Aubrey Johnson is a New York-based vocalist, composer, and educator who specializes in jazz, Brazilian, and creative contemporary music with and without words. She holds a Master of Music degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory and will be releasing her debut album under saxophonist Greg Osby’s record label Inner Circle Music in May of 2018. She has held faculty positions at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, and currently teaches at Queens College in New York City, and Montclair State University in New Jersey.
As an undergraduate student Western Michigan University, Aubrey was a member of Gold Company, the university’s world- renowned vocal jazz ensemble, and studied classical and jazz voice. As a college student, Aubrey won two DownBeat Collegiate Student Music Awards for “Best Jazz Vocalist” and “Jazz Vocalist, Outstanding Performance.” She recorded and performed the original compositions of pianist Ron DiSalvio, featuring legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb. Her work with Cobb/DiSalvio can be heard on their 2007 Origin Records release “Essence of Green”, and “Songs For Jazz Legends” (BluJazz, 2015).
In 2007 she relocated to Boston to pursue a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Danilo Perez, Jerry Bergonzi, Dominique Eade, Allan Chase, George Garzone, and Frank Carlberg. While at NEC, Aubrey founded, directed and arranged for an official vocal jazz ensemble at the school. In 2009, Aubrey graduated with honors, was awarded the “Gunther Schuller Medal” for “making an extraordinary contribution to the life of the school,” and won her third DownBeat Magazine Collegiate Student Music Award, for outstanding performance in jazz voice.
In 2009 and 2010, Aubrey performed (singing wordlessly and playing auxiliary keyboards) with Lyle Mays (keyboardist of the Pat Metheny Group), including shows at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Also in 2010, sherecorded on Bobby McFerrin’s Grammy-nominated EmArcy release “VOCAbuLaries.”
In 2011, Aubrey moved to New York City where she currently resides. From 2011-2015 she was the youngest voice faculty member of the Berklee College of Music voice department, and also was also on faculty at the New England Conservatory from 2012-2013. In New York, she has made appearances at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Kaufman Center, The Kitano, Cornelia St. Café, The Stone, Shapeshifter Lab, the Jazz Gallery, BAM Café, Rockwood Music Hall, Club Bonafide, Smalls, Mezzrow, Le Poisson Rouge, and the National Opera Center, with many different ensembles and artists including Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), Fred Hersch’s Pocket Orchestra, Sara Serpa’s City Fragments, John Zorn’s Mycale Vocal Quartet, Joe Phillips’ Numinous Ensemble, Andrew Rathbun’s Large Ensemble, Rose and the Nightingale, Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Jason Yeager, Randy Ingram, and with her own band (Tomoko Omura, Michael Sachs, Chris Ziemba, Matt Aronoff, Jeremy Noller). Since 2016, she has been a faculty member of the jazz departments at Queens College and Montclair State University. Her performing and teaching has taken her throughout the US and Canada, China, Europe, and South America.