretch your musical vision and abilities, and create a frame for new work.

Get your feet wet through this fun workshop. First Lisa B will present some seminal tribute projects. Then she will help you shape a project of your own: explore your attraction to a particular artist; sketch out your vision of mood, era, and songs; and start to define instrumentation, arrangements, and tasks. 

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MIND-BODY-SPIRIT TOOLS FOR PERFORMERS AND CREATORS! 

* Reconnect with your initial enthusiasm about creating music 
* Release invalidation and judgment from your creative, performance, and career activities 
* Own your body and personal energy space as a performer 
* Handle nerves and anxiety 
* Re-envision what success means to you 
* Plan and execute short- and long-term steps in your career 

Specific tools we will learn and practice: 
* Grounding 
* Centering yourself in the "driver's seat" 
* Protecting your personal space 
* Harnessing the information in your seven major chakras 
* Envisioning and manifesting specific outcomes you want 
* Keeping your energy flowing 
* Finding your enthusiasm 

Past participants had this to say about the mind-body-spirit tools information: 

"The information presented helped me to connect with my spirit and improved my confidence. I would recommend this workshop to all singers." - M.G. 

"The workshop covered a wide range of topics and techniques that I can apply to my singing. The information was understandable from every level, beginning to advanced, and adaptable." - J.B. 

"I really enjoyed the combination of energy and vocal work." - C.R. 

"What a wonderful workshop today! What I appreciated most was that it was not your typical workshop — exercises, sing a song. It truly was a complete overview — mind, body, and spirit." - O.J. 

"The workshop was amazing. I really enjoyed the guided meditations and learning about the chakras. Still thinking about it all!" - J.T. 

"Great start to discovering the artist in myself." - T.H. 

"Thanks for reconnecting me to my spirit self. I forgot the little girl who just loves to sing." 

"I thoroughly enjoyed it and greatly appreciate the marrying of technique and spiritual/emotional awareness." - L.W.

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NEW!   MIND-BODY-SPIRIT TOOLS FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES 

Lisa is a type 1 diabetic of more than three decades, and works with diabetics of all kinds to teach mind-body-spirit tools to improve well-being. Inquire for more information!

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JazzSchool/California Jazz Conservatory Catalogue

JazzSchool/California Jazz Conservatory Catalogue

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Selected Previous Workshops (Clinics) and Classes

"A Creative Life/Mind-Body-Spirit Tools" Workshop: Campolindo High School, Moraga, Calif., Winter 2019 

"Imagining Your First Tribute Project" Workshop: JazzSchool/California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, Summer 2018 

"The Complete Singer: Spiritual, Practical, and Technical Tools to Help You Realize Your Musical Dreams (aka Mind-Body-Spirit Tools for Singers)" Workshop: co-taught with Daria: Blue Bear School of Music, San Francisco, Feb. 2015; GuitarWorks, Novato, Calif., August 2014; and Lisa's Home, Oakland, Calif., May 2014 

"The Singer's Life: Where to Start (and How to Keep Going)" Workshop: The Jazzschool, Berkeley, Calif., October 2011 

Poetry Writing Teacher: Anna Yates Elementary School, Emeryville, Calif., 2nd/3rd/4th Grades, Fall 2007 - Spring 2012, Fall 2014 - present 

Poetry Writing Workshop: Mercy Housing After-School Program, Peanut Butter and Jamm Music Session for Kids, Spring 2010 

Poetry Writing & Performance with Musicians Workshop: Allendale Recreation Center, Oakland, Calif., Kids Ages 6 - 12 (including Final Performance w/ Paul van Wageningen, drums, and Aaron Shaul, bass), Summer 2008 

"Vocal & Energetic Techniques for Self-Healing & Finding Your Creative Path," Workshop: Blue Bear School of Music, San Francisco, Workshop for Adults, co-taught w/ Vicki Burns, January 2008

Program and Outreach Coordinator: Jewish Community Library, San Francisco, 2003-2004 

Guest Poet: Skyline Community College, San Francisco State University, Galileo High School (San Francisco), Soquel High School (Santa Cruz County) 

Workshop Leader/Poet & Performer: Foothill College Writers Conference, Summer 1995 and 1990 

Associate Director of The Poetry Center and Lecturer in Creative Writing: San Francisco State University - Two-year term, Fall 1989 - Spring 1991

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