Jean Mancini Gough is a classically trained singer, and some may recognize her from her longstanding role as a featured vocalist at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester. But about 10 years ago Gough decided to explore the jazz scene in Worcester and was told that a good place to start was the weekly jazz jam guitarist Jay Tyer was at the time running at the Java Hut .
“I was surprised,” Gough says looking back. “Just because I was trained in classical, I didn’t know what I was doing in the jazz setting, especially about the improvising. It opened my eyes.”
But the experience didn’t turn her away from jazz. Gough studied with Tyer and attended summer programs at the Vermont Jazz Center.
By the time came to record her CD “With Friends,” Gough had plenty of experiences working a jazz repertoire throughout Massachusetts with a good bench of fellow freelance players.
“With the CD, the master plan was not detailed. I just trusted the players I chose to do their own thing,” she says.
And she did hers; Gough sings with a precision and control that simply enhances the emotional resonance of her performances. She can take the well-trod “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” for example, and turn it mesmerizing.
Gough admits to a fondness for melancholy songs, but promises an appropriately cozy performance for her Valentine’s Day show at the Coppertop. The music starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, and Gough will have a keyboard player, drummer, guitarist, and bass player joining her
“I like happy-go-lucky songs too,” she says