The 2018 recipient of the Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Acheivement in Jazz, and 2015 Outstanding Jazz Educator, Bobbi Wilsyn, is Professor Emerita as recently conferred by Columbia College Chicago. As an educator, Wilsyn is proud to have been the voice coach for Milton Suggs Jr., Sarah Marie Young, Jonathan McReynolds, and Chester Gregory (to name a few). After her recent retirement from Columbia, Wilsyn is embarking on a re-design of her work and career. Completing new recording projects, curating cabaret perfomances for her One Woman Show Tributes, cultivating private motivation and performance coaching workshops and live concerts are how Bobbi Wilsyn is presenting what she calls her “3rd act”!
Wilsyn grew up singing in the church, doo-wopping in the neighborhood, and performing in school productions. Those experiences are evident in the ways Ms. Wilsyn molds a song to her liking. Wilsyn was discovered by showman, Milt Trenier in her native Los Angeles. They toured nightclub stages and show lounges from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. Planting her stakes in Chicago in the late 70’s and singing the jazz, blues, pop, and gospel repertory that inspired her as a child, Wilsyn started making music with her own combo on Rush Street and the top hotels in the city. She sang in the Chicago musical productions of Keegle Street, Beehive, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues and Sophisticated Ladies.
Ms. Wilsyn gained recognition as the featured jazz-blues vocalist with the late William Russo’s Chicago-based Chicago Jazz Ensemble (also under the direction of John Faddis) Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra. She has been featured abroad with the international Italian Jazz Band and Dick Dunscomb’s Symphonic Jazz International and performed with many notable artists incuding Kurt Elling, Corky Siegel, Thommy Gunther and the late greats, Eldee Young, Eddie Griffin, Lonnie Smith, James Mack and Buddy de Franco. The Eleven Jazzy Divas, SHE (an all-femal jazz combo founded by Wilsyn), Chicago Cabaret, Unity on the North Shore and Cityside Spiritual Center are other performance opportunities Wilsyn has enjoyed.
Presently performing and recording between Chicago and L.A., Bobbi Wilsyn has appeared at Catalina Jazz Club on Sunset, Winter’s Jazz Club, and Catch 35, and presented her curated cabaret shows Ladies Who Sing the Blues, Elegantly Ellington with Strains of Strayhorn, Songs of Bacharach and David, and Wilsyn Sings Wilson (A Tribute to Nancy Wilson). Most recently, Bobbi Wilsyn was part of Chicago Cabaret Week at The Haven where she staged Stormy Weather-A Tribute to Lena Horne.
With so many projects in the works, the “3rd Act” for Bobbi Wilsyn is shaping up like an ENCORE!!