Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Skinner, Lynn (Elizabeth)
Skinner, Lynn (Elizabeth), vocalist, composer, educator, writer, producer; b. Denver, CO, 19 February 1955. In 1964, her family (father, Charles K. Skinner, Jr., b. Southport, CT, 1928, d. Denver, CO, 1994; mother, born Sandra Sweet, Denver, CO, 1929; and sisters Leslie, b. 1954, and Leigh, b. 1958) moved to Minneapolis, MN and, in 1968, to Santa Fe NM (her parents divorced there in 1969). Lynn joined her mother and sisters back in Colorado until her family moved to St. Petersburg, FL, in 1971, where she graduated from Northeast High School in 1972.
Lynn took private piano lessons from 1963-1968. When an art class was already filled, she settled for a girl's glee club in 1969, where she first discovered her singing voice. She continued participating in choral and classical singing groups for the next 10 years, often as a featured soloist. She performed at the Florida All-State Choir in 1971. Between high school and college, Lynn performed with the Hilltoppers, a dinner theatre group in Estes Park, CO in 1973. She then moved to Los Angeles and attended L.A. City College for a semester before transferring to Immaculate Heart College, a private liberal arts school in Hollywood. During her one-year tenure in Los Angeles, she began serious private voice study with 3 coaches, including noted teachers Seth Riggs and coach Mel Dangcil. She also co-wrote and performed in "Where's Hollywood?", a musical created with her colleagues at Immaculate Heart. She also sang in a country band, and bega n composing her own pop and folk songs.
In 1974, Lynn transferred to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, where she continued voice studies with Dr. Thomas Goleeke. She performed extensively with the Adelpian Concert Choir, under the direction of her mentor, Dr. Bruce Rodgers, and toured with the Adelphians as a soloist in California and Oregon, and in England, Scotland, and Ireland. She started teaching other singers privately in the campus practice rooms in 1976. She was elected President of the Adelphian Choir and voted Most Inspirational Musician in 1976, and was selected for the Mortar Board Honor Society by faculty members in 1976 and 1977. She sang as a guest soloist for functions with the President of the UPS, and sang for the 1977 graduating class before singing at her own baccalaureate ceremonies in 1978, where she received a BA in Music. Lynn moved to Seattle in 1980, where she worked as a waitress while pursuing performances in cafes and guest appearances with local choral group s.
In 1981, Lynn returned to Denver and married her long-distance sweetheart of seven years, John Elliott, b. Alton, IL , 1951. They have no children. She set up a voice rehearsal and teaching studio in her home in nearby Lakewood, and began playing with her first jazz ensemble, Menage a Trois. The vocal trio, comprised of baritone/pianist/arranger Jack Manno, and tenor/bassist Pete Jacobs, performed together for the next 5 years. The group played throughout Colorado, including gigs at the Denver Art Museum, Telluride Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Sangres Festivals, and at numerous clubs the state. In 1986, as Menage a Trois dissolved, Lynn began free-lancing with such artists as guitarists Mark Lambert and Dale Bruning, bassists Paul Warburton, Kim Stone and Kenny Walker, pianists Rave Tesar and Art Lande, horn players Ron Miles, Nelson Hinds and Rich Chiaraluce, and drummers Jill Fredricksen and the late Bruno Carr. She also started her own recording label, Voca l Eyes Music. Between 1988 and 1995, Lynn regularly collaborated with Portland guitarist John Stowell. The duo performed jazz concerts and clinics throughout the U.S., and performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators' Convention in New Orleans in 1990. Lynn also recorded with Oregon-based pianist/composer Jeff Johnson, and continued teaching private voice in her home studio. She was an Artist-in-Residence for Colorado and Wyoming. She was a panelist for several arts residency auditions, including Young Audiences. In 1994, she was nominated for a Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in Colorado. Lynn has also been a voice research subject since 1985, singing jazz and classical styles, for the National Center for Voice and Speech. In 1997, she was the world's first female jazz vocalist to participate in a University of Iowa MRI research project measuring certain behaviors and relationships between air flow and the vocal trac t. She is an ongoing associate and workshop faculty member with the Gould Voice Recording and Research Center at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
In the late 1990s, Lynn formed Vocal Versatility Productions with speech pathologist Kathe Perez. She revisited her classical voice and French art songs, and traveled to Europe. In 1999, she was awarded a grant from the Denver Alliance Francaise to create an audio journal in France for a month, and recorded, composed, photographed, and wrote about French culture, performing multi-media concerts upon her return. One song became the school anthem in Provence. In 2000, she resumed an earlier collaboration with guitarist/arranger/writer Vohn Regensburger, which continues to this day.
Profile (1988); With Jeff Johnson: Great Romantics (1991), Songs From Albion III (1992), Songs From Albion (1992); With John Stowell: Lines and Spaces (1992); With Linda Maich: Mouth of a Snapdragon (1992); With Vohn Regensburger: Tropical Breeze (1992); With Jeff Johnson: The Isle of Dreams (1994); Interior Motives (1996); Faure Explore (1999); Vocal Versatility In Your Business: The Basics (2000); Gems In The Rough (2002)