The long hiatus between recordings has hardly kept her off the stage, though; she’s been a fixture on various Jazz Explosion and Evening of Guitars & Saxes outings. But this time around, she’s taking her individuality to heart with a solo headlining tour.

The trek started December 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. Highlights include two nights at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, six nights at the Blue Note in Las Vegas, and a closing performance at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.

A classmate of jazz mainstays Branford Marsalis and Kevin Eubanks at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ferrell will return to her alma mater for one night when she plays the Berklee Performance Center January 21.

Boasting a six-octave range that puts her in the same company as Minnie Ripperton and Mariah Carey, Ferrell made a splash in 1992 with her self-titled U.S. debut.

She was already a hit in Japan, however, where another recording, First Instrument, had already been released. The album was revered in the States as an import only until it was finally released in the U.S. in 1995.

A measure of the respect she’d earned early in her career is the gold certification and Pollstar award as Best Adult Contemporary/Jazz Artist in 1994. But the recording of Rachelle Ferrell would mark the last time the singer with the tremendous voice would see the inside of a recording studio for another eight years.

Just as audiences were becoming familiar with her voice, she decided to step away from the music industry, disheartened by label disinterest, a break with her manager and demands to make her music more radio-friendly.

“There was a long time where I didn’t think that I would ever record again and was willing to be OK with that because it was important for me to stand up for what I believed in,” Ferrell said. “I’ve been an artist much longer than I’ve been a recording artist.”

It didn’t take long for Ferrell the recording artist to shake off the cobwebs and find her studio legs. The new album has been at the top of the jazz/contemporary album charts for 11 weeks.