The riveting performances of the Caswell Sisters, vocalist Rachel and violinist Sara, are the culmination of years of working together. Their seamless sound combined with their unique interpretation of repertoire ranging from the “Great American Songbook” to contemporary jazz, including their own compositions, is propelled by arresting improvisation.
Rachel and Sara co-lead the Caswell Sisters Quintet and have made such notable appearances as a weeklong After-Hours engagement at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and an enthusiastically-received set on the opening night concert of the inaugural 2010 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in St. Louis. Their debut Caswell Sisters album Alive in the Singing Air featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch will be released in early 2013 on Turtle Ridge Records.
In addition to the musical partnership Rachel and Sara have shared since childhood, their development and experience as individual artists play an equally important role in their musical careers. Rachel often collaborates with bassist Jeremy Allen, their duo having been selected to perform at the 2006 International Association for Jazz Education’s Annual Conference in New York. She has performed with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, John Blake, Jr., Ingrid Jensen, the Billy Taylor Trio, and Curtis Fuller. Winner of the Hilton Head Jazz Society Scholarship, Rachel also placed in the top ten of 150 contestants in the jazzconnect.com 2005 vocal competition and has won many awards and first-place prizes as a classical cellist and jazz musician. She has given numerous jazz vocal masterclasses/clinics at colleges and universities throughout the US and has received rave reviews for her debut jazz CD Some Other Time.
Sara, recognized in both the 2011 and 2012 JazzTimes Readers’ Poll as one of the top jazz violinists, regularly performs with several ensembles, including Roseanna Vitro’s Randy Newman Project (album nominated for a 2012 Grammy) and Jody Redhage’s Rose & the Nightingale. During 2010-11, Sara toured five continents with bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding (2011 Grammy winner for “Best New Artist”) and has toured with violinist Mark O’Connor’s American String Celebration and violinist Darol Anger’s Four Generations of Jazz Violin. She has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Gene Bertoncini, Alan Ferber, Ike Sturm, Jon Gordon, Lynne Arriale, Charlie Byrd, and Skitch Henderson. A member of the New York Pops, Sara has made several appearances as a featured soloist with them in Carnegie Hall as well as on national TV. She studied classical violin with the legendary Josef Gingold, has won over 100 awards and first-place prizes in the jazz and classical competition worlds, and has released two highly-acclaimed jazz CDs: First Song (Double-Time Records) and the award-winning But Beautiful (Arbors Records). She teaches jazz violin at Manhattan School of Music’s Jazz Arts Division (College and Pre-college).
These talented siblings share much in common: both studied jazz from an early age with Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Distinguished Professor David Baker, both attended IU on full scholarship as Wells Scholars and graduated with High Distinction in classical Performance and Jazz Studies, both went on to earn masters Degrees in Jazz Performance (Rachel at New England Conservatory in Boston and Sara at Manhattan School of Music in New York), and both were invited to participate in the Thelonious Monk Institute’s Summer Residency program in Aspen/Snowmass, CO, where they worked with major jazz artists.
The Caswell Sisters have given concerts nationwide and continue to provide audiences with electrifying performances through their unique combination of sound and artistry.