French vocalist Mina Agossi is one of the most unique and identifiable voices in modern jazz. With a personal “Voice and bass” style that can begin to be described as Bjork-meets-Billie Holiday, she has radically changed people’s perceptions of the limitations of jazz singing. Her originals are funky and fresh, and her rearrangements of classics by Thelonious Monk and Jimi Hendrix are startling in their inventiveness.
Born to French and West African parents, Agossi began her training in the theater, studying in Niger, Morocco, and France. A pickup gig singing some blues (a favor to a saxophonist friend) changed her direction entirely, and pushed her farther into modern jazz. An early recording of her singing with a double-bass player won a “Young Self-Produced Talents” award from the French organization FNAC, which enabled her to study jazz singing more. She spent several years touring Europe and the U.S., honing her sound and incorporating vocal imitations of free jazz saxophone and record scratching into her sound.
Her working trio consists of Eric Jacquot on bass and Ichiro Onoe on drums. This trio blends genres, from hip hop to world to jazz, blues, rock, throwing them around, often when least expected.