SHERIDAN — It’s been said that jazz music is 95 percent head knowledge and 5 percent improvisation. Stepping out from the ensemble and using voice or instrument to dance solo — to bend, shake and syncopate as the soul moves — is accomplished solely when the musician knows exactly what she is doing.
In many ways, that 95-5 ratio describes the life of local jazz musician Alycia Vince. Her many adventures in life have been grounded in solid knowledge of how to accomplish what she wants. She toured with several jazz ensembles — including one that performed in Brazilian Portuguese. She sang solos in Carnegie Hall in New York. She worked as an events planner for a major running store.
Now Vince is back in Sheridan, combining her passion for jazz and event planning to bring new music to northeast Wyoming.
“I’m in Sheridan because I love it,” Vince said. “It’s an incredible place to be. I’m not here by accident.”
Vince released her most recent album, “Live at the Carriage House,” in December 2012. An eight-track album recorded live at the Carriage House Theatre in Sheridan, it includes such favorites as “In a Sentimental Mood” and “My Funny Valentine.” It is available on iTunes and CD Baby.
Though professionally recorded and engineered, the project was an improvisation. In July 2012, Vince brought in nine musicians from around the nation for a tribute to blues singer Bonnie Raitt. While setting up, she made a snap decision to mic everybody and record the show.
There were no rehearsals or plans. There were just 10 musicians who had the head knowledge to make the improv work.
“The Carriage House has really wonderful sound,” Vince said. “The project was surprisingly beneficial for everybody.”
For Vince, “Live at the Carriage House” cemented a few things in her mind: She wants to keep performing and recording, and she wants to keep bringing jazz to Sheridan.
“I want to bring in musicians from all over the nation to teach our kids and fire up our community,” Vince said.
Already Vince’s work in hosting musicians at events like the Big West Arts Festival and Taste of Sheridan is creating waves. She was at a jazz conference in New Orleans recently and people kept stopping her to say, “You’re that girl from Wyoming making all that headway in jazz.”
Vince hopes so. She hopes to inspire Wyoming youth to pursue their dreams — abroad like she did in college or right here in Wyoming like she’s doing now with her jazz concerts and forays into playing banjo and fiddle at local venues.
“Fitting my music life into Wyoming is challenging, but it’s a matter of making it work, adjusting your style a bit,” Vince said. “We’ll see how the stars align and just follow it.”