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Jazz vocalist will headline kick-off

Roseanna Vitro, a contemporary jazz vocalist who has been a featured performer on the Jazz Holiday schedule in previous years, will entertain at a kick-off party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. tonight to open the 1992 festivities.

"I had a ball down there," Vitro said of her previous appearance. "The audience was great, very enthusiastic. The jam sessions were really fun."

She said she was impressed with the variety on this year's music schedule.

"There is everything from standard straight-ahead horn bands to contemporary and modern groups," she said. "It is really good to have exposure to all the different kinds of music."

Vitro began singing at age 13 in Arkansas. "I always wanted to be a singer," she said. "I got an early start and just never stopped. I've been singing for 20 years now. It's in my blood."

Vitro studied jazz improvisation with Ann Marie Moss and Bobby McFerrin, and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music.

She performed at the Houston Jazz Festival and in several Houston clubs , as well as hosting her own weekly radio program there. Later she moved to New York where she headlined at numerous clubs , including The Jazz Forum and Jazzmania. She appeared with such noted performers as Lionel Hampton, Hank Jones, Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson and Wynton Marsalis. She also has performed in Boston, Hartford, Conn., Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver and Los Angeles.

Her first album, Listen Here, made the Top 20 for national air play in February and March of 1985. Her second, A Quiet Place, was released in September 1987 on the Skyline label. She also has worked with radio and television personality Steve Allen to produce a third album, and made several concert and network radio and television appearances with him.

Vitro's latest album, Reaching for the Moon, "did very well for me," she said. "It got a lot of air play around the country. I am planning a new record that should be out around Thanksgiving."

Vitro said she will perform some of the songs from Reaching for the Moon as well as from the album she is working on now at the kickoff party, which will be at the Atrium in Clearwater Square, 601 Cleveland St.

This year's Jazz Holiday scholarship winner, Randall Goodgame, also will perform at the kickoff party.

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