Promising young jazz vocalist, Rachel Azbell seeks to put her own stamp on the standards while paying homage to the inspiring women that have come before her. Her classic, sultry tone takes inspiration from jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Initially, a classically trained pianist, Rachel fell in love with jazz at the age of 16 through her grandmother, who was a pianist and saxophonist. She is now a professional vocalist and a leader in vocal jazz education, striving to create cutting-edge opportunities and a renewed sense of community and educational opportunities for young vocalists.
Rachel performs regularly in the Columbus, Ohio area and has been seen with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Pete Mills Quintet, the Bobby Floyd Trio, and with her own group, the Rachel Azbell Quintet at venues such as the Southern Theatre, the Lincoln Theatre, Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza, the Columbus Jazz & Ribs Fest, Becky's Barn, the Ginger Rabbit and more.
In partnership with the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus, Rachel piloted the Columbus Youth Jazz Vocal Lab, a tuition-free program for middle and high school vocalists to explore their solo jazz voice and expanded upon this curriculum to include a weeklong summer camp, Camp Jazz, which will be in its fourth year in the summer of 2022. Rachel is also the curator of educational vocal jazz videos available through the Jazz Academy Teacher's Toolkit , which were created to give music educators effective tools for instilling vocal jazz curriculum into their classroom.
As a private vocal instructor, Rachel has extensive experience teaching both contemporary and classical styles to middle, high school and college-aged students. In December 2021 finished her Masters in Music in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, under the direction of Jennifer Barnes and Rosana Eckert. There, she sang in the distinguished UNT Jazz Singers and served as a teaching fellow for the vocal jazz area, teaching private lessons and courses in jazz studies. Rachel greatly enjoys the opportunity to teach singers privately and is available in person or virtually.
Rachel is currently residing in Columbus, Ohio where she recently returned to Jazz Arts Group in the role of Education Program Manager. In this role, Rachel oversees several of the educational programs Jazz Arts Group offers, including the Columbus Youth Jazz Program, the Jumpin JaKs Pre-K program, the Columbus Girls Jazz Project and the vocal jazz offerings through the Jazz Academy.