bio | cds | performances | E-mail list | contact & booking | press

Esther Haynes is a versatile vocalist and rhythm guitarist residing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Her styles range from vintage jazz to swing, blues, bossas, folk, and bluegrass.  Since 2002, she has been nominated for several Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies) for Debut Recording, Jazz Vocalist, Big Band Vocalist, and Jazz Duo/Group.  She has received eight Wammie awards for Big Band/Swing Vocalist (in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008) and Jazz Vocalist (in 2004, 2005, and 2008).

She has performed in the D.C. area with Hokum Jazz, Martini Red, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra, and several jazz duos and trios.  Duo partners include Phil Mathieu, Justin Lees, Rusty Bogart, Keith Grimes, and J.C. Veve.

In 2001, she recorded her debut CD, entitled Esther Haynes, of vintage vocal tunes in tribute early jazz singers such as Alberta Hunter, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Lil Green, Ella Fitzgerald, and Memphis Minnie.  Appearing on this CD are Nevada Newman, Akira Otsuka, Tad Marks, J.C. Veve, Seth Kibel and others.  The CD received favorable local and online press, as well as airplay on Rob Bamberger's "Hot Jazz Saturday Night" (WAMU) and Mary Cliff's "Traditions" program (WETA).  Esther also has been heard on Elliott Gross' blues program on WPFW.

In 2004, Esther released her second CD, entitled Approach Note,which includes standards, swing, and bossas. The CD features vocals and jazz guitar by Justin Lees (who now resides in NYC), and Nick Smiley on acoustic bass.

Originally from Virginia, Esther learned folk guitar and bluegrass banjo as a girl.  She spent her college years at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she attended fiddlers' conventions, played banjo and guitar, and sang in duets at local events.  Later she began studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating with honors with a diploma in voice and professional music.  In Boston, she was part of a bluegrass/swing group, Boston City Limits, with Hiro Arita, Howie Tarnower, and Matt Glaser, and played in a duo with ragtime guitarist Larry Unger.   She has recorded with guitarist John Dirac of Boston's Either Orchestra. She also spent two years in Israel (1991 to 1993), where she sang in a quartet with guitarist David Matarasso and in the Southern Comfort Duo.

In the future, she hopes to continue to record, and wants to travel abroad with her music.

Esther teaches guitar, voice, and banjo in Takoma Park, MD and at Middle C Music in D.C. She holds an M.Ed. from Marymount University in Arlington, VA as well as a Diploma in Professional Music and Voice from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.  Contact Esther at estherhaynes1@gmail.com or (301) 270-1805 if you would like to take lessons, join a mailing list, or hire her or Hokum Jazz for a performance!