Nicole Kestler is one of Chicago’s premier jazz singers. She pays tribute to the hey day of the jazz standard with her fresh and fun interpretations. If you had to use one word to describe nicole as a singer, it would have to be smokey. Beginning her singing career as the vocalist for various bands around Chicago gave her a deep respect for the music. She always strives to bring a new vitality to the work of songwriting legends of the 30’s and 40’s like Gershwin, Mercer, Porter, Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael. With someone this talented, staying true to these legendary composers, the music sounds as fresh as the day it was written. You can catch Nicole and her favorite piano player Brian O’Hern paying tribute to these songs in and around the Chicago area.
A Michigan native, Nicole discovered her love of singing while studying at Columbia College in Chicago. She immediately started to work with help from the swing craze of the late nineties. She went on to perform with some of the premiere bands of the scene; Alan Gresik’s Swing Shift Orchestra, the Riff Rockets, The Starfall Orchestra, Big Band Boom, Jesse Scinto and the Dignitaries, Professor John and his band, and the Rhythm Rockets
For the past two decades Nicole has worked with Chicago’s premiere jump blues band the Rhythm Rockets. This band’s lively approach and bluesy repertoire has allowed Nicole to throw some dirt in with that smoke. The Rhythm Rockets pay tribute to the great ladies of rhythm and blues – Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, and Ella Mae Morris just to name a few. Today the band plays 50 plus gigs a year.