“The lady has a gutsy voice that can belt out a blues or whisper a love song.”
“Antoinette Montague is a Jazz singer who loves people and thrills audiences with her crystal-clear tone, her range and her emotional intensity.”
—The Portland Observer
International Herald Daily News Online, 2006
Who is Antoinette Montague? Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Antoinette grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. “I was singing and humming from an early age. It was how I created my own private, comforting world.” In the fourth grade, Antoinette would go to the local library and listen to albums by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. Other influences were the R&B-soul of The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, the Jackson 5, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding; and singers as varied as Mahalia Jackson, Maime Smith, Paul Robeson, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Little Willie John, Etta James, Patsy Cline and Nancy Wilson. Antoinete was mentored by some great singers – Carrie Smith (“She inspired me to have a big voice onstage”), Etta Jones (“She could transport the audience”), Della Griffin (“She showed me laid-back phrasing and how to use the comic side of my personality”) and Myrna Lake (“She let me sub for her and that’s when I learned to lead a band through three sets a night”). In addition, Montague has performed onstage with many top jazz and blues musicians including Red Holloway, Benny Powell, Earl May, Winnard Harper, Wycliff Gordon, Stan Hope, John DiMartino, Bernard Purdy, Victor Jones, Tootsie Bean, Zeek Mullins, Paul Bollenbeck, Frank West and numerous others. Before headlining her own shows, she sat in on hundreds of gigs in an effort to practice her craft, learn the ropes and work her way into the music scene. The past decade Antoinette has been one of the hardest-working jazz-and-blues singers in New York City. For example, on Monday nights when there are jam sessions at clubs all over town, she would often sing a song or two with the Harlem Renaissance Band at Lucy’s and then hop over to 125th Street to vocalize in front of the Cotton Club Big Band directed by Ed Passant. Montague has worked regularly with Bill Easley, Tom Aalfs and Mike Longo’s New York State of the Art Band (including the 88th Birthday Celebration of Dizzy Gillespie). She also was in the Great Women in Music Festival at Birdland with the Duke Ellington Band, directed by Jack Jeffers and filmed for television by the BET on Jazz channel. Antoinette performed at the 10th Anniversary of International Women in Jazz (she serves as the Vice President of that organization), and the NAACP’s Tribute to Milt Jackson. -Reproduced with a permission from World Who’s Who in Jazz, Cabaret Music and Entertainment. Data provided by Carol Lexter.
© 2017 Antoinette Montague