Jazz pianist and composer Bruce Barth calls Lora Sherrodd “a vocalist and musician of the highest caliber.” Currently based in Philadelphia and finishing her M.M in Jazz Studies from Temple University, Lora has already racked up an impressive foundation of awards and experiences, including the opportunity to perform with many notable musicians, such as Nate Werth at Dazzle in Denver with the University of Wyoming Steel Pan Band, Greg Osby with the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble, and Terell Stafford at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola with the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble in New York City. Recently, she earned the 2021 Downbeat Student Music Award for outstanding vocal jazz solo in the graduate category. She regularly performs at Philadelphia venues, including Chris’s Jazz Café.
Although not many jazz musicians hail from Wyoming, Lora was surrounded by music in the college town of Laramie, Wyoming, where she grew up. Her mother is a bass guitarist, and Lora started singing, dancing, performing and studying music from a young age. She was especially drawn to jazz, with influences including Betty Carter, Nancy King and Carmen McRae. At the University of Wyoming, Sherrodd studied jazz voice under the direction of Ben Markley, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in jazz and a minor in African American and Diaspora Studies in 2020. As an undergraduate, Sherrodd was the featured vocalist in the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble and appeared on a number of recordings, including the university’s “Winds of the Snowy's” as well as “All In” by John May.
Of her vocalist abilities, Barth says: “Lora has the gift of a beautiful instrument, and she has worked to develop an astonishing fluidity and vocal range. She has a good ear for color and sound, and combined with her excellent swing feel and rhythm, she can phrase beautifully – whether singing a lyric or scat-singing.” In addition to her strong vocals, Lora is a talented song writer. In 2019, she earned a grant to record her debut album, “287.” One of the recordings from this record earned her a 2020 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award for outstanding jazz vocal solo. Barth says: “Lora has been writing excellent songs, and I find them to be musically interesting and expressive, and her words to be smart, insightful and often touching.”
In addition to her formal education, Sherrodd has sought out additional opportunities to refine her craft, studying privately with pianist Ben Markley and vocalists Hailey Brinnel and Jenna McLean, among others. Her mentors praise her presence on-stage. McLean says: “She regularly acts as a leader at her own jazz gigs and demonstrates a joy for performance and communication on the bandstand. She has worked to develop her sound and style, but has also put forth incredible work in developing her improvisation skills.”
Biography by Micaela Myers, Uwyo Magazine