On 15th March 1947, Sarah Jean Perkins, Columbus, Georgia, U.S.A. Jean Carne was born Sarah Jean Perkins in Columbus, Georgia, U.S.A. Jean was raised in Atlanta. Her parents supported her singing at the age of four in the church choir. They also encouraged her to take piano lessons. Jean is an accomplished performer on piano, clarinet and bassoon.
Whilst attending Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, she learned to speak Russian fluently. After winning a music scholarship to Morris Brown College in 1965, Jean learned to play many of the orchestral instruments. Her recording career began in 1969 with her husband Doug. Her musical skills became apparent as a teenager on a morning radio talk show, ‘Today In Georgia’, when she sang ‘Misty’ to the accompaniment of Errol Garner’s piano. Together they made three albums for Ovation Records that saw a building success, via touring engagements across the U.S.A. Jean was often praised for being one of the first Afro-American women to control her musical styling and not be controlled by the industry moguls.
Jean performed with Duke Ellington, the last vocalist to do so before his death. She then teamed up with Norman Connors for four highly regarded sets, contributed ‘Reach For it’ to George Duke’s Gold album and sang lead vocals on the first two albums by Earth, Wind And Fire. The four albums she recorded for Philadelphia International are considered her finest and introduced Jean to pop and R & B audiences for the first time.
Jean then relocated to Motown Records for ‘Trust Me’, which provided her first major singles success with ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, which was recorded with The Temptations. The album also contained the highly underrated track ‘Completeness’ and the popular title song. She later found time to contribute to records by Dexter Wansel / Kenny Gamble’s ‘Universe’ project (‘Love is Beautiful (When it’s Right’) and the late Stanley Turrentine (‘Night Breeze’, penned by Bobby Lyle), and recorded for Omni Atlantic Records and Expansion Records in the U.K. She continues to tour for six months every year, spending the rest of her time at home in Atlanta with her three children.
In 2002, Jean toured the U.K. with her Musical Director Nathan Heathman with appearances at the London Jazz Cafe in March of that year. 2003 saw the release of ‘Collaborations’, an album for the Expansion label, that featured Jean’s various musical ‘collaborations’ over the years.
Check out Jean Carne in the UK in March 2013.
Details for all her gigs are available here: