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 Sunday, 29 November 2015
Christine Rosholt (1965 - 2011) PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christine Rosholt, 2006©Andrea Canter

The Twin Cities Jazz Community lost one of its bright lights with the passing of vocalist Christine Rosholt on December 28th, a week shy of her 47th birthday.  

A Twin Cities native and graduate of the Minneapolis Children’s Theater Company & School, Christine Rosholt earned a BFA in performance art and photography from the Art Institute of Chicago. Her career in theater included original performance art pieces and traditional theater as well as vocal performance. As a jazz vocalist, Christine became one of the busiest performers on the local jazz scene about 8 years ago, performing at a wide array of venues including the Dakota, Honey Lounge, Wabasha Street Caves, Hell’s’ Kitchen and more, as well as featured vocalist with Beasley’s Big Band. Citing influences ranging from Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie, and Frank Sinatra to Connie Evingson, Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, John Pizzarelli, Joni Mitchell, and Karrin Allyson, Christine once remarked that "I especially like the jazz standards from the 1930s and 40s because they’re timeless, they swing, and they’re sentimental without being syrupy." 


Christine, CD Release for Lipstick (2008)©Andrea Canter
In 2006, Christine released her debut recording, Detour Ahead, which garnered a nomination as the top jazz recording of the year from the Minnesota Music Academy and accolades from local as well as national critics. Scott Yanow, in LA Jazz Scene, noted that Christine had “a subtle but powerful voice, one that sneaks up on the listener and makes a surprisingly strong impression.” In 2007, Christine performed a tribute to one of her favorite songwriters, Harold Arlen, as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s 2007  “Jazz J to Z” concert season. Her 2009 release, Lipstick: Live at the Dakota Jazz Club, recreated a night of song and entertainment with the intimacy of live performance, and featured frequent collaborators Dave Karr, Tanner Taylor, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein. Christine again tapped the Great American Songbook over the past year, performing in regional libraries through the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project. 

Christine with Graydon Peterson (2009)©Andrea Canter
But largely, Christine’s most recent work signaled a bolder approach to her music, moving beyond those beloved songbook standards, now finding inspiration in the work of such modern singers as Tierney Sutton and Karrin Allyson. In October at the Jungle Theater, she presented a renovated, expanded version of a 2005 project of songs based on the words of Shakespeare. Her last recording was a collaboration with British songwriter Kevin Hall, who had first heard her at the Dakota in 2008 and convinced her to put her voice to his songs. The result was what Christine dubbed “Pazz”—melding pop and jazz--and with a large cast of mostly Minnesota musicians, the pair celebrated the release of Pazz on December 1st at the Dakota.  

Christine with Kevin Hall at Pazz CD release (2011)©Andrea Canter
Perhaps more obviously than many artists, Christine simply loved interacting with a live audience. “I love being a live performer,” she said. “Every gig has the  potential for growth musically and you never know what is going to happen with the audience.” Early on in her singing career, Christine built her audience at least as much through her utterly charming, interactive stage persona as her specific attributes as a vocalist. She stood out in a sea of capable singers because she could sell herself as much as her songs, no doubt drawing on her theater background. She told stories; she joked with the band (and she always had a knack for gathering the most talented band!), she chatted with the audience as if at a cocktail party, and it never seemed like a put-on. And it might have been one of the most effective strategies in artistic survival. Charm and pizzazz gave Christine a devoted audience while allowing her time to grow musically.  

And she grew substantially as a musician, in recent years charming as much with her melodies, her phrasing, her interpretations, her song choices as with her banter and perky smile. She brought her own character, comedy and drama into her music, not just her show. She could pull your heart out with an achingly slow “Smile” or make you smirk at her interpretation of Dave Frishberg’s “I’m Hip.” But still, no matter what or how she sang, no matter how “hip” her band, we always expected to have a good time with Christine, the person, the actress, the comedienne, the friend... and oh yes, the singer. And we will miss all of her.


Andrea has posted a more personal note on her blog. A musical tribute will be held at the Dakota on January 10, 7-10 pm. Memorials preferred to the Hennepin Health Foundation, Christine Rosholt Gift of Kindness Fund, 701 Park Av, Minneapolis 55415.

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