Jazz Vocalist Dani Assis ’23 Wins Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Competition

Assis emerged from an international pool in seventh annual edition of the competition

June 4, 2024

Cathy Partlow Strauss ’84

Dani Assis portrait
Photo credit: Courtesy of Dani Assis

Oberlin Conservatory jazz vocal alumnus Dani Assis ’23 is the winner of the prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Competition, hosted by the Blues Alley Jazz Society—Washington, D. C.’s stellar jazz club, and the second oldest jazz club in the country. The competition was founded in partnership with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. 

A rising star, Assis emerged from an international pool of talent in this year’s competition with vocalists from China, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and across the United States. The theme for this year's competition was "Ella Loves Cole,” so the singers performed Cole Porter songs. In the last round of competition, Assis sang three Porter tunes: "Easy to Love," "What Is This Thing Called Love," and "It's De-Lovely." 

As reported in the announcement in AllAboutJazz.com, the competition jury was impressed by Assis for "the beautiful quality of his singing voice, his extensive range, and his exemplary improvisation skills.” He has since been making the rounds and has had interviews with major jazz publications, including an appearance on the JAZZIZ Podcast.

Last August, Assis released a single, "My Own Embrace," a contrafact of Miles Davis' "Blue in Green." Assis' first full album, entitled DaniEL, will be released later this August. 

Since graduating from Oberlin in 2023, Assis has been performing with a number of artists, including former classmates from Oberlin. In May, Assis performed at Dizzy's Club (with his father Nanny Assis, Ron Carter, Tolga Bilgin, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, pianist Helio Alves, guitarist Chico Pinheiro, and drummer Edu Ribeiro) and at Arthur's Tavern in Greenwich Village (with pianist Hyuna Park, bassist Michael O'Brien, and his Oberlin classmate and drummer Noah Sherman ’23). 

Hear the performance of Assis' winning number at the Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Competition, "Easy to Love," by Cole Porter.

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