Published on February 13, 2014 by Philip Poole  

Samford University's Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center continues its Signature Series with jazz vocalist Halie Loren on Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. The concert is in Brock Recital Hall on the Samford campus.

Tickets are $20, and student tickets are $10. Samford students, faculty and staff receive one complimentary ticket. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Samford Arts box office, 205-726-2853. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Described as "pure magic" by All About Jazz and "the next big thing among jazz vocalists" by Jazz Times, award-winning vocalist Loren has spent the last five years establishing herself as one of the finest jazz singers working today. Playing to sold-out concert halls throughout Europe and Asia, the Alaskan-born, Oregon-based Loren is embarking on her first major tour of the United States.

Her debut jazz CD, 2008's "They Oughta Write a Song," won a national independent music award for best vocal jazz album. It was distributed in Asia by JVC/Victor Entertainment and in North America by Justin Time Records. She followed with the live album "Stages," an Editor's Pick at CD Baby and "best live album of the year" at Wildy's World. "After Dark" followed in 2010, with the Loren original song "Thirsty" winning the Independent Music Awards' Vox Pop poll for best jazz song of the year.

In its savvy concoction of jazz standards, re-imagined pop classics, and shimmering new originals, 2012's CD "Heart First" received the award as best vocal jazz album of 2011 from Japan's Jazz Critique magazine. Her cover of "Fly Me to the Moon," spent three weeks at No. 1 on the iTunes Japan jazz chart. It was among the top 10 jazz CDs in Hot New Releases at Amazon in the U.S. and Canada, and reached No. 1 on the iTunes Canada jazz albums chart.

In 2013, Loren released the most varied and polished collection to date, "Simply Love," with three original tunes and 10 re-imagined classics. It rose to the top of the Japan charts in pop and jazz before its June release date and claimed No. 1 in its first week. By the third week, it had climbed to No. 1 spot on Billboard Jazz / Japan. It was also debuted as the No. 1 jazz album on iTunes Canada. The album also marked Loren's first appearance on the Grammy ballot for best jazz album.

Singles from the album include the string-infused original "Cuando Bailamos," Carole King's 1974 B-side hit "I Feel the Earth Move", and the sweetly honest title track, which Loren co-wrote with Benita Hill.

Sean Wright, director of Samford's Wright Center, said, "We are thrilled to bring Halie Loren to Samford on her first US tour.  She is an amazing talent who has wowed sold-out audiences across the globe, drawing comparisons to Diana Krall and Peggy Lee.  I think that Birmingham will absolutely fall in love with her incredible voice and undeniable stage presence."

Loren's performance will feature her quartet, including Matt Treder on piano, Mark Schneider on bass, Brian West on drums and William Seiji Marsh on guitar.

This performance is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, South Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  More information on the entire Signature Series, including upcoming performances with jazz vocalist Halie Loren, An Evening with C.S. Lewis and more, as well as all other events held at the Wright Center can be found online at .

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.