Award-winning singer and pianist Carol Welsman has been honing her blend of smooth jazz, vintage standards and swing for more than 20 years. So she’s was more than ready to please the crowds at Pap-Jazz.

Carol Welsman was one of the most anticipated headline acts when more than 20,000 music lovers gathered in Port-au-Prince for Pap-Jazz in March 2017. Welsman gave two performances during the 8-day festival, one at Parque Historique de la Canne à Sucre and the other at Universite Quisqueya.

The Haiti Jazz Foundation, which organises Pap-Jazz, was thrilled to welcome Welsman on stage for the festival’s 11th year. It describes her as a pianist with great sensitivity and has deemed the Canadian star’s voice to be one of the greatest on the current jazz scene.

An extraordinary year

Welsman played Pap-Jazz on the back of a year which has brought both professional success and the celebration of a personal milestone. Her most recent album, Alone Together, was heralded as a return to ‘strong jazz roots’ and received numerous positive reviews on release. Then Welsman announced she had been cancer-free for ten years. Her illness had initially been kept a secret in case she lost bookings, but once she felt that danger had passed, she decided to go public in order to promote the importance of early detection and healthy lifestyle.

Carol Welsman

Photo: Josué Azor

A musical heritage of repute

Welsman, who is best known for her expressive vocals and spirited performances, has been garnering international acclaim since she released her first album ‘Lucky to be Me’ back in 1995. She is generally categorised as a smooth jazz artist but is also highly regarded for her swing numbers and vintage standards.

Although she now lives in LA, Welsman is still regarded as a Canadian artist. She was born and raised in Toronto as part of a family that seems to have music in its DNA. Her paternal grandfather was conductor Frank S. Welsman, the founder of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, her father played clarinet and saxophone, her mother taught piano and one of her uncles played the violin.

A curate’s egg musical education

After studying music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Welsman was accepted into the prestigious CIM music school in Paris. She spent several years playing in France and Italy before returning to Toronto in 1994 to begin her recording career. To date, Welsman’s albums have received a total of six Juno nominations and she has won jazz vocalist of the year at the National Jazz Awards, as well as album of the year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz awards.