Internationally-Acclaimed Jazz Vocalist Mary Stallings to
Perform in Madison on August 20th
A Legend Past and Present
|Mary Stallings (Photo by Mars Breslow)
| Like so many great African American jazz, R&B, and pop vocalists, Ms. Stallings began singing in church as a young child, and she still calls
the AME Church the greatest influence on her music. Starting her professional career at age 15 in her hometown of San Francisco, she sang in
top Bay Area nightclubs with such jazz luminaries as guitarist Wes Montgomery, saxophonist Ben Webster, pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, and
vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Over the years, Ms. Stallings also had lengthy residencies with the great bands of Count Basie and Billy Eckstine.
After a career hiatus, when she was raising her daughter (the R&B singer Adriana Evans), Ms. Stallings was called out of “retirement” in the
1980s by the legendary trumpeter and bandleader Dizzy Gillespie, with whom she toured for several years. That led to a series of recordings
as a leader that now total 13 including her latest, “Feelin’ Good,” a tribute to the jazz legends with whom she has performed over the past 50+
Not familiar with Ms. Stallings’ music? You can check out samples on her website’s “Music” page, at www.marystallingsjazz.com.For a good
cross-section of her artistry, start with “Close Enough for Love,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” and “Key Largo.”
Ms. Stallings’ Jazz Junction performance will occur in the intimate setting of Studio 1 at Full Compass, 9770 Silicon Prairie Parkway, just
south of Mineral Point Road on Madison’s Far West Side. She will be accompanied by acclaimed New York-based pianist Mike LeDonne, http:
Jazz Junction begins at 2:00 PM, with Ms. Stallings’ performance expected to start around 3:15 PM and an opening performance by one of
Madison’s finest Latin Jazz bands, Acoplados, starting around 2:30 PM. Jazz Junction will also include a raffle, wine pull, and live and silent
Tickets are now on sale at www.jazzinmadison.org and only 250 will be sold. If you love great jazz, or appreciate great vocalists of any kind,
you won’t want to be left out!
By Howard Landsman
Mary Stallings, one of the great voices in all of jazz history, is returning to Madison to
headline this year’s “Jazz Junction” benefit concert on Sunday afternoon, August 20th, at
Full Compass. Proceeds from the concert will support the performance and education
programs of the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium.
Mary Stallings has been called “perhaps the best jazz singer singing today” by the New
York Times, and she simply sets the standard in carrying on the vocal legacy of Billie
Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Dinah Washington. Indeed,
Ms. Stallings’ Jazz Junction concert will be the closest thing you can get to a live
performance by one of those dearly-departed jazz legends. Says the great jazz pianist Eric
Reed, “If you want to talk about jazz, the subtleties, the intricacies, the storytelling and the
harmonies, there isn’t a woman alive that sings better than Mary Stallings.”
Ms. Stallings was last seen in Madison in 2012, when she gave a stunning performance to
a Wisconsin Union Theater audience of nearly 800 as the Isthmus Jazz Festival headliner.
A world-renowned artist, she was the first jazz musician to perform at the Prague National
Theater, the iconic 130-year-old home of classical music, opera and ballet, in a memorial
concert for the late Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel. Ms. Stallings has headlined
many of the world’s highest-profile jazz festivals and venues, and recently conducted a
week-long series of concerts giving several performances with several of today’s finest
jazz players at the SF Jazz Center, the West Coast’s equivalent of New York’s Jazz at
Lincoln Center where she currently serves as one of four artistic directors.