Vocalist Ronnie Wells is no stranger to area jazz fans. She has been singing at local clubs for nearly 15 years, including a year and a half at the Talleyrand and seven years at the Top 'o Foolery in the '70s and recently at Mr. Y's and the One Step Down. Last summer she was featured at the Central Pennsylvania Jazz Festival and has been invited back for this year. Tomorrow night she will appear at Blues Alley with the Ellsworth Gibson Trio and reed-brass player Mike Crotty. Her program will draw upon the great songwriters--the Gershwins, Cole Porter and others--as well as the modern idioms of bee bop and vocalese.
Wells, who was born in Georgetown, sang in church as a child and listened to classical music at home and then in the 10th grade at Cardoza "just fell into jazz--Miles Davis and big bands, although at that age I had no idea who I was listening to."
That late but decisive introduction to jazz helped shape her present attitudes. "What I would like to do with my singing career is devote it to schools and college concerts. I have very strong feelings about getting the younger set sitting down and listening to jazz. It's such a mood music. It's like whetting your emotional appetite to just sit there and listen for a change instead of using the body as you would in rock or disco. With jazz I feel it's very mental, and I think it's very important for people to have that part of them responsive to something that's settling."