Doris Spears Jazz Musician, Activist

From her first audition at the age of 10 on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, Doris has devoted her life to music. Moving from Chicago to New York to New Jersey, she ended up in Trenton in 1996. It was then that she started booking Jazz at the Candlelight Lounge, where she was also able to use their kitchen to do her other passion of cooking. She booked their first Jazz Festival, bringing in names as big as Norman Brown, the Rippingtons, Tito Puente, and Charles Earland. Now residing in Trenton for over 20 years, she is focusing on the youth that she sees as the future with her project Trenton Youth Reading & Repertory Club. She wants to increase literacy in children and believes that the youth need to express themselves. Children seem to be drawn to her contagious smile and warm energy, as the neighborhood kids make sure to say hi to her as they pass by. She has become a shining hope on her street, as she picks up garbage off the sidewalks and waves to her neighbors. She has made a name for herself in the music world, and would like to be able to further her reach by helping Trenton’s youth with books, imagination, and creativity.

Photographed by Abbas Wiswall in her home.

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