Polly Podewell

b. 31 March 1949, Evanston, Illinois, USA. Starting to sing in school choirs, Podewell also learned piano and sang folk music through college, accompanying herself on guitar. From an early age she had…
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Artist Biography

b. 31 March 1949, Evanston, Illinois, USA. Starting to sing in school choirs, Podewell also learned piano and sang folk music through college, accompanying herself on guitar. From an early age she had been influenced by music on record at home, classical and musical comedy, but after graduating with a degree in sociology-psychology she was turned on to jazz through hearing Lee Wiley on record. She was also attracted to the standards of the Great American Songbook but continued with her studies, earning a masters degree in early childhood education from the Erikson Institute, Chicago. Meanwhile, however, she had continued to develop her interest in singing and in 1975 became a full time performer. This was in Chicago clubs, in particular Rick’s Café Americain, where she sang with jazz luminaries such as Vic Dickenson, Red Richards and Doc Cheatham. Mostly, however, she sang with local trios or accompanied herself on guitar.

In 1979, Benny Goodman heard a cassette she had recorded and hired her for his sextet. After this spell with Goodman, in the early 80s Podewell sang with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd and also toured as a single in Japan and South America. In the late 80s, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked with several artists including Jack Sheldon, Ross Tompkins and Jake Hanna. Although well established in the area by the following decade, Podewell’s career was interrupted through having to care for ailing parents back in Chicago but she continued to work in Los Angeles whenever possible including a 1998 spell with Les Brown And His Band Of Renown. Podewell’s voice is rich and mature and she sings with a fluid swing. Her interpretation of ballads reveals her deep love for and understanding of the material. By the end of the 90s, Podewell settled in Los Angeles and was busily planning new recordings and establishing herself on the national and international scenes.