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Joyce Randolph
Joyce Randolph PDF Print E-mail

A native of Stockton, California, Joyce was singled out at an early age as a gifted musician when an anonymous benefactor underwrote the expenses for her private violin study during her elementary and junior high school years. Upon her entrance to Edison High School, Joyce - still sponsored by the same anonymous patron - continued her musical study at the University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music. Studying under the tutelage of Professor Ralph Matesky, Joyce served as the concertmistress for the Edison High School Orchestra, as well as the San Joaquin County Honor Orchestra throughout her high school years. Additionally, Joyce studied piano from her early elementary years through high school graduation with her beloved piano teacher and mentor, Ms. Lolita Jordan; indeed, Joyce credits Ms. Jordan for nurturing and encouraging her in her musical pursuits.

After graduating from Edison High School (where she had been elected the first female ASB President in seventeen years) Joyce prepared to enter Stanford University as a scholarship student. At a celebratory banquet in her honor Joyce, at long-last, was introduced to life-long musical benefactor, Mr. Skipper Yee, a local Stockton businessman and owner of the Sky Corporation.

In 1972 Joyce successfully completed her studies at Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Music Education.

From 1972-1975, Joyce served as the Vocal Music Specialist for the Menlo Park City School District. When she was unexpectedly notified by the California Teacher Credentialing Office that she had, unknowingly, successfully completed an academic minor in English at Stanford (she enjoyed taking many Shakespeare courses), Joyce began teaching drama and college preparatory English in San Jose's East Side Union High School District in 1976.

An award-winning and much-beloved mentor-teacher, Joyce retired from the East Side Union High School district in January 2004. Finding great fulfillment in teaching, Joyce has operated the Randolph School of Music since 1993. Here, she provides private piano lessons to sixty clients who range in ages from five to seventy-five years.

According to Joyce, her path to becoming a professional jazz, blues, and gospel vocalist was both unintentional and unforeseen. Having written songs and lyrics since she was in junior high school, she penned a song called "Thank God for the Friend I've Found" for her 1987 wedding to Barney Randolph and performed it during the ceremony. In the words of her husband, "I knew immediately that she was musically gifted." To that end, he encouraged her to join the Antioch Baptist Church choir, and she did--- a choir where she and her husband have sung together for nearly eighteen years.

Time constraints did not allow Joyce to actively compose for quite awhile. However, one day her sister Linda asked her to write a song for an entrepreneurial project of hers. She needed the song completed within 48 hours, and the song needed to be inspirational and uplifting. Joyce agreed. The result, "My New Day," later appeared on Joyce's 1995 debut album, "I Send Him Roses". Later on, she was then paired with Bay Area keyboard and trumpet player, John Turk, who was hired to do an arrangement and "demo" of the song. With the encouragement of both John and her husband, Joyce went on to compose three more songs. By this time, both Turk and Randolph exhorted her to record and commercially release her own feature album. This album, "I Send Him Roses", was produced by John Turk and contains a collection of original songs by Joyce with the exception of the single cover tune, "Teach Me Tonight."

Remarkably, "Teach Me Tonight" caught the ear of veteran Bay Area KPFA-FM jazz programmer Doug Edwards; in short order, Joyce made her first radio appearance on Mr. Edwards' jazz show "Ear Thyme" later on that year. Following that initial appearance, she was invited to be the featured vocalist in the radio station's, long-running simulcast two-hour concert series Bay Area Jazz and Blues Artists (BAJABA) Showcase. Also, Edwards suggested that Joyce collaborate with world-class guitarist Calvin Keys for the event.

After the BAJABA Showcase performance, Joyce happened to attend one of Calvin Keys' concerts; spying Joyce in the audience, Calvin extended an impromptu invitation for her to join him on-stage and sing one or two selections. During the event, Joyce sang "Fine and Mellow" and "My Funny Valentine." The following morning, Joyce received an e-mail message from Keys which stated that the General Director for the San Jose Jazz Society (Mr. Henry Schiro) had extended an invitation for The Calvin Keys Trio featuring Joyce Randolph to appear at that year's Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival 2001, the largest free jazz festival in the country.

With her first album, 1995's "I Send Him Roses, Joyce had not yet fully claimed her identify as a jazz singer. In 2004, she released her second album, "Just a Little Blue," a collaborative effort with bassist Jeff Chambers and pianist Bill Bell. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and reflect that the smooth mix of jazz standards and her original title track are a spellbinding vocal masterpiece. Of her 2005 release "Joyce Randolph 'Live' at the Sainte Claire," Joyce says, "...me laughing at myself and with the world, audience wildly effusive in its applause and love, and the musicians playing music that dreams are made of."

Randolph's vocal talent and unique style combine open, honest emotion with a homespun stage presence that has made her a fixture of the San Francisco Bay Area jazz and blues scene. Joyce is also a highly sought after gospel and inspirational vocalist for numerous social, community, and civic functions in the Bay Area as well as throughout the United States.

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