While everyone agrees that vocalist Marlena Shaw is a national treasure, it’s difficult to categorize her. DownBeat has named her “Best Female Singer,” and many have compared her to great peers such as Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson. She’s also been called a “soul legend,” and critics use words like “astonishing,” “radiant,” and “powerful,” and marvel at her “soaring sensuality.” Labels aside, the music she’s made over her 40-year-plus, boundary-busting career is unmistakable. Whether she’s singing jazz, R&B, pop, rock, soul, blues, or gospel, her originality makes such distinctions irrelevant. Marlena’s smiling, spontaneous interplay with both her band and her audience invites each listener in like a valued friend.
style: vocal soul jazz