Keri Elena Chryst was born in the heart of the mid-west. Singing has always been a part of her life, getting her start in such renowned groups as the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus and the children's theatre troupe Kids On Broadway. Whether turning pages for her grandmother from the bench of the church organ or singing her jazz début at age 16 in front of her grandfather's big band, for Ms. Chryst music has always been a family affair . Starting with piano lessons at age 6, Keri proceeded to rack up her musical experiences in her school's musical comedies as well as choir and band where she held the prized 1st chair as flautist (though preferring to lug a susaphone during marching season!).
It came as no surprise when Keri chose to enter Northwestern University College of Music in 1992 to study classical voice. But she was soon seduced by the challenge involved in singing jazz harmony - and with a refusal to succumb to the notion there was something she couldn't do, Keri completely changed direction. Having been given the opportunity to study and perform with such jazz greats as Max Roach, Sheila Jordan, Bobby McFerrin, and Danilo Perez, in 1997 she became the first vocalist in the school's history to graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies . A year later, she added a Masters in Jazz Pedagogy, also from Northwestern.
Whether leading a jazz quintet, or fronting a big band like the Phil Nelson Orchestra, Keri's "lighter than caramel" voice and her authentic "in the pocket" swing have charmed American audiences from Chicago to Cleveland and New York .
She currently lives in Paris where she pioneered a vocal curriculum for former Berklee affiliate American School of Modern Music, as well as creating her own Jazz Vocal Academy International. She performs regularly in local clubs such as the Méridien's Jazz Club Lionel Hampton, the Caveau de la Huchette and the New Morning where she performed along side James Brown's trombonist, Fred Wesley.
Jazz is decidedly her passion, and she can also be heard performing around Europe with the sassy vocal trio Sweet System and across the African Continent as Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.
A consummate musician in any situation, we invite you to keep an ear out for news of Ms.Chryst as she continues to spread her classic swing style around Paris and the International music scene.
MAJA SAVIC was born in Zadar, Croatia. At the age of 7, she convinces her parents that she wants to learn how to play the piano and ends up in Music School “Pavao Markovac” in Zagreb, where she studies the piano until 1992. She starts composing and arranging and occasionally singing in public.
She began her professional singing career in 1998 performing with a pop band Flyer and later on with a jazz-core band Bazaar. Performing from small stages to big stage events, she gains more experience in performing. In 2005 she moves to Portugal, where she starts working on her debut album with a prominent jazz musician Zé Eduardo.
Apart from recording, she is working intensively in jazz, always educating herself as a vocalist and a musician, and performing with various bands. Co-operated with various musicians from Croatia, from jazz professionals to a collaboration with a funk group Bastardz, Less Than a Minute, DJs Ludvig & Stelar who invite her to sing and publish for Cafe del Mar in 2009, etc. Major performances include: Croatian Composers’ Night with the HRT Big Band (Croatian Radio Television orchestra) in 2008 where she performed her own composition “Sonhos Musicais” (Musical Dreams) for the first time in the arrangement of Igor Savin, performances with the HGM A Band during seasons 2011 and 2012 at the Cinema Forum, numerous performances in various jazz clubs, major festivals and cultural centers in Croatia, Slovenia and Portugal.
In 2008 her talent was recognized and she was nominated for a Status Award in the category of “Young jazz talents”. In 2008 she establishes the Association for Promoting Jazz Music and Culture - JAZZart and emphasizes the importance of education in jazz music. Throughout the years she continues to organize jazz workshops, master classes and courses in order to support and develop the Croatian jazz scene.
In December 2008 she starts working for the Croatian Radio - national radio station - covering jazz events and from October 2012 she gets to edit and host her LIVE jazz show on the radio. She hosts the show until September 2013.
From 2009 to 2014 she worked as a vocal instructor in the School for modern singing - Mikrofon Star - with several other mentors from the professional music scene.
In 2013 she begins collaborating with a Brazilian guitarist, composer, arranger and singer - Marco Antonio da Costa who actively collaborates with the HGM Jazz Orkestar (current: Zagreb Jazz Orkestar). The perform a repertoire based on Brazilian music, as well as their original compositions. They occasionally perform Latin-American music because da Costa is partly from Peru. Their performances often feature the Brazilian vocal ensemble Bossa Banda , which Maja has been leading since 2010 and which usually performs popular Brazilian tunes as well as standards from the Jobim’s songbook. This Brazilian-Croatian duo performs both in Croatia and Austria, and have sung together at the Christmas concert in the renowned concert hall Lisinski with the HGM Jazz Orkestar on the 1st December 2013. In summer 2014 they record their first demo, which they hope is the beginning of their first album. In the bigger formation they are joined by Zvonimir Šestak on bas and Matheus Jardim on drums.
In October 2014 Maja moves to Paris where she continues to collaborate with the Jazz Vocal Academy International , specializing to be the vocal instructor of this school, as well as Arts Embassy International with whom she is organizing the annual Jazz Tour and International Singers Workshop in Paris. The first one was held in June 2014, and together they hope to do the same in Zagreb in collaboration with Udruga Jazzart, in Chicago in collaboration with SongShop lead by a Cabaret performer Claudia Hommel and the above mentioned associations in Paris lead by the jazz vocalist Keri Chryst.
In spring 2015 she records two albums: “Tradition” - a beautiful collaboration with a pianist Petar Ćulibrk as an hommage to tradition, playing standards they love as a duo, and a modern jazz album “Invitation” with her ensemble which contains original tunes and arranged standards. They will both be launched in fall 2015.
She is currently based in Paris where she is working on her international career and planning her first European tour with current projects.
Her motto is - It's never too late!
Hoping to inspire others to do the same and follow their heart...