Biography

Christine Sullivan is one of the most gifted, accomplished, versatile, unique and popular vocalists in the Australian music industry. She has made five acclaimed recordings, performed at major jazz venues and festivals around Australia and has performed internationally.

Born in Tasmania, Christine began her professional career at a very early age, singing folk, popular, and original material in Hobart. She experienced recording for A.B.C.radio, television performances,jingle recording, backing vocals in cabaret settings and supporting tours for international artists and local Australian legends. She also experimented with lyric writing and performed in all types of venues and events, television, festivals, theatre, competition, voice over advertisements, for her development. She moved to Sydney at 21 to study with Prof Philipsborn, mentor to many great Australian singers at the time.

After moving to Melbourne in 1986, she studied classical technique for two terms at the Melba Conservatorium, at the same time studying with famous American soul, gospel, and session vocalist Venetta Fields of Steely Dan fame for one year.During this time Christine attended workshops with legendary Sheila Jordon,and lessons from the Seth Riggs Technique and song writing workshops with Patt Patterson from Berkley School of Music.

Initially, Christine attracted attention for her spine-tingling vocals in the soul-RB style with 'In the Pocket' then with the band she subsequently formed, Christine Sullivan Funk. But Christine soon developed an interest in Jazz, and increasingly concentrated on performing her own distinctive interpretations of the jazz repertoire including many songs not usually associated with Jazz, at Jazz venues with Jazz musicians of the highest calibre.

While working at the Limerick Arms in Melbourne in 1990, she was heard by British Jazz legend Ronnie Scott and was invited to perform at his famous Club in London, an open invitation. Christine performed in London twice under her own name taking with her Australian musicians and working with some local players in 1992 and 1994.On both occasions Christine had the thrill to meet and perform on the same stage with Chico Freeman and Brainstorm and Chucho Valdes and Irakere. This was an invaluable experience for a young vocalist and her band,leading to an open invitation to perform there regularly.

Christine's continued performance credits include regular performances at major Australian venues and Art centres. Bennett's Lane, Dizzy's Jazz Bar, The Continental Cafe Limerick Arms, The Basement Sydney, Brisbane Conservatorium, Canberra Arts Centre, Chapel off Chapel, Frankston Arts Centre, Hamer Hall, The Recital Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Town Hall.

Performances at Australian leading jazz festivals: The Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Warana, Brisbane Biennial, Montsalvat, The Melbourne International Jazz Festival, The Melbourne International Womans Festival, Adelaide Arts Festival, Spoletto Arts Festival and the Shanghai International Spring Music Festival 2001.

Christine was a guest, touring with the Australian Art Orchestra, performing with Paul Grabowski's work "Passion" inspired by the great master Bach and showcased at the Adelaide Town Hall and Melbourne Town Hall and later recorded for the A.B.C.

Featured as guest vocalist with the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra featuring extraordinary bassist of the great Miles Davis, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, performing at the Hamer Hall as part of the "Denmark meets Australia" cultural program.

Other performances as guest, support or soloist and or backing vocal with Australian greats and Internationals including James Morrison, Paul Grabowski, Don Burrows, Graeme Lyall, Tony Gould, John Hoffman, Doug De Vries, Joe Chindamo, Penny Dyer, Linda George, Venetta Fields, David Jones,Jeremy Alsop,Randy Crawford,Art Garfunkle,Norman Simmons,Grady Tate and Kurt Elling to name a few.

A great highlight was an invitation to join eleven other talented vocalists’ chosen from thirty countries to perform for the second jazz vocal competition of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International music competition held annually with a different instrument each year.The competition was attractive to Christine because it was the first open jazz style, and open age competition, cutting out timely predjudices. Having moved to a different path musically with her last two releases being adult contemporary she was honoured to have been chosen in a jazz vocal competition and was inspired by the experience, meeting some great people and great singers in the jazz scene in America.

The judges included Sheila Jordon, Joe Williams, Etta Jones, Vanessa Rubin, Dianne Reeves, Dianne Krall, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nneena Freelon. The competition was held at Blues Alley in Washington D.C. then celebrated at the Watergate Hotel. The first prize and second prize recipient awarding money and recording contracts with major label's Verve and Blue Note and others and meeting the vice president Al Gore the next day. The excellent opportunity for all participants,ten Americans an Italian jazz student Roberta Gamborini and Christine Sullivan to meet and explore possibility's for their futures in music industry and American jazz scene in particular. Roberta Gamborini was at the time living and studying jazz vocal in Boston and this was a wonderful opportunity for her. Here Christine met the arranger/producer musical director Don Sickler and Shelby Fischer executive producer of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institutes Vocal Competition.

That year the triumphant deserving winner was the late Terri Thornton a luminous 65-year-old jazz vocalist, and the runner up was the then 19 year old Jayne Monheit, whose trio was based in New York, is now touring and recording successfully. Also, that year Christine befriended fellow competitor Tierney Sutton also now touring and recording with her supportive trio.

Christine's recordings began in 1990 with "Its about Time" on an Independent label Larrikin Live at Mietta's with Friends, "Here and Now", "Bloom" and most recently the cd “Away” featuring tracks from the "Murdunna" project for Arts Victoria and guitar tracks from Craig Ross Engineer and Guitarist for Patty Griffin, and A track of Joni Mitchells “River” recorded with marvellous pianist Andy Milne of The Dapp Theory from New York. Christine has been a recipient for many supporting grants from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria, and has recorded as guest or backing vocal on no less than 30 albums and live recordings.One memorable Recording for Mal Stanelys Jazz Track for The ABC with New York Pianist Andy Milne in live performance.

She was invited to perform for the Victorian College of the Arts Jazz Improvisers Concert 2000 at the Concert Hall. The Boite World Music Café Concert at the Hamer Hall. Christine conducted workshops and master classes with graduates and students of V.C.A. and Adelaide Conservatorium and was invited by The Brisbane Conservatorium to perform with the jazz orchestra under the direction of American trumpeter arranger composer John Hoffman.

Her latest work involves recording 15 original Jazz tracks never before recorded with Don Sickler at Rudy Van Gelders Studio in New York in 2013 and 14 recording with Rudy Van Gelder as the engineer. Christine was one of the last singers to record with the legendary Blue Note Engineer. Christine met the brilliant Ran Blake now Emeritus Professor of the New England Conservatory in Boston and Kirk Nurock pianist, prolific lyricist, composer and Lecturer at the New York New School of Music.Through Don Sickler she met many great singers and composers from New York, and recorded a you tube tutorial in support of Jazz Singer Judy Niemack for the release of her educational book for vocalists, Hear it and Sing It. Christine took two private Master classes with the singer in New York. Christine continues her passion for the voice, with song writing, piano studies, private tutoring and mentoring and the development of ideas for the release of an educational and inspiring manual for singers, a work in progress. She has recorded recently as a guest while in Australia with Melbourne based pianist Gordon Harvey for his new release Aquiline.

Christine wants to inspire the next generations of singers,and encourage singers of all ages with the inspirational singers manual. Christine will continue to teach and mentor. Christine is open to recording and some performance and would aspire to co-write creating soundscapes suitable for film or documentary. She also paints and enjoys photography as sideline. She currently spends her time between Brooklyn and her base in Australia.