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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Marlena Shaw


Marlena Shaw is among the most versatile and charismatic jazz vocalists on the scene today. Her performances are marked by an artful blend of pop standards and straight-ahead jazz tunes. Her extroverted stage presence gives her an edge over other vocalists, and clearly, singing live before an audience is where she feels most comfortable.

After her uncle Jimmy Burgess introduced her to the recordings of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, she caught the jazz bug and purchased records by Al Hibbler, a vocalist who had a big influence on her singing style. When she was ten she performed at Harlem's Apollo Theater, and despite the enthusiastic reception she received in front of one of the world's toughest audiences, her mother refused to let her go on the road with her uncle, a trumpet player. Shaw attended the State Teachers' College in Potsdam, NY, but later dropped out. For some time in 1963 she worked around New England with a trio led by Howard McGhee. By the mid-'60s she was performing regularly for audiences in the Catskills, Playboy clubs, and other New York area clubs. In 1966, she recorded "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" for Cadet Records, and the single sold very well for an unknown singer. The single's success, a rare vocal version of the tune, prompted executives at Cadet to encourage her to record a whole album for the label in 1967. The diversity of styles, including blues, jazz, and pop standards, is reflected in the album's title, Out of Different Bags. Through her accountant, she was brought to the attention of bandleader Count Basie, and she ended up singing with the Basie band for four years.

In 1972, after leaving the Basie Orchestra, Shaw was the first female vocalist signed to Blue Note Records, and she toured for a while with the late Sammy Davis Jr. Shaw recorded five albums and several singles for Blue Note, and critics likened her singing style to Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. At her club shows, Shaw dazzled audiences with her intoxicating blend of straight-ahead jazz, soul, pop, and classic R&B, but her recordings will also satisfy fans of traditional jazz who have no prejudices about blues and R&B.

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Discography

Collaborations
Phil Upchurch - Name of the Game (1983)  - guest vocalist 



15 comments:

Simon666 said...

great stuff zand! :)

Vel_Kam said...

my greetings Zand !!!

Carlos Blanco said...

Fantastic!!!. Thanx a lot

troods said...

I'm always so grateful to you for providing missing links to my collections. Thank you for your generosity.

Alex said...

I only knew Marlena from some compilitions that had a track or two on it. Now I really started to love her music! Wonder why so few people heard from her here in The Netherlands. Thanks for sharing!

Francesco said...

I totally agree with Alex: the same for me here in Italy. So, thank you thank you thank you! Now the only Marlena's album missing is 'Name of the game', recorded with Phil Upchurch in 1983... apparently unavailable on the web, for the moment

zool-one said...

1973 Live at Montreux.....Merci a toi....;)

Escargot said...

Thank you for Live @ Montreux!

Francesco said...

Here it is!... you can find Marlena's collaboration with Phil Upchurch (Name of the Game, 1983) at http://lamusicadepere1109.blogspot.com/2010/03/phil-upchurch-name-of-game-1983.html

Mr. Jones said...

Thank you thank you thank you so much!!!! I love the music of MS and this is like an unexpected Xmas gift! Great!

maksim said...

Very, very thenks!

Sam Sky said...

Thanks!

robbs said...

Never heard of Marlena Shaw until I heard her song, "California Soul" being used in a make-up commercial. That song rocks! I see why rappers sampled her song! Another marvel, the song was written by Ashford & Simpson!! Thanks for sharing your bad ass blog of music!!

Simon666 said...

Thanks to Francesco for the link on the Phil Upchurch album .... 18 months later, link added to post!

Have also deleted all the spam in the thread :)

Bernard said...

the link of 1973 - live at montreux is dead. could you please repost it?
many thanks from Brazil.

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