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Giant Steps: Jackie Richardson

Friday, 10 February 2017 10:38

Her voice is like a big hug, her spirit is a breath of clean unblemished air, she can belt out a tune that will make every hair on your body stand on end.

The first time you hear the voice of Jackie Richardson, it’s impossible not to feel the jolt of something otherworldly. The award winning vocalist has been on the music scene here in Canada for over 50 years, a talent that those in the know would argue should be much MUCH more recognized. But you get the sense that Jackie Richardson doesn’t get up on stage and give over her soul for the fame or recognition...she has a gift and gifts to her are meant for sharing.

Her story started in Philadelphia, in the church...a common beginning in black America, but she had an uncommon talent...which she shared readily. She was always drawn to jazz, as a little girl singing all the time...she was once belting out Love For Sale at home...around 9 years old...that performance was brought to an abrupt halt by her auntie.

A request to have Jackie Richardson stop singing is a once in a lifetime occurrence. She has shown up albums by the Breithaupt brothers,  she’s a regular collaborator with Joe Sealy, she is a standout voice on the Peter Appleyard album Sophisticated Lades. She’s done the stage and children’s television. Jackie not only shares her considerable talents, she is a keeper of the history of jazz, the history of black music in this country. Every not she sings, every story she tells a treasure that feels like, like a warm hug. 

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