Isabel Crespo is a United States-born Costa Rican-Ecuadorian jazz vocalist, composer, arranger, and educator currently living in Denton, TX. She spends her time performing, leading ensembles of varying genres and sizes, teaching, and collaborating with artists both nationally and internationally. She is praised for her ability to utilize her voice with expressiveness, as well as with the agility and precision of an instrumentalist.
Crespo was awarded a scholarship based on musical merit to pursue a Jazz Studies BA at UNT where she had the opportunity to perform and record with the Downbeat award-winning UNT Jazz Singers. In addition to being steeped in the jazz tradition at UNT, she also had the opportunity to perform traditional Brazilian music and Afrocuban music (as both a percussionist and vocalist), the music of Frank Zappa, Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, and compositions by colleagues and faculty members
During her time at UNT, she had the privilege of working with notable artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Arthur Barrow, Jo Lawry, and Danilo Perez among others. In 2017 she was the first vocalist invited to participate in the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency as a vocalist and composer, received a full scholarship to attend the Keep an Eye Jazz Workshop in Amsterdam, was chosen to attend the Siena Jazz Workshop, and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the the same workshop in 2018. During these workshops, she had the privilege of working with internationally acclaimed artists such as Theo Bleckmann, Aaron Parks, Matt Mitchell, Ben Wendel, and Joe Sanders among others.
In addition to being a skilled performer, Crespo is a bandleader and a prolific composer. Her compositions blend modern jazz harmony, poetic lyrics, and melodies reminiscent of classical counterpoint to create a unique and honest sound. She leads an original music quintet called For Now, and they will be releasing their first album in March of 2018. In 2016, she independently released a song-cycle entitled Enough Silence that featured her as the composer, arranger, producer, and lead vocalist. In 2015, she organized and performed with a collaborative project called Grown Curious that combined live performances of compositions by peers and contemporary dance for an interactive performance.
Crespo is a strong collaborator and reliable side-woman. She has performed, co-written, and recorded with groups of varying genres both within the jazz idiom and outside of it. She plans to continue writing, performing, and recording, as well as exploring new genres, new mediums, and interdisciplinary projects with like-minded peers.