The Columbus Youth Jazz Vocal Lab is an 8-week program designed to give vocalists in grades 7-12 an immersive experience focused on solo jazz singing with a live professional rhythm section. 

Students learn the ins and outs of singing jazz, including vocal technique, style, improvisation and band-leading in a group masterclass format. Each vocalist also gets individualized private lessons throughout the semester to fine tune their performance. Each semester, the CYJ Vocal Lab has a final performance in the community and has performed at venues such as Natalie’s Grandview, the Bexley Library, The Lincoln Ballroom and more.

Meet Your CYJ Vocal Lab Teaching Artists

Rachel Azbell

Recognized  “one of the most promising young jazz vocalists of her generation,” Rachel Azbell seeks to put her own stamp on the standards while paying homage to the inspiring women that have come before her. Her classic, sultry tone is particularly inspired by jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson. Initially a classically trained pianist, she is now a professional vocalist and a leader in vocal jazz education, striving to create opportunities and a sense of community for young vocalists.

In partnership with Jazz Arts Group, Rachel piloted the Columbus Youth Jazz Vocal Lab, a tuition-free program for middle and high school vocalists to explore their solo jazz voice and expanded upon this curriculum to include a week-long summer camp, the Jazz Academy Vocal Workshop. As a private vocal instructor, she has extensive experience teaching both contemporary and classical styles to middle, high school and college-aged students.

Rachel recently graduated with a master’s of music in jazz studies from the esteemed University of North Texas, under the direction of Jennifer Barnes and Rosana Eckert. There, she served as a teaching fellow for the vocal jazz area where she directed West End and Third Street vocal jazz ensembles, taught private lessons, and instructed a vocal jazz studies course for non-majors. To learn more about Rachel’s upcoming performances, listen to her music or learn more about voice lessons, please visit her website at

Jasmine Spitzer

Jasmine moved from North Dakota to the Columbus area in 2017 after transferring to Ohio Wesleyan University where she studies voice and music education. She was raised as a saxophonist and studied for 12 years until the development of a nerve disorder caused her to shift her focus to voice.
Jasmine’s instrumental experience is apparent in her singing; she navigates chord changes with ease and precision, carefully crafting melodic lines and phrases. She draws stylistic influence from a variety of genres outside of jazz, including soul, R&B, hip-hop, folk, and blues. Her influences include Esperanza Spalding, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Roy Hargrove, Kamasi Washington, Wayne Shorter, and various others.