Young and up-and-coming vocalist Sara Gazarek was raised in the Pacific Northwest -- Seattle to be exact -- without a lot of exposure to jazz in her youth. She discovered the joy of jazz vocals in high school and credits her high-school band director with having a huge impact on her development and subsequent future course. Because of her youth, sophistication, and choice of material to sing, Gazarek has the potential to turn a whole new generation on to the simple yet complex beauty of jazz vocals. As a high-school senior, Gazarek was awarded the prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Foundation Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Award. She was given this award at the Essentially Ellington Festival at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, with Wynton Marsalis.