Possessing a rare versatility in timbre and range, Sandra Marlowe brings warmth, finesse, and yet, excitement and strength in her renditions of ballads to blues, bebop to Broadway belt. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 20 years, she has performed with pianists, jazz trios, ensembles, bands, theaters, and is an accomplished singer/musician with an expansive vocal repertoire. Her skills as a songstress and entertainer, from sharp wit to aching authenticity, make for a memorable and timeless experience for audiences.
Born into a family of singers, musicians and poets on the rural plains of North Dakota, Marlowe’s solo career began at the tender age of six with a shy, but righteous rendition of “Do, Lord!” before an old-time, revival meeting congregation. A keen ear and a kernel of talent led to years of study, both academic and private, in voice, piano, opera, acting, drama, dance, composition and musicianship. While a student at DeAnza College and San Jose State University, she performed with San Jose Community Opera Theatre (now Opera San Jose) under the tutelage of Director Irene Dalis and Musical Director Dr. David Rohrbaugh. Marlowe also credits much of her interpretative and performing style to five years “hard labor!” with legendary vocal coach Judy Davis, whose A-list of former students included Sinatra, Streisand, Joplin. More recently, Marlowe has embraced a lifelong love for big band and swing music. She has appeared at festivals on both East and West coasts with the LA-based “Avalon Cats” swing band directed by Grammy-award winning producer, saxophonist and arranger Rusty Higgins. Marlowe has also been a featured singer with South Bay Swing Band, a 17-piece traditional big band working California’s Bay Area and Central Coast, and recorded a CD, “Uptown Stomp,” with them.
Most recently, creative curiosity and a restless spirit led Marlowe to explore the magical realm of jazz and improvisation, and further studies in jazz & arranging at The Jazzschool in Berkeley as well as master classes with renowned jazz vocalists Kitty Margolis, Rhiannon, Bobbe Norris, and celebrated producer/arranger Frank Martin. Marlowe released her debut jazz CD entitled “True Blue.” in July 2012, co-producing with acclaimed pianist Larry Dunlap, who has worked with such jazz and cabaret luminaries as Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Maureen McGovern and Nancy King, and is music director for British diva Dame Cleo Laine. Dunlap crafted sumptuous arrangements and directed Bay Area A-list musicians on this CD to generously complement a songstress whose adventurous life embodies the art of reinvention, while her songs honor the integrity and deep legacy of the Great American songbook. “True Blue.” is garnering impressive reviews and receiving national and international radio play. Ms. Marlowe appeared at San Jose Jazz Summer Festival in August 2012 in a “True Blue.” CD release concert.
Ms. Marlowe tends the creative fire in others with both teaching and directorial work. She has provided vocal and music direction for college and community theater companies, working with children, teens and aspiring professionals. She also teaches vocal technique and performance through private practice.