Waberi’s voice resonates in an alter-reality... beautiful, a haunted timbre; that has many likening her to Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln or early Cassandra Wilson. But the comparison is not solely in the sound of her voice, but the legacy she embodies...
"Art is contributive, not competitive"
Waberi Jordan is a vocalist and songwriter whose signature is rooted in the Leimert Park Jazz Community of Los Angeles. Raised on a steady diet of straight-ahead jazz, at a time when R&B dominated the airwaves, Waberi’s sound bridges two pivotal eras of artistic expression.
Waberi studied and played with Horace Tapscott along with The Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra and The Great Voice of UGMAA (Union of God's Musicians and Artists' Ascension), many notable performers and scholars like Dr. Art Hillary, McCoy Tyner, Azar Lawrence, Nate Morgan, Pharoah Sanders and many more.
Waberi has also performed around the world with various bands and ensembles, from SoulBop (an L.A. based collective of jazz musicians), R&B to West African Drum and Dance bands; 50-piece Jazz arkestras in L.A. and Europe to solo acapella sets. She has also been featured on numerous recordings, including the Jazz CD “Living Water” by extraordinary vocalist DWIGHT TRIBLE, and classic Reggae CD “Good's Gonna Happen” Sahra Indio.
In 2009 Waberi released her debut album, The Trajectory of Starah. The accompanying video, Sunflowers in my Garden premiered the same year, to critical acclaim. The song has become beloved worldwide. Her second video release, Put it Right There was released in 2014, and as an added bonus, was co-directed and shot by Tim Russ, noted for his role as Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager.
2015 saw Waberi exchanging the West Coast for the East Coast and settling into playing shows in NYC with Grammy nominated artists and local artists alike.
An opportunity came to play in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2017, during the Sundance Film Festival. Two on Tour was born, as a duo with long-time friend and collaborator Shena Verrett. They met almost a decade ago in Los Angeles when Alt Rocker Shena performed there and later presented Jazz Songstress Waberi as a featured musical artist for a festival in NYC called The Urb Alt Festival.
"The IDEA of Two On Tour came about in an organic and cosmic manner, beginning in 2008 when Shena and I first met. Her lyricism, accompanied with her bad-ass stage persona was so inspiring and I think the feeling was mutual. I wanted her to write for me and I was kinda embarrassed to ask. Then and there, in 2008, we decided that somehow we would play and sing together."
Waberi has been embraced by the East Coast jazz and live music community, with residencies at The Buttonwood tree and at The Middletown Music Festival. With shows booked well into 2020 and beyond, Waberi Jordan is looking forward - once the tide has turned on this most urgent occurrence of our lifetimes - to live performance, collaborative in-person projects, and the joy that life offers.
Background Photo by John Alexander