With a scintillating singing style, her ease with all manner of material, and her ability to work her sidemen, Kate Hammett-Vaughan is fast becoming one of Canada's more prominent jazz singers. Growing up in a household where she heard all kinds of music, Hammett-Vaughan started her singing career at the ripe old age of 15 singing with her brother's rock bands. She then moved toward the acoustic end of music at 19 when she formed the swing group JADA while at Acadia University, doing standards and blues. She finally got a steady gig with saxophonist Bucky Adams. Since then, she has issued several albums under her own name, most notably a 1999 release, How My Heart Sings, and a 2002 CD Devil May Care, both of which feature pop and jazz standards; all of which Hammett-Vaughan delivers with a voice as clear as a Canadian lake.
Her singing technique was initially swayed by Ella Fitzgerald and Cleo Laine. She moved closer to a contemporary jazz vocal mode after listening to and studying with modern creative stylists, most notably Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan. One can hear snippets of the avant-garde in the way she sings some songs. Certainly her improvisational techniques were shaped by these singers as well as by Maggie Nicols and Phil Minton. While her extemporizing dexterity is impressive, Hammett-Vaughan makes sure that what she is performing remains accessible to her audience.
In addition to her work as a leader, Hammett-Vaughan has appeared on albums led by others as well as on soundtracks of films. She has appeared at such major festivals as du Maurier Ltd International Jazz Festival with her sextet, Seattle's well-known Earshot Jazz Festival working with the NOW Orchestra, and at other similar events in the Vancouver area. Hammett-Vaughan enjoys returning something to the community and does so as a teacher and as a writer for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Her private listening habits not only lean to performances by the jazz icons but also extend to music from other cultures, which might well find their way into future releases.