Lenora Zenzalai Helm
Venue Address (Get Directions)Hayti Heritage Center
Date and Time
Friday, July 26th, 2013 at 6:00pm
Opening Act for Jean Carne
2 shows 7 pm & 9 pm
Jean Carne is a jazz and pop singer with an extensive discography. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Carne attended Morris Brown College on scholarship where she exhibited her adeptness at a wide variety of musical styling. She began her recording career in 1969 with her then husband, Jazz pianist Doug Carn, with whom she recorded three early albums, Infant Eyes, Sprit of the New Land, and Revelations. All were recorded on the Black Jazz label where Carne worked with jazz legend Duke Ellington as one of the last lead vocalists before his death.
Carne went on to continue collaborating with artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Norman Connors and George Duke. She released her debut album, Jean Carn after signing with Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records. Her debut single “Free Love” went to #23 on R&B charts and several other tracks received substantial radio airplay. Later albums include 1978’s Happy to Be With You with the hit “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head,” and 1981’s Sweet and Wonderful.
Carne signed with Mowtown Records in 1982 recording Trust Me, and then moved to Onmi Records in 1986 recording Closer than Close, the title track hitting #1 on R&B charts. After releasing You’re apart of Me and Love Lessons, Carne went onto commemorate some of her greatest collaborations which over the years included Dizzy Gallespie, The Temptations, Glenn Jones, Phyllis Hyman, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, with the release of her album Collaborations in 2002 on the Expansion Record label.
She can most recently be heard on the soundtrack to the movie Precious with her disco single, “Was That All It Was,” and in the music of hip-hop group Jet Life who has sampled her work.
Chicago native, Lenora Zenzalai Helm is a jazz vocalist, vocal musicianship coach, composer, lyricist and educator with six solo recordings, her own recording and publishing company, Zenzalai Music, and an extensive discography with some of the biggest names in jazz and contemporary music. A former U.S. Jazz Ambassador under the auspices of the State Department and Kennedy Center, her achievements garnered accolades as “…the voice of her generation,” by Jazziz Magazine. She has appeared in renowned jazz festivals and venues worldwide, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Schomburg Center’s Women in Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festivals, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Capetown Jazz Festival, South Africa and Fiji Jazz & Blues Festival. Brief career highlights include jazz composer awards from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke’s New Jazz Works and the MacDowell Colony composer fellowship, and adding lyrics (with the composers’ approval) to the compositions of Andrew Hill, Wayne Shorter and Branford Marsalis. She appears on recordings with Andrew Hill, Stanley Cowell, Donald Brown, Dave Liebman, Ron Carter, Antonio Hart, and has toured with Michael Franks and Freddie Jackson. Her 2009 critically acclaimed Chronicles of a Butterfly CD release, produced by Branford Marsalis, was recorded live at Hayti Heritage Center, and featured pianist Mulgrew Miller. Her latest CD, I Love Myself When I’m Laughing was listed on Independent Ear’s 30 Recommended 2012 Record Releases amongst an esteemed list of jazz artists. This recording also joined the distinction with her previous releases (in 2003 and 2004) garnering inclusion on the 2013 GRAMMY ballot for consideration of nomination in vocal jazz and arranging categories.
Lenora is a fierce arts education advocate and is often sought after to speak about the music industry at conferences, as she mentors artists of all levels, as well as train emerging arts educators. To that end, she was inspired to create an online membership program www.VocalJazzOnline.com and a virtual boot camp for vocalists and vocal educators, www.VocalMusicianshipAcademy.com. Her and husband Fred Hammonds, plan to use the proceeds from these programs in their philanthropic efforts to support music programs and schools in developing countries.
Though most of Helm’s 25-year span of musical achievements as a Jazz Vocal Musician specializing in Classic, Traditional jazz standard and original repertoire to critical acclaim, she also has touring, recording and performing credits in many genres — including R&B, Neo-Soul, and Pop, Theater and Opera. She holds a B.M. in Film Scoring/Voice from Berklee College of Music, and an M.M. in Jazz Performance/Voice from East Carolina University. Helm is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at North Carolina Central University in Durham, and co-directs their NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Since 2007, Lenora now makes Durham, NC her home – where she lives with her husband, Fred Hammonds. Helm’s achievements in music have spanned more than two decades garnering her inclusion as a subject of biographical record, for Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the World. Learn more at www.LenoraHelm.com.