DJ Timmy Richardson
Member # 60
In a world of cookie-cutter crooners and by the numbers, scat-happy jazz singers, Marlena Shaw is a true original and one of the most charismatic and versatile vocalists on the scene today. Shaw's scintillating performances blur the lines which separate jazz, soul, rock, pop and R&B. Her extroverted stage presence gives her an edge over other vocalists, and clearly, singing live before an audience is where she feels most comfortable. She has been rewarded for her diversity with scores of enthusiastic admirers.
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 vocalisht 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, N.Y., 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.
Shaw recorded five albums and several singles for Blue Note, and critics likened her singing style to Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. In 1977, Shaw recorded the album that is closest to the soul fraternities hearts, namely Sweet Beginnings on Columbia. This album contained, arguably, Shaws finest moment "Yu Ma/Go Away Little Boy". This was a medley, partly containing the old Goffin and Carole King standard. It also contained the track "Look At Me, Look At You". Popular on the U.K. rare groove scene.
Her more recent albums include Live at Vine Street for PolyGram/Verve and Love Is In Flight in 1993 and 1994. Shaw's latest album, Dangerous (1996), is her first for the Concord Jazz label. On one track, she's joined by vocalish Keven Mahogany for a duet on "You Make Me Feel Brand New".
At her club shows, Shaw continues to dazzle 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. In the year 2000, Soul Brother Records in Putney, United Kingdom, released an anthology of the best of her output including "Wade In The Water", "California Soul", You-Ma, Go Away Little Boy" and "Look At Me Look At You".
Regardless of the material performed, Marlena Shaw has never strayed far from her jazz roots. Wherever Shaw has gone she has taken her unique highly electric style with her. It is this highly individual, polished style that makes Marlena Shaw a true Jazz treasure. (www.lajazzsociety.org/)
knew what you knew you did what you did...but when you knew better..you did better" Winfrey