Norma n' Jazz Band Live - 'Jazz under the stars live @ Mount Lavinia Hotel '- Album Launched on 2 nd July 2011
The band consists of Norma Jean Vanheer [vocals],Rodney Vanheer [Ten-sax], Kuma De Silva [piano]. Dulip Gnanakan [E.Bass] .Shiraaz Nooramith [drums].They have been playing together for the last 3 years but have only recently burst onto the scene and are making waves in various venues and festivals across the region.. With sometimes unorthodox arrangements and a good deal of original ideas they truly make the style of their own.
Their first album is titled 'Jazz under the stars live @ Mount' Lavinia 'and it consists of 13 standard tunes from the great American song book.. With a basis of American jazz they have weaved together a number of different influences to keep the music dynamic and always interesting.
Vocalist Norma Jean has being in the music scene for the past 50 years.] . To date, she has won two Awards.She was awarded 'best jazz singer 1992 and 1994 by the famous 'Observer Golden Clef awards.
Norma Jean found solace in music, singing along to the records of Bessie Smith.Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. She followed her aunt Erin De Selfa who had moved to London in the late 1970s and worked in the club circuit in England. Norma began singing in local clubs and venues with pianist Patrick Nelson..Known for her distinctive phrasing and expressive, sometimes melancholy voice, Norma began to sing with Lankan jazz guitarist Gazali Amith and others in 1976.Soon she made big impact in Lankan jazz scene quickly became a draw-card .Around this time, Norma met and befriended,and then married saxophonist Rodney Vanheer, who was part of Gazali Amiths band.
.Norma Jean made her pop ban DEBUT in 1976 as the lead vocalist for the band led by Rodney Vanheer,SriLankas one of the premier jazz saxophonist of all times. These years marked an early career in concerts and on club performances with giants as Lucky Manikkavassagar,Neson Manikkavassagar,Farook Miskin,Sisil Rodrigo.Later Rodney and Jean both joined the popular band 'Spitfires' and toured the Middle East and many other countries.
.1991 she jumped at the chance to a sing with her husband's newly formed band 'Milestones', Beauty and stage presence won her great success and a Golden Clef award for her, as the best jazz singer in 1992/94.This began a long line of awards and accolades as well as opportunities to work in many countries,clubs,jazz venues.etc.
In 2004 November ,she represented 'jazz unlimited ,SriLanka ' at Jazz Yathra international, Jazz fest organized by Jazz India,Mumbai.Though it was a struggle to sing jazz to make a living in a country like SriLanka ,Norma continues to bring her message to her listeners.