Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Joyce, Valerie, (Valerie Joyce Illman)
Joyce, Valerie, [Valerie Joyce Illman], vocalist, composer, performer; b. Yokohama, Japan, 2 May 1973. Valerie Joyce has been performing as a musician on the Seattle music scene since 1994. Born in Japan to an American father, William R. Illman and Japanese mother Hatsue Yamamoto, she was exposed to classical music through her mother's piano playing and extensive record collection. Her music education began early, enrolling in solfege classes with her brother Walter Illman at the age of six. She started piano lessons at the age of eight. She attended an international American school in Yokohama. In 1991 Valerie moved to Tacoma, Washington to attend the University of Puget Sound where she majored in Music and Business. She was awarded a classical piano scholarship there and studied piano with Dr. Steven Moore and Dr. Duane Hulbert for four years. At college she sang in the vocal jazz choir directed by Dr. Moore and in her junior and senior years played piano in the college jazz band directed by Syd Potter. As a pianist in the big band, she had the opportunity to rehearse and perform with Stanley Turrentine. She took jazz improvization classes during the summer at the University of Washington with Michael Brockman and attended the Port Townsend Jazz Workshop and studied with Jay Clayton. Valerie also studied jazz voice and piano with Jerome Gray from 1992-1995. During her sophomore year in college, having studied and been exposed to jazz for just one year, she auditioned for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and won a jazz vocal scholarship, but decided to complete her liberal arts education at the University of Puget Sound.
After graduating, Valerie moved to Seattle, which had a more vibrant music scene. She worked full time during the day at an exporting company and freelanced as a musician by night. She played in solo, duo, trio and quartet formats and played in Jay Thomas's big band as a piano player for four years.
As a vocalist and leader Valerie has recently completed two recording projects, a jazz outing that features new renditions of standards and her original compositions, and a world jazz project featuring the great pianist Michael Wolff and his band.
Strictly Serafina (Compilation CD, 2000); Reverie (2003); Michael Wolff and Badal Roy (2002)
Live television performance on Q 13 morning show, Seattle, WA (12/26/2001)
Encyclopedia entry p. 223 - Encyclopedia of Northwest Music by James Bush (Sasquatch Books-1999)