Jo Belle Yonely is the UNLV Division of Jazz and Commercial Music’s jazz vocal instructor. To that position, she brings a wealth of musical knowledge from her background as a jazz singer, songwriter, studio recording artist, and professional voice actor.
Jo Belle was born in Chicago into a show business family. Her father was the internationally renowned musician/comedian “The Great Yonely”, and her mother was a singer. Her family gatherings included regular contact with musicians including Louis Armstrong and Al Hirt. In Chicago, she worked all the jazz clubs with every notable musician on the scene; including Ira Sullivan, Von Freeman, Eddie Johnson, Johnny Frigo, Willie Pickins, Howard Levy, and John Campbell.
Yonely has worked jazz festivals across the country, recorded nine of her own CDs, performed for President George H.W. Bush Sr. with Lionel Hampton, is a co-founder of Chizil, a Brazilian/Jazz group in Chicago; and she’s shared the stage with Red Rodney, Claudio Roditi, George Cables, Manfredo Fest, Steve Gilmore, Rufus Reid, Louis Bellson and many more.
Paralleling her jazz career, Yonely was the first call studio singer and voice actor in the busy Chicago scene for more than 20 years. She has recorded thousands of TV and radio commercials, and is the solo voice for spots including major clients such as McDonalds, United Air Lines, Sears, Wrigleys, Coors, Budweiser, Special K Cereal, Hallmark, Sunkist, Honda, HBO, and the Lifetime Channel.
After several years living and working in New York City, Jo Belle relocated to Las Vegas, where she was invited to join the faculty at UNLV. She continues to perform at festivals, concerts, corporate gigs and nightclubs.