I had the pleasure of hearing Nicole Heitger for the first time at the 2013 Jazz at Chautauqua (now the Allegheny Jazz Festival: read more here) — and I was devastated, in a good way. What a voice! And her unaffected stage presence. Marvelous. Yes, she comes from a noble lineage: her father, clarinetist Ray Heitger, founded the Cakewalkin’ Jass Band; her brother, trumpeter / singer Duke Heitger, is well known to JAZZ LIVES.
The players here are Ray, Jon-Erik Kellso, James Dapogny, Kerry Lewis, and John Von Ohlen. And I’ve intentionally left more than two minutes of preliminary chat and setting-up because I think it’s witty and sweetly candid:
TROUBLE IN MIND:
WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO:
I asked Nicole to tell us a little about herself:
My life is simple.
I started singing at 16 with the “Cake Walkin’ Jass Band” (my father’s band) and became a full time member around six years later. I sing with the “Easy Street Jazz Band” in Ann Arbor once a month and have recorded with them recently. This band includes Paul Klinger, Jim Dapogny, Paul Keller, Pete Siers, and more. I have also recorded with a local band “New Orleans Party Asylum” (NOPA) on 2 of their CD’s.
Growing up with the music was fabulous.
The highlight of my early years was going to “Tony Packo’s Café” with my dad every weekend. This is where the CJB played for over 30 years. I listened to Bessie, Ma Rainey, and Billie in the beginning. As I got older, Ella Fitzgerald became one of my favorites.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and have been working at the East Toledo Family Center for 16 years now. I supervised several grant funded programs. I am married to Aaron Shetterly and we have two amazing children, Elijah and Ella.
I feel honored to have been in that room to hear and record Nicole, and to share her music with you on JAZZ LIVES. She’s got it — the real thing.
May your happiness increase!