Debra Mann was widely recognized as Rhode Island’s premier jazz pianist and vocalist. She graduated with honors from Berklee College of Music, Boston and studied jazz piano with Jeff Covell, Charlie Banacos, Harvey Diamond, Hal Crook, Diamond Centofanti and Bob Winter, classical piano with Ed Bedner, vocal training with classical voice teachers Dante Pavone and Annamaria Saritelli, Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method founder Jeannie LoVetri, and jazz vocal improvisation with Bob Stoloff.
Since graduating from Berklee, Debra performed extensively as a solo artist and in various groups throughout the New England area at venues of all sizes, including jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals. She shared the stage with well known artists including Dick Johnson, Herb Pomeroy, Gray Sargent, Marshall Wood, Ted Casher, Billy Novick, Greg Hopkins, Greg Abate, John LaPorta, Dave Zinno, Dino Govoni, Jay Azzolina, John Lockwood, Marty Richards, Marty Ballou, Mike Monaghan, Dan Moretti, Ed Tomassi, Oscar Stagnaro, Nanny Assis, Claudio Ragazzi, Bob Gullotti, Jon Wheatley, Jeff Stout, John Allmark, Ed Saindon and many others.
In 1990 she established the Debra Mann Trio, which expanded to a quintet that featured world-class musicians. They performed American Jazz standards, Brazilian jazz music, original compositions, and concerts that featured the music of iconic singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, Brazilian composer and national treasure Antonio Carlos Jobim, and jazz pianist/composer Dave Frishberg.
Debra performed at Boston Symphony Hall as a featured guest soloist with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra. She had the distinct honor of performing at the request of Frank Sinatra. In celebration of Women’s History Month, she performed with her trio on Ron Dellachiesa’s WGBH radio program “Music America”.
Debra Mann was a Whaling City Sound recording artist. Her newest recording Full Circle
features the music of Joni Mitchell, and was released in early 2018. She also released three CD recordings on her record label Jobe Records:
From the Heart was nominated “Best local recording” by the Providence Phoenix.
A Time for Love was released to a sold out concert at Chan’s, RI’s premier jazz club.
Home was placed on the Official Ballot for the 2010 Grammy Awards by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in several categories including Record of the Year (“Autumn”), Album of the Year (“Home”), Song of the Year (“Heart of Love”), Best Pop Vocal Album (“Home”), and Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“Autumn”).
Debra was a passionate Jazz educator. She was a member of the Jazz Education Network, as well as the Providence Musicians Union. She is in demand as a jazz voice and piano teacher. She joined the faculty at Brown University in 2014, and Wheaton College in 2015.
She was a certified teacher in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her approach to teaching was wholistic, encompassing technique, theory, repertoire, improvisation, composition, arranging, performance techniques, and helping students discover and develop their own personal style.
Debra taught students of all ages to play the piano in all styles of music from classical to jazz. Her teaching style was relaxed, warm, and engaging. As an expert in her field, Debra enjoyed helping new students achieve their goals.
Debra was the beloved wife of Don Morton and loving mother of sons Josh and Ben. She is and will be in our hearts forever.