Kristine Mills

Kristine Mills has been building up quite a reputation over the last few years. In 2008, she released the CD Playing with the Big Boys — LIVE!, recorded with longtime Duke Ellington Orchestra/Ken Ward Trio members Barry Lee Hall Jr. and the late Rocky White. Big Boys earned her a slew of positive reviews and a Houston Press Music Awards Best Jazz Act nomination, and Mills followed last year with bossanovafied, recorded in Brazil with bossa nova master Paulo Midos. That one earned national media attention, three more slots on our Music Awards ballot — nominations for Best Jazz and Best Musician, and a win for Best Female Vocalist — and a Brazilian tour where she wowed the crowds. bossanovafied made the Grammy short list for Jazz Album with Vocals (though it ultimately wasn't nominated). Mills will be strutting the red carpet at the ceremony in L.A. later this month, and national radio play is coming along. Mills is already hard at work on some new songs, which she'll likely road-test as the Hotel ZaZa's January artist in residence at the Monarch Lounge. Even the most ardent of her fans will hear something new during these weekly Thursday sessions — she's added beats by DJ Ash for a completely new take on her tunes.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez