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Born in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, Chile, Acuña began singing Chilean folk/pop, rock, fusion and opera, drawing inspiration from Chilean music pioneers Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. At the age of 15 she discovered her first “outside” musical model: Frank Sinatra. Acuña finally “felt at home” when she heard the voices of Sinatra, Erroll Garner and Sarah Vaughan.
Moving to Santiago in 1991, she immediately gravitated to the local musicians and soon made a name for herself on the jazz scene, being featured on the club’s live radio broadcast while sitting in with visiting musicians Wynton Marsalis, Michel Petrucciani, Joe Lovano and Danilo Perez. In 1995 Acuña made the move to New York City to fulfill her dreams, where she immediately became a fixture at local jam sessions and stints at infamous New York haunts with pianist Harry Whitaker at Arturo’s and guitarist Ron Affif at the Zinc Bar. It was at the Greenwich Village hotbed of up-and-coming talent, Small’s, where Acuña befriended pianist Jason Lindner, her closest collaborator to this day.
Acuña was signed to Verve Records in 1999, and recorded her critically acclaimed debut WIND FROM THE SOUTH, followed by the much welcomed follow-up, RHYTHM OF LIFE. In 2004, MaxJazz recorded the beautiful LUNA, where, as noted by the Daily News, “Acuña transforms classics into something provocative and unexpected”.
Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger Claudia Acuña will appear with her quintet at teh Jazz Showcase at Dearborn Station in Chicago on Thursday, September 24th through Sunday, September 27th. A pure, compelling and original voice hailed by the LA Times as an “instrument of wonder”, Claudia Acuña draws upon the culture of her homeland by fusing Latin rhythms with her instinctive jazz sensibilities. Singing mostly in her mother tongue, Acuña makes it clear that music crosses all barriers - particularly when sung with her distinctive brand of authentic emotion. Legend and inspiration, Abbey Lincoln says, “Claudia sings in the tradition of the great ones. Her sound is her own.”
Claudia has recorded, toured and performed with Tom Harrell, Billy Childs, George Benson, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Antonio Hart, Danilo Perez, Avishai Cohen, Avi Leibovich, Jeff Ballard, Guillermo Klein, Louis Vega/Masters at Work, Dana Leong, David Gilmore, Makoto Ozone, Arturo O’Farrill, Pablo Ziegler, Trio de Paz and was most recently featured on Amanecer, the latest release from Marsalis Music recording artist Joey Calderazzo.
Acuña was recently appointed a spokesperson for World Vision Chile, an international Christian relief and development organization, delivering assistance during humanitarian emergencies to areas where it operates child-focused development programs.
The Jazz Showcase is located at Dearborn Station, 809 S. Plymouth Court in Chicago. Check the Jazz Showcase website for updated information at www.jazzshowcase.com or call (312) 360-0234.