Cover of Joyce Cooling's CD This Girl's Got to Play (Narada 2004)
Jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling creates music because, she tells NPR's Tony Cox, "it's in her bones."
For years, Cooling has wowed San Francisco Bay-area jazz enthusiasts with her signature sound — part jazzy soul, part urban cool, utterly original. She also has traveled as far east as the Philippines and as far south as Colombia to perform with such jazz giants as Joe Henderson and Stan Getz.
Throughout her career, Cooling has drifted from Brazilian to traditional jazz and back again, playing guitar with a finger-picking style that's all her own. Her inspirations are equally eclectic: James Brown, Maurice Ravel, Jimi Hendrix, Abbey Lincoln and Aerosmith.
At first, Cooling wasn't sure her love for music could translate into a career, but it has — her latest CD This Girl's Got To Play has been lauded by critics.
She's also one of the few female jazz guitarists in the genre. She dabbles in keyboards and percussion, but says the guitar chose her, not the other way around.