John Labelle is one of the top crooners from Canada, a singer influenced by Frank Sinatra's conception but displaying a strong voice of his own. Labelle was introduced to music by hearing his parent's records which included several big-band swing albums and a sampler of hit vocal recordings from the 1940s through the '70s. Although he played flute and tenor sax in high school, his main interest was in learning as many lyrics as possible from the classic standards. When he was 21, Labelle was working as a bartender at the Montreal jazz club Biddle's when, as a bit of a joke, he was called up on-stage to sit in with the band. He did so well on his versions of "A Foggy Day" and "Just in Time" that his singing was taken seriously and he gradually switched to becoming a full-time performer. In 1995, Labelle made his recording debut with If You See Her for the Jazz Inspiration label and appeared at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Among his activities since then have been an eight year stint singing with the Montreal Jazz Big Band, joining with two other vocalists in the Three Crooners, performing in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Washington D.C., and throughout Canada, recording further CDs for the Jazz Inspiration and JLP labels, and becoming a regular fixture in the Montreal jazz scene.
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