Carol Akerson, one of several very good jazz singers working in and around the New England area, is the beneficiary of an eclectic formal and informal musical education. As a child, she took piano and vocal lessons, sang in the church choir and in school choral groups, and took part in musical theater productions. While at Dartmouth (where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa), in addition to academic courses in music theory and orchestration, she arranged pop and jazz tunes. After graduating, Akerson taught vocal performance and headed a vocal group at Boston's Wheelock College for eight years. Influenced by the stylized offerings of Manhattan Transfer and the interpretive skills of such eminent vocalists as Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, and Nat "King" Cole, Akerson started to work professionally in the early '80s by singing and playing piano in the Jane Doe Band, an all-women quartet doing jazz standards and originals. She was vocalist with a local band, Herb's Heard. Since then, she has appeared several times at one of Boston's premiere jazz venues, the Sculler Jazz Club, as well as at other New England jazz venues. Her first album,The Piano Love Song, was made with pianist Bob Winter for the Seaside label. She also was the featured vocalist on The Swing Legacy: Dancing on the Moon, a Mephistopheles CD. Her album Duke Is the 1 was released for Baily Boy in January of 2000. She was nominated for the Boston Music Awards as Outstanding Jazz Vocalist. An accomplished composer and arranger, more than 50 of her works have been published, performed, or recorded. In addition to her gigs and CDs, Akerson is fortunate to have a flourishing career as a voice-over artist, doing commercial, corporate, and educational work which helps pay the rent.
Akerson possesses a distinctive singing style which lends itself readily to cabaret. Her live performances and albums showcase the works of major entries in the Great American Songbook like Duke Ellington, George & Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. She works equally well with large orchestras and small groups. Based on her work to date, Carol Akerson and jazz fans can look forward to a continued rewarding career as a singer of the traditional popular song.