Janet Planet

Janet Planet

A Double Concert and Fundraiser

Sunday, April 10, 2016



Janet Planet


"…the Voice of the New Jazz Culture...amazingly powerful with seemingly limitless expression.” Jazziz Magazine

In her career, Ms. Planet has performed with legends such as Jackie and Roy, George Benson, and her mentor Nancy King, and shared the stage with many other accomplished jazz artists including Ellis Marsalis, John Harmon, Gene Bertoncini, and Marian McPartland. Janet is also on the staff of the Tritone Jazz Camp and teaches voice privately as well as conducting clinics. Planet frequently shares with students and others her knowledge of vocal technique, jazz history, performance careers, and the music business, bringing to this experience her perspectives as a woman and artist. A busy concert schedule has taken her to performing arts centers, opera houses, colleges, universities, jazz festivals and jazz clubs across the USA and internationally, with appearances in Europe and Japan where she co-founded the First Fraternity of Musicians in the city of Nagasaki in 2000.

Janet Planet has been paying her dues and studying the craft of singing for over two decades, steadily building a career that began with a high school talent show performance. Her 1985 Seabreeze release, “Sweet Thunder” brought Janet to the attention of Steve Allen who wrote, “There are so many dumb and inarticulate singers today. It’s a pleasure to hear someone who knows what singing is all about.” As the past century closed and a new one began, music critics have noted her arrival as an accomplished artist.

While technique sometimes gets in the way of creative jazz singing, Planet employs her faultless technique to the service of phrase and text. Words count, and are never shorted, her clear but easy diction exploring surfaces and recesses alike. Her ability to support the tone and sustain a long line, tells time after time. And, in every ballad and every samba, the sheer beauty of her tone takes her performance to a level of its own. Still, she can brandish heat and steel, she brings a special insight and affection to every song. “Janet Planet is now almost certainly the best of today’s jazz singers, but even more, she'd earn a high standing in any age.” said Erik Eriksson.

Producer, recording artist, for numerous years Janet has served as a session artist. She co-founded Stellar Sound Productions in 1995, a recording label that has consistently earned praise from reviewers for both exceptional artistic content and high production values. Among the Stellar releases are artists, jazz singer/piano duo, Nancy King and Steve Christofferson, Cellist, Matt Turner and pianist/composer, John Harmon. Active in all aspects of the recording business, she owns and operates Steel Moon Recording Studio with her husband, saxophonist/composer, Tom Washatka.

A productive recording artist herself, Janet has 23 recordings in her discography to date. Celebrating her Stellar release “Just Above A Whisper” with guitarist Gene Bertoncini and pianist/composer John Harmon, she performed at Manhattan’s Jazz Standard in 2006. Cadence Magazine said: “Janet’s a cappella opening on “Close Enough For Love” is all you have to hear to understand how voice and lyric can be heard as one. On “Like Someone In Love,” she displays uncanny vocal virtuosity in unison passages with Bertoncini’s guitar...an exemplary hour of music.”

Manty Ellis


Manty Ellis is the cornerstone of Milwaukee jazz. Manty co-founded the jazz program at the Wisconsin Conservatory along with Tony King. He is also a recipient of the 1997 Arts Midwest Jazz Masters award. Some of the musicians Manty has worked with include Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris, Stanley Turrentine, Richard Davis, Buddy Montgomery, Brian Lynch, Willie Pickens, David Hazeltine, and Melvin Rhyne. In 1999 Manty cut his CD, In His Own Sweet Way.

Manty owned a music store, Ellis Music, and all the famous jazz musicians who came to town would go there to jam with him. Musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Frank Foster, Eddie Moore, and many others could be found there whenever they were in town. Manty's style and approach embodies the Midwestern jazz sound. Manty Ellis is Milwaukee jazz.

Chris Wagoner

Chris Wagoner, president of the Madison Music Collective will conduct live interviews of the musicians the performance. Wagoner is a veteran of the Midwest music scene and has been a founding member of some of Wisconsin’s most popular groups, e.g., Harmonious Wail, Common Faces, Moon Gypsies, Graminy and the current vintage-jazz ensemble, The Stellanovas.