By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Since its resurrection four years ago, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami's jazz series has attracted some of South Florida's most renowned jazz artists.
Somewhat breaking the mold, the church has invited Miami-based singer Wendy Pedersen to perform for the third time. An award-winning jazz vocalist, she is equally at ease belting out rock, blues, and ballads.
Much of her material will come from her second CD, Under the Influence, a tribute to women who have influenced Pedersen during her musical career.
A graduate of the University of Miami's Studio Music and Jazz Vocal program, Pedersen was raised on a musical diet of Elton John and the Beatles. But while in school, she found jazz and has immersed herself in its beat ever since. Pedersen has become a popular holiday performer, especially after the 2003 release of Ho! Ho! Ho!, a collection of sweet, sultry, jazzed-up Christmas carols.
Over the past several years, Pedersen's style has led to her being voted Best Female Rock Artist by Miami New Times, as well as the Pace/Southern Bell Jazz Artist of the Year.
Carol Reiter, a member of the Unitarian Church's Lotz Concert Series committee, says Pedersen has performed at the church twice before, the last time in April. "She does it all. If you're a jazz lover, this is for you," Reiter enthuses. Pedersen has worked as a studio singer with Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, James Brown, and many others.
At the church, Pedersen will be performing with bassist Bob Grabowski and keyboardist Jim Gasior, who accompanied her on a recent tour of Japan. The show should be a swingin' way to sway into the holidays. Paul Catala