Sarah McKenzie is a pianist, vocalist, and composer who attends Berklee on a full scholarship. Her second album, Close Your Eyes, won the ARIA award for Best Jazz Album 2012. Her quartet (Sarah McKenzie, voice and piano; Carl Eisman, guitar; Greg Feingold, bass; and John Wood, drums) performs for the Brown Bag Series at Mechanics Hall. The concert will be broadcast and streamed live by WICN 90.5 FM.
She was mentored by legends like Graeme Lyall, Jamie Oehlers, James Morrison, and, most recently, JoAnne Brackeen, the first and only female member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In 2010, she won the James Morrison Scholarship (Vocal) and was the only finalist to be nominated in both vocal and instrumental sections. McKenzie also sang backing vocals for Michael Bublé on the multiplatinum artist’s Call Me Irresponsible tour and was the opening act for five-time Grammy nominee Chris Botti in 2011.
Last year marked an incredible rise in McKenzie's career. The release of her second album, Close Your Eyes, won the ARIA award for Best Jazz Album 2012. To further her studies, in 2012 McKenzie auditioned successfully and traveled to the U.S. to study composition for eight days with Grammy Award-winning, National Endowment for the Arts jazz master Johnny Mandel ("The Shadow of your Smile," theme from M*A*S*H). She also travelled to the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, (July 6-15) to study with vocal specialist Donna McElroy as part of the Berklee summer school clinics.
It was at the clinics that she was heard and invited to perform at the festival. The dean of admissions at Berklee saw her performance on the Giardani Carduci stage and afterward offered her a full tuition scholarship.