Jody Albright: a life filled with beautiful music

Mar-2-T-CP-Jody-Albright-CBy Phyl Newbeck

Jody Albright comes from a musical family. Her father was a minister, so she grew up singing in the church as well as at home. These days, you’re likely to find her at the Discover Jazz Festival, First Night, or at the Hinesburgh Public House where she will be performing on Sunday, March 22 with George Voland from 5-8pm.

In high school Albright joined a rock band with her friends. Although the band didn’t last, she has stayed in touch with her bandmates and is thrilled they are all still playing music. Albright soon discovered dance but found she didn’t have enough time for both art forms. Her first love won out and in the 1980s she was in an a cappella band called Chapped Lips which was part of the Vermont Arts Council. Chapped Lips opened for nationally recognized acts like the Persuasions and Taj Mahal. Later she joined her brother Stephen in a rock band while working at her sister’s vintage clothing store in Burlington.

Albright’s first attempt at college was a short lived stint as a dance major at U Mass/Amherst. After a six year break, she finished a degree in music and dance at Burlington College and began to teach voice privately and at the college. In search of more education, she got a Master’s Degree in music from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Since then, Albright has performed solo and with a number of different pianists and groups including Pine Street Jazz. “There’s such an interplay with the musicians,” she said. “It’s not the diva thing as much in the jazz world but a conversation with the group.”

Although she professes to love all music, Albright’s favorite genre is jazz. She has done singer/songwriter work and continues to love rhythm and blues, rock, and pop but the music of jazz trios and quartets and artists like Chet Baker and Carmen McCrae is where her main interest lies. “The reason I love jazz so much,” she said “is the older songs which just captivate me because they are so melodic. There is also the opportunity to improvise and make something your own; play with it and change it. It’s more freeing than any other genre.”

Albright has always had to juggle her music around her full-time jobs. After years of teaching, she’s currently an advisor at the Community College of Vermont in Winooski, working primarily with high school students taking college courses. Thanks to her full-time work, Albright didn’t have the opportunity to release her first CD, An Intimate Evening, until 2013. Another late addition to her life is her husband, Larry Parker who she married in 2011. Parker, a music lover, makes sure that Albright has time for her passion. “It’s challenging to keep music in my life,” she said “but he points out how important it is and he’s a huge supporter, as well as being my roadie.”

Another inspiration for Albright is her Hinesburg home behind Lantman’s. “I love that the land behind our condo is conserved thanks to the Russell family,” she said. “There are incredible trails and they sugar with horses and buckets. You feel like you’re in another world and I like the small town feeling of that.”