Jalenti earned a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance from the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and a Master of Music in jazz studies from Howard University in Washington, DC (the first Italian singer to have done so). She studied with and was mentored by legendary singer Jay Clayton, pianist/singer/arranger Connaitre Miller, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, and saxophonist Charlie Young.
Irene descends from a musical family in Italy, including her paternal grandparents, several uncles including the great Sergio Endrigo, and her cousin Francesco Jalenti. However, Irene’s strongest influence in music is her father Rino, who encouraged her to learn piano from age five and who always emphasized the drama and beauty of music in any genre. From her father the singer learned to focus not just on the melody of a song but also to the harmony where the soul of the music lives. He introduced her to the music of Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone and many others. From her mother Rita, Irene inherited work ethic, strong determination, self-assurance, and style. These qualities have enabled her to perform across the world while resolutely working on perfecting her craft to bring to audiences small and large her exquisite voice full of warmth, passion, and creativity.
Italian-born, Baltimore-based jazz vocalist Irene Jalenti has proven to be a dynamic, soulful, and passionate performer and composer who delves deeply into the meaning of each song and brings drama and conviction to her performances with her naturally deep tone and an impressively wide range. Adept at scat singing and able to sing in five different languages, she connects with and delights a range of audiences. Her sound has been compared to legends such as Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson, and Beth Carvalho. Since moving from Italy to Baltimore in 2010, Irene has performed at top venues such as Blues Alley, the Kennedy Center, the Apollo theater, the DC Jazz Fest, and even the White House. She has performed and recorded with the award-winning a cappella jazz ensemble Afro Blue, as well as with stars such as Esperanza Spalding, Patti Austin, the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra, and has shared the stage with great Cassandra Wilson. Irene has also done background vocal work for Yolanda Adams, Chance the Rapper, Common, Kelly Clarkson, and Marc Anthony.
In 2021 Jalenti will finally launch her very much awaited first solo recording work, New Island. In this album, she will present unique arrangements and originals such as “Rise Again,” in recollection of catastrophic earthquakes in her home country, "Alma Desnuda" inspired by the great Argentinian poem by Alfonsina Storni, and "Dawn" a journey through ancient Greek poetry. Jalenti proves to be more than the usual jazz torch singer, but rather a complete composer and interpreter who can easily move from a love ballad to an activist song and on to a comical tune, always with depth, nuance, and conviction.
"HER WARMTH AND STRONG STAGE PRESENCE ALLOW HER TO COMMUNICATE THE ESSENCE, POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF JAZZ."
Bob Cranshaw (bassist)