" the best since the old days. GREAT!"---Steve Allen
"Ms James either stands quietly by the piano or perches on her high chair and just sings....naturally, without posturing, no screaming and with respect for the melody an understanding for the lyrics!"
---George Kerr, Rockport Times---
Once that spotlight hits her, perched on her signature stool, the melodies flow across her lips in smooth, even, sultry, sometimes sexy, tones (which tend to make your blood run warm). A master lyricist, who can put you in any mood she sets out to accomplish!
On four separate occasions, it's been said to me over the years (Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, and late greats Jackie Wilson and Eddie Kendrick, former lead singer of the Temptations) that, "Anyone can open their mouth and sing, or play an instrument! You can practice and perfect any popular musicians vocal or instrumental style, and even out-right copy them. But you haven't arrived until people can tell it is you, without seeing you, by the first 4 to 8 notes that come out of your mouth or out of the instrument of choice (I can name that tune/artist in 3 notes)!".
Born and raised in Woodbridge, Connecticut, Vikki's family moved to Boston while she was in her early teens where Vikki attended Catholic School. She was sent to finishing school in New York, where she submerged herself in Performing Arts classes and whatever else girls do at finishing school. It shows when she speaks. Once you engage her in conversation, you realize the lady has "Clahhs" not "Class", and a clahh-see, no-nonsense Lady she is!
Her musical roots are deep-seated. Her father, a noteworthy band leader himself, and mother, who sang with the band until Vikki was born, retired to raise a family, while dad toured the U.S., Europe & Japan. Choosing the entertainment field as her life's work was not really a difficult decision. Though her parents wanted her to attend college, she politely informed them she wanted to go into show business. After a solid year of intense preparation from her father, at the tender age of 19, Vikki was touring with her dad, the band members as surrogate "big brother /chaperones!"
Vikki has been singing professionally for over 20 years, performing all over the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan with her father and his band, on her own, and for the last 5 years with her own group,"The Vikki James Quartet."
I consider her one of Jazz's best kept secrets, a hidden treasure (that's the the way she likes it), who performs at posh resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York, as well as along the Eastern Seaboard from Boston to Miami, the Mid West, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City, and the list goes on and on and on.
The consummate "entertainer's entertainer", it's not unusual for well known artists and entertainers to show up at her 'gigs' and compliment her on her renditions of songs made famous by them, but with her personal styling. She has several scrapbooks filled with rave reviews from critics all over the United States and Europe.
For the past 10 years or so, Vikki has concentrated on the Western Seaboard performing in jazz rich towns like San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Hermosa Beach, and Coos Bay, Oregon. Thus, this reviewers' nickname for her, "Society Chanteuse".
There is so much to be said about this "Mysterious Jazz Diva", but her modesty and shyness preclude me from making her otherwise personal life a public property. In lieu of revelation knowledge, I have generously inserted comments from renowned jazz critics in blue.
"Make no mistake about it! "MIRAGE" is no mirage! It's the real thing baby! Boston's newest and most lavish "Disco" is alive and well, and swinging in Kenmore Square! The lounge at Newton's Mills Fall Restaurant still boasts good talent and the offerings are big league!! VIKKI JAMES!!! Monday through Saturday, can be seen performing the "Billie Holiday Story" at the Theatre of the Round at the Shubert Theatre on Sunday's---Ken Mayer, Boston Herald"
Vikki is currently "shopping" for a club. Yes, she's on hiatus, after 25 years on the road, she's ready to try entrepenuering this reviewer has suggested a name for her club ("Jazzy J's JazZ Joint" or "4-J's JazZ & Supper Club"), which will be located in Northern California somewhere between San Fancisco & Stockton. Plan to spend an evening with Vikki.
I promise you the experience will be enlightening and "Music to your Ears!"
Chappy Hill---"Chappy's Jazz Site"